Title: The Little Shop of Happy Ever After (original title: The Bookshop on the Corner)
Author: Jenny Colgan
Release date: January 11th, 2016
Rating: 2/5 stars
Things were a bit hectic so sorry we weren’t able to put a post up yesterday. So here is a review to make up for it. We hope to post something else today in order to catch up!
The back of this book states that this is a book for and about readers. It is dedicated to book lovers and readers. This was enough to convince me to buy this book and give it a go. I was, however, extremely let down by this book. The plot sounds absolutely amazing, but it was in my opinion quite poorly executed. Read on to find out why.
This book is about 28-year-old (I believe) Nina. She adores books. She has been a reader all her life and in the beginning of this story, she works as a librarian. But when her library gets shut down in favour of a media-center, Nina’s job is suddenly in serious danger. Even though she is absolutely terrified to step out of her book-shaped comfort zone and do something in the real world, she decides to take the leap of faith and start her own traveling bookshop in an old van. She moves to Scotland and has to learn to adjust to the life in a village where everyone knows everyone. On top of everything she has to deal with a handsome and mysterious man who drives the train past her new hometown every night, and her cranky landlord.
First of all I just want to say that I found pretty much all the (side)characters felt pretty flat to me. Now lets get on to some of the main characters in this story.
Nina is one of the most annoying main characters I have ever read about. She doesn’t show a lot of personality other than the fact that she’s an introverted reader (original). She doesn’t listen to the advice of her best friend. She’s mentally living in a fairytale world and refuses to put her feet back on the ground.
And don’t even get me started on Lennox, he was such a fucking arse. I get that she was trying to make him seem mysterious and stoic with a soft core. But that didn’t do it for me AT ALL. I am so sick of characters who do not communicate. When I am reading YA I can kind of look past it because I was definitely uncommunicative when I was 15, but we are talking about a grown-ass man here. SPEAK! Don’t just go sit in a corner looking grumpy. It is not attractive nor is it romantic. Being a broody badboy only works so long, and trying to be one in your early-thirties is just a bit pathetic.
Now on to one of the only characters I actually liked: Surinder. Being Nina’s best friend and ex-roommate, she is the only one who even remotely tries to talk sense into her. Even though Nina doesn’t take the advice and goes right along with her own poor judgement, Surrender at least tried and is one of the few redeeming qualities in this book, for me.
As you might be able to tell from my star rating, there wasn’t a whole lot I enjoyed about this book. I did however like the first part of the book. Nina hadn’t started to annoy me that much yet. And I did absolutely love the idea of a traveling bookshop in a van. When I was younger our family holidays consisted of traveling from place to place in an old van so the concept left me feeling quite nostalgic.
I also loved the setting. The Scottish town Kirrinfeif was great to read about and the descriptions actually made this city girl want to move to the countryside.
“Just do something. You might make a mistake, then you can fix it. But if you do nothing, you can’t fix anything. And your life might turn out full of regrets”
Oh boy! Where do I start? When I started reading this book I genuinely thought this was going to be a 5-star read. But there were just so many things that completely ruined that for me.
I’ll start with a minor irritation. The fact that digital media is portrayed to poorly. Just because Nina likes reading she despises the digital world. Maybe this just got to me personally because I am an avid reader who is also a designer of websites and applications, but I just thought it was stupid and narrow-minded. This book was written in 2016, probably half of all the people who read, do so on a digital device. Not even speaking of all the amazing articles that are available online for free. It’s great to be a reader in this day and age. You can choose the medium you prefer and learn everything you even wanted to know form the comfort of you home. Ugh!
Secondly, the entire plot of this story revolves around Nina chasing her entire life around and starting a bookshop from her van. Yet I felt like I didn’t get to see a lot of the van. The book was much more focussed on the romance than on the new business she just started.
Which brings me to my next point, romance. Oh dear Lord, the romance in this book… It might be because I have read a lot of romance books in my early teens, but there was just nothing special about this romance whatsoever. It was beyond cliché and predictable. And the redemption arc of one of the love interests (oh yes, there are multiple. You annoyed yet?) is incredibly unbelievable and ridiculous.
I also want to mention the ‘surprising’ subplot. I obviously don’t want to spoil anything, but somewhere in this book a person comes along with an air of mystery. She’s a young girl and it seems like she’s in trouble. Towards the end of the novel you find out what happened to her. And its just plain stupid. It lacked creativity and the problem was resolved pretty much instantly which makes me question why it was such a big deal in the first place. Which brings me to my next point.
EVERYTHING FELT SO RUSHED! Everytime a problem would pop up, it was resolved in absolutely no-time. This just felt unrealistic to me and it made me enjoy the story even less.
Like I said before., I actually thought this would be a 5-star read. But around the halfway point I began to get annoyed and the last third of the book completely ruined it for me. I have lost count of all the eye roll moments I had while reading this book. And it was a strangely slow read for a book where problems are resolved in a single page. Overall, I absolutely adored the concept. I really did, but the execution was poor and I couldn’t get through 10 pages without cringing. Would not recommend, unless you can handle cringy romance and an annoying cast of characters.
Lots of Love,
Follow our blog on Bloglovin