Jenny Colgan comes to the blog with the second in her Scottish Bookshop series, thoroughly populated with booky references, Scottish men, and plenty of heart in
The Bookshop on the Shore
Zoe and Hari are struggling: struggling to make ends meet, to not feel isolated in their small and dark London bedsit, trying to remain positive when Jax decides to drop in and visit with Hari, or perhaps pay some maintenance so Zoe isn’t always feeling pressured. But he’s unreliable even as Hari lights up at any mention of him, and he’s still quietly blaming Zoe for Hari’s refusal to speak. Not one word. But now, Zoe’s been hit with a rent increase that she can’t afford, and Jax, while not helping has gone to his sister Surinder, friend of Nina of the mobile bookshop, for advice. Fortunately, Surinder knows that Nina is pregnant and looking for someone to manage the little blue van, and she’s heard that the family at the “big house’ is looking for an au pair – with a small wage and lodging included. Zoe’s a good fir, they don’t mind about Hari, and she’s truly a reader- one who ‘self medicated’ the bad days away with her favorite books as a child (who didn’t do that – I think I’d have to feel as if they missed out on some key milestone).
Arriving in Inverness after a long bus ride, Nina immediately brings them to the ‘big house’ where Zoe meets the three children: Shackelford, Mary and Patrick. None are interested in a ‘nanny’, in fact vociferous arguments and plenty of attitude greet her: including that from the housekeeper. Daunted but determined, Zoe dives into both the household and the bookshop, bullied by the guard chicken at Nina’s farm and dismissed or defied by the children, early days are difficult and stressful. And then, Hari, the shy, timid and rather retiring young boy is taken with Patrick, daring to touch a dog and following the other boy raptly, she starts to put her foot down. Pushing the children into chores, real meals, interactions and (for the older two) back into school after being expelled. While she sees, but doesn’t interact much with the children’s father, their mother’s mysterious disappearance is the stuff of gossip and rumor in the small village.
Like all of Colgan’s stories, I’m predisposed to dive in and not emerge until the last page is turned. And I LOVE books about people who love reading and books – there’s an instant kinship. And you couldn’t help but be drawn to Hari and his sweetness, Zoe and her protectiveness and Patrick who speaks in ALL CAPS all the time! It was easy to see the children were hurting, and Zoe’s attempts to always get on with things and make the best of the hand dealt was an amazing lesson for them all. She even worked her quiet work on their father Ramsey: bringing him out of his shell and getting him to pay attention and interact with the kids before they were quietly sleeping. Plenty of dramatics, a bit of tumult and the magic of the highlands along with a particular probably fabled loch monster and the story was hard to put down and harder not to love. You’ll want to grab this one up – for the stories, the characters, the moments and the magic and just escape into the world that is between these pages.
Title: The Bookshop on the Shore
Author: Jenny Colgan
Series: Scottish Bookshop #2
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Friendship, Humor elements, Scottish, Second Chance, Setting: Scotland, Small Town
Published by: William Morrow
Published on: 25 June, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 13 Hours: 11 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
A grand baronial house on Loch Ness, a quirky small-town bookseller, and a single mom looking for a fresh start all come together in this witty and warm-hearted novel by New York Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan.
Desperate to escape from London, single mother Zoe wants to build a new life for herself and her son Hari. She can barely afford the crammed studio apartment on a busy street where honking horns and shouting football fans keep them awake all night. If she doesn’t find a way out soon, Zoe knows it’s just a matter of time before she has a complete meltdown. On a whim, she answers an ad for a nanny job in the Scottish Highlands, which is about as far away from the urban crush of London as possible. It sounds heavenly!
The job description asks for someone capable of caring for three “gifted children”, two of which behave feral wolverines. The children’s widowed father is a wreck, and the kids run wild in a huge tumbledown castle on the heather-strewn banks of Loch Ness. Still, the peaceful, picturesque location is everything London is not—and Zoe rises to the challenges of the job.
With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Zoe begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family—and her own…?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: