Jenny Colgan, you had me at bookshop. Well, that's not quite true - I will happily pick up anything you write! But a love of books is indeed woven through the pages of this novel. Colgan's latest North American release is The Bookshop on the Shore.
Before you even start to read, take the time to read the author's notes at the front of the book. Colgan is very funny and it will give you some background and insight into her writing.
Setting is always important in Colgan's books. This time we're on the shores of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. A run down house full of books - and secrets. A village full of wee shops - and quirky, lovable supporting characters. The descriptions of land and sea have me wanting to visit, as do the villagers.
Colgan's characters immediately endear themselves to the reader. While Nina and Surinder from The Bookshop on the Corner have a role in this latest, it is Zoe's story that is front and center. She's a struggling single mom to four year old Hari - who has chosen not to speak. This move means a place to live - up in that 'big house' looking after three motherless children after the housekeeper goes home. And driving the bookmobile in the day. Uh, huh a great premise. The reader is firmly behind Zoe as she navigates a new home, two new jobs and trying to give Hari the best life she can.
And of course, it wouldn't be a Colgan book without a romantic subplot. Will Zoe connect with the single father of her charges? Or reconnect with Hari's father? I always enjoy the yes/no/maybe so...And the romance isn't confined to our lead character. Nina is expecting her first child - and I have to say I am smitten with her partner Lennox.
But of course, there are hurdles to clear on the way to that happy-ever-after ending. Colgan tackles some tough issues in this latest with a deft touch.
Colgan is my go-to author when I need a warm, witty feel-good comfort read. And this latest did not disappoint. Here's an excerpt of The Bookshop on the Shore. I will be eagerly awaiting Colgan's next book!
Jenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Little Beach Street Bakery, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, and Christmas at the Cupcake Café, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland.You can connect with Jenny Colgan on her website, find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.