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Review: The Little Shop of Happy Ever After

by Jenny Colgan

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publish Date: 11th of February

‘Some people buried their fears in food, she knew, and some in booze, and some in planning elaborate engagements and wedding and other life events that took up every spare moment of their time, in case unpleasant thoughts intruded. But for Nina, whenever reality, or the grimmer side of reality, threatened to invade, she always turned to a book.’ Loc 673┬áTitle: The Little Shop of Happy Ever After
Author: Jenny Colgan
Publisher: Sphere
Book: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Found: Netgalley
Rating: 5 Voodoos

Given a back-room computer job when the beloved Birmingham library she works in turns into a downsized retail complex, Nina misses her old role terribly – dealing with people, greeting her regulars, making sure everyone gets the right books for their needs. Then a new business nobody else wants catches her eye: owning a tiny little bookshop bus up in the Scottish highlands. No computers. Shortages. Out all hours in the freezing cold; driving with a tiny stock of books… not to mention how the little community is going to take to her, particularly when she stalls the bus on a level crossing…

- Goodreads

What a wonderful, heartfelt romance! This is my first Jenny Colgan book and my first five voodoo/star rating of 2016!
I loved every minute of this book and ended up reading it for 6 hours straight without even realizing it. It’s that engrossing.

Nina finds herself unemployed after her small town library in Birmingham is closed and combined with the bigger complex in the city. Feeling lost and unsure of what to do next she decides to take a risk and travel up to Scotland to purchase an old bakery bus. She’s always dreamed of running a small bookstore and even though most of her friends think she’s crazy, she grabs at this once in a life time opportunity to follow her dream.

I really enjoyed the flow of this story as it followed Nina on her path to self discovery. It was full of heart-warming and heart-breaking moments, whilst all the while maintaining a sense of humor and clarity that I found really easy to get caught up in. I loved Marek the quiet, thoughtful foreigner who drives the train and left her poetry and flowers in a tree, I loved Lennox the broody, muscular farmer, who always appeared grumpy and withdrawn but for good reasons, and I also loved the myriad of country folk characters, many of who I can recognize in my own sleep town, but most of all I loved Nina.

Nina was the perfect character and I identified instantly with her. She was quiet and reserved, a total wallflower. She would read books rather than live her own life, so as not to feel as lost in the hustle and bustle of city life. But in Scotland she found more than a new career. She found purpose, friendship and love and was finally able to balance real life with her love of the fictional lives of others. This was basically everything I could possibly need from a contemporary romance! I really appreciated that while the focus of this book was a book lover, it didn’t feel artificial, like Jenny Colgan was trying to say, ‘look she’s just like you’, it was actually, wonderfully natural. And the fact that it was all set in Scotland was just a bonus. I think I’ll have to go for a little holiday :) All in all this made for such a special and magical read.

I just want to say that I loved Jenny Colgan’s dedication at the beginning of this book, to all readers. Jenny had listed and explained some of the places we may read this book, like in bed, in a book group and while walking. I loved her ‘in the bath’ suggestion of turning the page with your nose (ebook obviously) and I have now tried this method and cannot understand how I never thought of this before myself! It’s sheer genius!

I would recommend this to anyone who loves romances, especially those set in the countryside and I would definitely recommend this for Valentines Day, it will warm your heart!

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