Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: 14th May 2019 (e-book)
13th June 2019 (paperback)
Reviewed: 11th June 2019
One of Madeline’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline's heart toward her once-treasured aunt-and the now struggling bookshop left in her care. While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter's two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline's professional life falls apart, and a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. Has she been too quick to dismiss her aunt's beloved shop? And even if she has, the women's best combined efforts may be too little, too late.
I haven’t read within this genre for a while but as a book-lover I was drawn not only to the title of this novel but also to its gorgeous cover. Admittedly, I did find it to be a bit of a slow starter, but it wasn’t long before the characters had grown on me and I wanted to find out more about them.
With three different perspectives, Madeline, Janet, and Claire, are all at different stages in their lives: Madeline is a single high-flying career woman; Claire is married with two teenage children; and Janet is divorced with two grown-up children. Madeline is the protagonist and has inherited The Printed Letter Bookshop from her estranged Aunt Maddie. The plot had a bit of a Sophie Kinsella’s Domesticated Goddess feel about it at the beginning: when Madeline is turned down for promotion, she jacks in her job as lawyer and runs away to the small town of Eagle Valley for a more simple life. Madeline has every intention of selling her aunt’s bookshop at the earliest opportunity, but as Madeline gets to know the residents of Eagle Valley, she realises just how wrong she was about what happened in the past between her parents and her aunt.
To confuse things even more for Madeline, is Janet and Claire who work at the bookshop. Janet and Claire also both have first-person narratives so the reader gets closely drawn in to their worlds, as well as Madeline’s. As well as the prospect that they will shortly be losing their jobs, both characters have their own sets of problems. Claire is married with two teenage children, and it is the problem with her daughter that troubles Claire. Janet is divorced with two grown up children; but her children have disowned her, blaming her for splitting up with their father. At first Claire and Janet resent Madeline, but there was more to old Aunt Maddie than the women bargained for, and the individual Printed Letters that she left each of them gradually bring the three women together as friends. But this isn’t just about friendship, there’s also a sprinkling of romance – but is grumpy gardener Chris really that grumpy, and is he really a gardener?
Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley
for an Advance Review Copy of this book
in return for an honest and unbiased review.
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