The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

Jackie Fraser comes to the blog with her debut offering set in a bookshop in 

The Bookshop of Second Chances  

Let me start by saying – set a story in a bookshop or with books (or authors) as a main feature and I’m instantly going to grab it. No matter what. But here we get so much more – when we meet Thea she’s reeling from unexpected news and her separation – and not one of the world’s most high-maintenance women.  When she discovers her husband’s infidelity with a former best friend –her world is shattered and like most people, she turned the grief and ‘what if” questions onto herself.  An unexpected inheritance allows her the opportunity to get away (for a fortnight she thinks) to a small Scottish town to see a cottage, clear it out and decide to sell or lease.  Arriving to meet the solicitor and friend of her late great uncle, she realizes that he (like she) was a fan of books – his collection is wonderful and full of joys.  But Thea isn’t sure that she wants to tote it home, not knowing what the value is – and needs someone who does.   

Enter Edward, eldest son who renounced the inheritance in favor of his younger brother Charles – and has a small, rare books business in town.  His brother Charles, meanwhile, is the owner of the “big house’, of which Thea’s new cottage was a part.  Charles and Edward are two sides of a coin: Charles is polished, handsome and charming – perhaps too much so.  Edward is also handsome and polished – in ways – but far less ‘people friendly’ and growls like a hungry bear.  When Thea decides that the change of her venue – where no one knows her story – is just what she needs – the story heats up. She’s far too busy deciding on new changes for the cottage, learning where she is, and convincing Edward to hire her as a shop assistant to spend all her time fretting over her lost 20-year marriage. And, unsurprisingly, Thea has the ability (and wit) to counter the excesses of Edward’s “I’m a massive grumpy bear” attitude.  In fact, Thea’s humor and determination to make the changes she wants instead of those she knows will help other’s days is refreshing.  And she’s hit that point – you know the one – where you are too tired of the BS and ready to just make a move FOR yourself.  

Of course, there’s a spark between Charles and Thea – but his history (and what a convoluted story that is) and his feud with his brother are obstacles: even as Thea decides that she’ll step up and provide a way to reconciliation, if not fully than one that will allow them to be in the same place at the same time without drama.  I loved the way that Fraser built the characters and took steps toward a relationship with Thea and Edward, and her own ‘strictly middle class suspicious of the titled’ people held Edward accountable for his behavior – and her ability to censure his worst impulses in the main.  And Thea is lovely and engaging – a bit older, much wiser and still quite funny with all of the quirks and worries we all have at different times – and her determination to just move forward to whatever is next.  Clever, fun, engaging and with enough drama and comedic value to make it interesting – the dash of books, the solid sense of place and a few ‘locals’ with their own opinions on everyone and everything combine with Thea’s kindnesses, her strength and her curiosity to make the story sing. I can’t wait for more from this author.  

The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

Title: The Bookshop of Second Chances
Author: Jackie Fraser
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Humor elements, Older Heroine / Hero, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Scotland, Small Town
Published by: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 0593355652
Published on: 4 May, 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 448
Audio Length: 12 Hours: 13 minutes
Rated: four-half-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo Downpour IndieBound Book Depository GoogleAudibleDirect from Publisher
See this Title on Goodreads

A woman desperate to turn a new page heads to the Scottish coast and finds herself locked in a battle of wills with an infuriatingly aloof bookseller in this utterly heartwarming debut, perfect for readers of Evvie Drake Starts Over.

Thea Mottram is having a bad month. She’s been let go from her office job with no notice—and to make matters even worse, her husband of nearly twenty years has decided to leave her for one of her friends. Bewildered and completely lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But when she learns that a distant great uncle in Scotland has passed away, leaving her his home and a hefty antique book collection, she decides to leave Sussex for a few weeks. Escaping to a small coastal town where no one knows her seems to be exactly what she needs.

Almost instantly, Thea becomes enamored with the quaint cottage, comforted by its cozy rooms and lovely but neglected garden. The locals in nearby Baldochrie are just as warm, quirky, and inviting. The only person she can’t seem to win over is bookshop owner Edward Maltravers, to whom she hopes to sell her uncle’s book collection. His gruff attitude—fueled by an infamous, long-standing feud with his brother, a local lord—tests Thea’s patience. But bickering with Edward proves oddly refreshing and exciting, leading Thea to develop feelings she hasn’t experienced in a long time. As she follows a thrilling yet terrifying impulse to stay in Scotland indefinitely, Thea realizes that her new life may quickly become just as complicated as the one she was running from.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

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