Monday, May 17, 2021

The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

The Bookshop of Second Chances
by Jackie Fraser
Published: May 4th 2021 by Ballantine Books

A woman desperate to turn a new page heads to the Scottish coast and finds herself locked in a battle of wills with an infuriatingly handsome bookseller in this utterly heartwarming debut, perfect for readers of Evvie Drake Starts Over.

Thea Mottram is having a bad month. Her husband of nearly twenty years has just left her for one of her friends, and she is let go from her office job--on Valentine's Day, of all days. Bewildered and completely lost, Thea doesn't know what to do. But when she learns that a distant great uncle in Scotland has passed away, leaving her his home and a hefty antique book collection, she decides to leave Sussex for a few weeks. Escaping to a small coastal town where no one knows her seems to be exactly what she needs.

Almost instantly, Thea becomes enamored with the quaint cottage, comforted by its cozy rooms and shaggy, tulip-covered lawn. The locals in nearby Baldochrie are just as warm, quirky, and inviting. The only person she can't seem to win over is bookshop owner Edward Maltravers, to whom she hopes to sell her uncle's antique novel collection. His gruff attitude--fueled by an infamous, long-standing feud with his brother, a local lord--tests Thea's patience. But bickering with Edward proves oddly refreshing and exciting, leading Thea to develop feelings she hasn't felt in a long time. As she follows a thrilling yet terrifying impulse to stay in Scotland indefinitely, Thea realizes that her new life may quickly become just as complicated as the one she was running from.

4 Stars

The Bookshop of Second Chances was the slowdown read I needed in my life. Thea and her adventures in Baldochrie, Scotland are charming. She finds herself divorced, the owner of an old lodge and a collection of new books, and the center of the small town's gossip mill. Intent on finding herself and a path for her future, Thea takes on a summer in the lodge, filling her time with a job in the local bookshop owned by the surly Edward. Only, he's far kinder to her than she heard he might be and alongside him she discovers she has room for so much more in her life.

Reading Jackie Fraser's novel is like taking a stroll down a scenic path. It's full of descriptive writing, fantastic Scottish dialect, and a romance that is just the right amount of slow. Thea discovering herself at forty-ish and after 20 years of marriage is so authentic, I loved her rediscovery of her own personal joys, hobbies, and friendships. Plus, it helps that Ed, for all his grumpiness, truly is a charmer. Their interactions are funny, flirtatious, and downright adorable. I know, funny word for romance, but this isn't the in your face angsty, heart pounding you're used to, this just feels almost normal. I loved the naturalness of it all, the pacing is just perfect, and while there are some small plot holes, they're forgettable, allowing me to just relax and read.

The Bookshop of Second Chances is the kind of book you can loll about with by the pool, bake in the sun with on the beach, or snuggle up into a warm blanket with as it rains outside. It's a lazy read that delivers on its promise of second chances and following your heart.

1 comment

  1. This actually sounds sweet. I like that their relationship is normal and funny. I am adding this one to my TBR. Nice review Carlene.


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