26 March 2016
Book Review: The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan
You can buy the book now.
I always really look excited for a new book from Jenny Colgan, and was thrilled to get access to her latest book The Little Shop of Happy Ever After on Netgalley. It's a book about a book lover who decides to open a book shop - what isn't there to love about this story?! Nina was a librarian, until cuts meant she lost her job, and the idea of working in the backroom on computers really doesn't interest her. She makes an impulse decision and buys an empty van, and decides to use it as a book bus, up in the Scottish highlands of all places. Will she be able to make her fledgling business a success all on her own?!
This is most definitely a book for bookworms, and I am sure so many of us can see ourselves in the fantastic character that is Nina. She is completely passionate about books, reading and libraries and that comes across so beautifully in Colgan's writing. Nina rescues old books, wants to encourage reluctant readers into her bookish world, and despairs at the closures happening to local libraries - something many people are hating in the real world, so this book is most certainly fiction was a big doseful of reality.
I don't get to read many books set in Scotland, so I was really looking forward to reading this and finding out more about life north of the border. I have to say Jenny Colgan writes about the highlands so wonderfully, and you can fully imagine all of it in your mind as you are reading, from the rolling hills and countryside, to the small Scottish village Nina settles into. She ends up renting a place from a local farmer called Lennox, who seems quite rude and standoffish, determined to be alone and avoid Nina at all costs, although she is sure she can get him out of his shell. As well as her new friendship with Lennox, the book explores a few Scottish traditions, in particular a dance that Nina and her friend are invited to, and these scenes were so fun to read!
Although these are the main two characters in the book, we meet many other villagers that were fun to read about, and there was one story in particular that really touched my heart, and made me enjoy the book that little bit more, involving a teenage girl and her younger brother, living in difficult circumstances. Colgan writes their story beautifully, full of emotion, and as well as touching on their circumstances, shows us how reading can be such a vital escape for people, allowing you to become anyone and be anywhere when you're involved in a good book. I loved that the book showed readers from babies, toddlers, children and adults at every stage of their life, it was just a joy to read.
I loved everything about this book, and was completely absorbed by the story, the setting, the characters and just everything about this book. As I said, it truly is a book for book lovers, and I agreed with so many things in this book, from Nina's obsessive hoarding of books to her wanting to encourage everyone to pick up a book and discover the joy that is reading. Colgan's writing is so wonderful to read, with her evocative descriptions of the Scottish highlands, passion for books and reading and skilfully crafted characters making this book simply unmissable. I loved it.