So, it’s always exciting when the author herself replies to your tweet praising a book incredibly, right? I wish I knew Jenny Colgan in person, or atleast met her sometime. She seems like someone so warm and kind and full of sunshine – which is exactly what the book made me feel inside.
I’m going through this ridiculous reading slump I got into after half the book Heir of Fire from the Throne of Glass series. And yet, I’m able to finish some smutty books here and there, like hitchhiking through to your destination but with several different vehicles. Smut is always fun, but it has been a while I read something that pulled me in to the point of compulsively finishing it, but also did not leave me feeling heavy on the inside.
The Bookshop On The Corner is about Nina, a librarian who loses her job and wants to pursue her dream – recommending books to people – finding them the right fit. She believes every person in the world has the right book for them, and even the right person. An introverted, shy and awkward 29 year old who knows nothing but books. Her exterior may be tiny and cute-sy so people don’t generally notice her – and she prefers it that way most of the book – but the woman is made of steel on the inside. She discovers this as she opens a mobile bookshop away from her home in Birmingham. She’s broke, desperate for a job and decides to invest all her money into a van she found an ad for – but that’s parked in Scotland.
Kierkieff is a small town where she lands up, and after much struggle and obstacles, she ends up finding the van, an accommodation in a barn converted to a vacation home, and a whole community of readers hungry for books after the library shuts down in their town. It seems like the perfect meet-cute, but of a person and a place. The fact that Nina sets off on her own in a town such as this only to understand what her thirst for romance actually means, and how she can find ‘the one’ man the way she finds ‘the one’ book for readers who come to her.
I love Scotland (never been, want to, only seen pictures and read blogs and books about it.) So naturally, a mobile bookshop in Scotland that Nina takes to smaller villages around the idlyllic village she herself lives in. She meets so many people and becomes the go-to person for everyone who needs a book in their life. I wish, I truly wish that India too had a strong culture of reading like they do have in the West – well it’s encouraged a lot more for sure. Maybe then I’d set off in a mobile van selling books in towns starved of stories.
Nina’s decision to just pack her things and move to Scotland and place her whole life in jeopardy – I find that incredibly brave. I do not think I could ever do that. Even I do dream of owning a quaint little bookshop in a town that’s hungry for stories, for words, for that fragrance between the pages of a new book or the character found in the inscriptions and margin notes of an old musty paperback.
This book is an ode to book lovers. A love letter to the readers and a dedication to anyone who is a librarian and loves to be one, and an affectionate hug to those who only wish to be librarians or bookshop owners (namely, moi.)
There’s nothing about this book I disliked. Took me 2 chapters to just sink into the story but it is so gentle yet compelling, like a beautiful warm current of a river you just want to flow into while you relax and let Colgan take care of your heart.
The pace is perfect. The plot, even better. As mentioned before, the only one word if I had to pick about this book would be WHOLESOME. I do not think I have read a book like this in a very, very long time. I was misty-eyed and in a pleasant trance after I finished this. I did not want to talk, watch anything or even think of selecting my next book – like you never want that wonderful aftertaste of dessert to go away after a filling home-made meal full of love.
The characters are whole, yet it’s mostly Nina who goes through a lot of character development throughout this time. The rest of the characters are literally the supporting ones that only enhance the quality of person that Nina is. I’d have loved to know more about Lennox and Surinder (love the Indian representation BTW.)
The whole cultural, natural and local beauty of Scotland described here had my rapt attention. I can feel that Colgan has really put her heart into this one. The kilts and the midsummer fest and the weekly markets – it’s like the life I dreamed of, I lived through this.
As Nina said, “you become part of the story when you read a book. You’re right there in it.”
I’m so glad I read this, albeit an ebook version. I wish I did end up getting a paperback of this. It’s a book I will re-read and cherish for life, and recommend to anyone looking for a pick-me-up and know-yourself-better read.
The romance in the book is *chef’s kiss*. However, it’s such a huge life lesson here – find something that’s real and tangible, not made up in your head. This is a lesson not just Nina but every person on this planet looking for love needs to understand. We often fall in love with the idea of someone, how we make them up in the head, and not be able to see the reality of things. Finding someone real can be hard, and all love stories are bad until you find the right person. I loved that idea.
I love the fact that this book provides legit life lessons to anyone who reads this. Perhaps there may be different interpretations, but just like Nina recommends the right books to what the readers look for – this book can help find someone the right solution for whatever they’re trying to solve.
I can go on and on about this, but in conclusion, PLEASE pick this up. This book is a beam of sunlight in a time of gloom, a breath of fresh air after you step out of a closed room. Nina is me. I am Nina. And Colgan is a pure genius.
It’s a 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟