Jenny Colgan is my go-to author for a fun happy read. I brought along The Bookshop on the Shore on a recent camping trip and had a great time reading it while watching the kids swim. I really like how in a Jenny Colgan novel, the main characters are able to work through problems and find their way to a happy fulfilling life.
Zoe is a single mother struggling to meet ends meet in London. She loves her son Hari, but can’t figure out why at age four, he still isn’t speaking. Hari’s dad, Jaz, flies in and out of their lives as a DJ, but it too busy to help with the nitty gritty things like paying rent. Jaz finally tells his sister, Surinder, about Zoe and Hari and she decides to help them out. She gets Zoe a part time job helping her friend Nina with her bookmobile in Scotland and a second job as a nanny to three children at a grand estate. Will Zoe be able to put her life back together in Scotland? Will Hari be able to learn how to talk? What is the mystery of the estate, the three children, their father, and their missing mother?
I loved this story. It was enjoyable to have the characters of Nina, Surinder, and Lennox return from The Bookshop on the Corner, but this book stands on its own. I was intrigued by the big house, Ramsey, his children, and his missing wife. The Bookshop on the Shore had a slight Jane Eyre vibe to it as Zoe tries to figure out the mystery and help the poor motherless children. I read the back of the book to my 9-year-old daughter Penelope and she predicted the ending. She had me give her status updates to the story as I read along. She was also satisfied by the story. The happy ending may be predicted, but it is all about the journey along the way. I liked that the story was able to discuss a variety of issues including mental health issues.
I also love that this book loves books. As with The Bookshop on the Corner, the traveling bookmobile bookstore is always trying to find the perfect book for patrons with Zoe at the helm with Nina laid up during her pregnancy. Zoe is more about making money selling books to tourists than to the locals much to Nina’s horror. Ramsey has a wonderful huge library in his home and is an antique book dealer, although he seems to like to collect the books more than he likes to sell them. I loved the discussion of favorite books throughout the novel. I just love reading about books!!
Overall, The Bookshop on the Shore was a perfect fun summer book. I loved the Jane Eyre vibe, discussions of books, characters, discussions of mental illness, humor, and romance. This book has it all!
Book Source: Purchased at Barnes & Nobles