Updated: Aug 22, 2021
The Bookshop on the Corner (Scottish Bookshop #1) by Jenny Colgan
Publication Date: September 20th, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.
Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.
From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.
As much as I love books, I’m never really drawn to books about books. Something that stood out to me about this one in particular was the commentary that it provided on the ever-adapting world of libraries. From the career that Nina dreamed of having as a kid needing to change it’s purpose to accommodate more of a technological influence, to the country-side locals lamenting over their loss of an easily accessible library. The Bookshop on the Corner is extremely self aware.
Making my way through this book was like reading about the life I could potentially have. I am currently working towards becoming a Library Technician but have always dreamed about packing everything up and opening a little bookshop of my own so I was happy to read about a fictionalized version of that dream. While Nina is essentially forced to make her decisions with nothing really to lose, it also shows her gumption to prove herself which is something I really appreciated seeing. She questioned herself, she researched, she took the jump, she was scared… but she did it.
While the general story was enjoyable, there were still aspects that I was not entirely keen on and did not feel fully fleshed out. The thought was there, but I felt that some things got lost. This story would have been perfectly fine as a story of self discovery but Colgan also added in two potential love interests who I don’t feel like had a chance to really be contenders. While one serves as a way to show that Nina is ready for love, the other was solidly placed on the back-burner and the relationship was never fully earned in my opinion. I do love a little romance so I appreciate the addition but I think that one potential beau could have done the job.
The friendship between Nina and her roommate Surinder was also a bit off-putting at the start in the way that their conversations were written but that relationship did grow on me. I appreciated that Nina had someone close to her that was not afraid to tell her the truth in a blunt manner as that seemed to be the only way to get through to her at times. It was also nice how Colgan did not forget about Nina’s friends once she moved, they were always a part of the story and made everything seem a bit more grounded and believable.
Overall I found this story very enjoyable but oddly written and paced at times. I do think I will continue with this series but it isn’t quite at the top of my list.