The Christmas Bookshop: A Novel by Jenny Colgan #BookReview #ChristmasBook

Laid off from her department store job, Carmen has perilously little cash and few options. The prospect of spending Christmas with her perfect sister Sofia, in Sofia’s perfect house with her perfect children and her perfectly ordered yuppie life, does not appeal. 

Frankly, Sofia doesn’t exactly want her prickly sister Carmen there, either. But Sofia has yet another baby on the way, a mother desperate to see her daughters get along, and a client who needs help revitalizing his shabby old bookshop. So Carmen moves in and takes the job. 

Thrown rather suddenly into the inner workings of Mr. McCredie’s ancient bookshop on the picturesque streets of historic Edinburgh, Carmen is intrigued despite herself. The store is dusty and disorganized, but undeniably charming. Can she breathe some new life into it in time for Christmas shopping? What will happen when a famous and charismatic author takes a sudden interest in the bookshop – and Carmen? And will the Christmas spirit be enough to help heal her fractured family?”

The Christmas Bookshop (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) is the sort of Hallmark movie-type Christmas book: a lovable old bookstore in danger of closing, a lovable bookstore owner, an out-of-place woman who needs to find herself, potential romantic interests, all set in a Christmas setting, in Scotland, no less. Count me in!

I found it slow to warm up to the main character, Carmen, but it did happen, as Carmen’s character not only got fleshed out but had character development and growth as well. Because I have two sisters of my own and have three daughters, I enjoy stories that involve sisters. Sofia started out as sort of a cookie cutter character but grew into a supporting character that helped the narrative immensely.

And I absolutely loved the Edinburgh setting and felt the city itself was another character of the book. The secondary characters add depth to the story, and you really root for Carmen and the other people in the book. While there’s romance in the book, I don’t find it central to the story. To me, it’s about Carmen’s growth while working in the bookshop.

While this may be a Christmas story, it’s also more than that. It definitely pulls at the heartstrings, but it’s also got a strength of spirit at its core. It’s about creating long-lasting bonds, and most importantly, love.

I do have to say that the book does drag a bit in the middle part, where nothing seems to be happening, but hold on, dear readers, to get past that when the story rights itself and you’re back on to smooth sailing and a lovely story overall.

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