Book Review: The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan


Title: The Bookshop on the Shore
Author: Jenny Colgan
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: June 25, 2019
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Series: Scottish Bookshop #2
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 4.11


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 four year old son Hari. She can barely afford the crammed studio apartment on a busy street where shouting football fans keep them awake all night. Hari’s dad, Jaz, a charismatic but perpetually broke DJ, is no help at all. But his sister Surinder comes to Zoe’s aid, hooking her up with a job as far away from the urban crush as possible: a bookshop on the banks of Loch Ness. And there’s a second job to cover housing: Zoe will be an au pair for three children at a genuine castle in the Scottish Highlands.

But while Scotland is everything Zoe dreamed of—clear skies, brisk fresh air, blessed quiet—everything else is a bit of a mess. The Urquart family castle is grand, but crumbling, the childrens’ single dad is a wreck, and the kids have been kicked out of school and left to their own devices. Lottie has her work cut out for her, and is determined to rise to the challenge, especially when she sees how happily Hari has taken to their new home.

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…?

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Zoe is a single mother living in London. She is struggling to make ends meet, and wants a better life for her and her son, Hari. With some help from Surinder, Hari’s father’s sister, Zoe gets an opportunity in the Scottish Highlands. Zoe will work as a nanny for a single father of three and will run Nina’s bookmobile while Nina is on bedrest during her pregnancy.

Some familiar faces from The Bookshop on the Corner – Nina, Surinder, and Lennox – are in this book, but this is very much Zoe’s story. Zoe is at her wits’ end and needs a fresh start. She takes a big leap of faith with relocating to Scotland. She doesn’t know anyone there, and she’s not really sure what to expect from the town, the people, or the jobs she has accepted.

For the move, Zoe accepts two jobs. Her position as a nanny provides housing for her and her son. She’s working for a man who is mostly absent from his kid’s lives, and Zoe starts to make some changes in their home life. Bringing order, laughter, and joy into their house, she makes a home. The second job is to run Nina’s bookmobile while Nina is on bedrest. This one gets Zoe out and amongst the local, but she soon learns everyone relies on Nina for book recommendations, and isn’t too keen on a newcomer. For the book van to keep making money, Zoe makes some changes and puts her touch on the bookshop.

An enjoyable and light read about a young mother wanting to change her life. Zoe is a likable character. She has a good heart, she works hard, and she puts her son first. Zoe does have a difficult time fitting in with the locals, but she stands her ground and finds her place.

A heartwarming story with quirky characters. Family life, romance, and humor combine into an enjoyable read, sure to delight fans of The Bookshop on the Corner.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.

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