Bookshop by the Sea by Denise Hunter #Audiobook #BookReview

Sophie Lawson should be enjoying her sister’s wedding day. But nothing could have prepared her to see the best man again.

After her mother became bedridden and her father bailed on the family, Sophie found herself serving as a second mother to her twin brother, Seth, and younger sister, Jenna. Sophie supported her siblings through their college years, putting aside her own dream of opening a bookshop in Piper’s Cove—the quaint North Carolina beach town they frequented as children.

Now it’s finally time for Sophie to follow her own pursuits. Seth has a new job, and Jenna is set to marry her college beau in Piper’s Cove. But the destination wedding reunites Sophie with best man Aiden Maddox, her high school sweetheart who left her without a backward glance.

When an advancing hurricane strands Aiden in Piper’s Cove after the wedding, he finds the hotels booked to capacity and has to ask Sophie to put him up until the storm passes. As the two ride out the weather, old feelings rise to the surface. The delay also leaves Sophie with mere days to get her bookshop up and running. Can she trust Aiden to stick around? And will he find the courage to risk his heart?

Bookshop by the Sea (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Audible) (AbeBooks)

Write a book about a small town bookshop owner and I’m in. Really, I’m quite the sucker for bookstore owners because at least once or twice in my life I’ve wanted to own a bookstore. Put it in a coastal town and that makes it an added bonus.

I didn’t realize until after I’d listened to the book and looked it up on Goodreads that this is considered Christian fiction. And the author has had several of her books made into Hallmark movies. So that should tell you one thing: this may be a romance, but it’s a clean romance, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Sophie and Aiden were teenage sweethearts who had big plans together, but fate pulled them apart when Sophie’s dad left her to take care of her ailing mother. She also helps raise her brother and sister and sacrifices her big dreams to tend the family. She doesn’t tell Aiden this, and he just accepts it and goes away to college.

Seven years later, Sophie’s sister is getting married and her brother lands a great job. It’s time to concentrate on her dream of opening a bookshop by the sea and is mere weeks away from doing just that, if she can only get through the wedding. And the hurricane heading their way.

Aiden is at the wedding and he and Sophie exchange pleasantries. He can’t get out of town because of the impending storm, so he has to stay in town. He graciously offers to help Sophie because a huge tree limb falls on the store during the hurricane. The time spent together getting the bookstore up and running lends to plenty of time to confront their breakup and the reasons behind it.

Aiden proved that he’s not the self-centered teen who just left Sophie and went on with his life. Sophie also proved that she’s matured enough to talk about the reasons she stayed with her family, and through that, she begins to realize she’s been babying her brother and sister, doing too much for them and not letting them grow up enough to take care of themselves.

Both Sophie and Aiden realize that their feelings for each other have not quite gone away, and as they clean up their personal lives, they dream of a future together, some way, some how, despite living in different cities. There are some painful moments for both of them as they make the journey back to each other and a happy ending.

If you like a clean romance, this book is for you.

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