When story-lover Anna takes over Longhampton's bookshop, it's her dream come true. And not just because it gets her away from her three rowdy stepchildren and their hyperactive dalmatian.
Unpacking boxes filled with childhood classics, Anna can't shake the feeling that maybe her own fairy-tale ending isn't all that she'd hoped for. But as the stories of love, adventure, secret gardens, lost dogs, wicked witches and giant peaches breathe new life into the neglected shop, Anna and her customers get swept up in the magic, too.
Even Anna's best friend, Michelle - who categorically doesn't believe in true love and handsome princes - isn't immune. But when secrets from Michelle's own childhood come back to haunt her and disaster threatens Anna's home, will the wisdom and charm of the stories in the bookshop help the two friends - and those they love - find their own happy ever afters?
©2009 Lucy Dillon (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton
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"Finally - an amazing story!"
This is the perfect summer read and Lucy Price-Lewis narration really brought it to life. The story was dynamic and really kept you gripped. I loved the constant flux of characters that were expertly interwoven and highly entertaining.
Lucy Price-Lewis is a personal favourite for me when it comes to narration. She never disappoints.
Yes. Turning it off and putting it down to go back to life in general was hard.
loved it. slow to get into then addictive. heartwarming story about how lives can be complicated and the importance of trust, family and friends
"Like a warm blanket"
I loved this book - a home shop, a bookshop, two totally different women, two dogs and lots of family dramas! Narration was brilliant - she got the intonation and voices just right. I felt like I was wrapped in a warm blanket listening to a life story that I somehow knew would turn out good in the end! A must listen!
"No Prince Charming here...I think"
There are few authors who can make me run through the whole spectrum of emotions in the course of one novel. This as definitely one such novel. The narrator was absolutely fabulous and I especially liked Rory a little more because of her narration.
Michelle and Anna's unlikely friendship blossoms and neither realises that there are gaps, flaws if you like, in this friendship. But Michelle allows Anna to escape from her drama-filled instant family while Anna accepts Michelle without judgement - something she's never had before.
There came a point in Anna's narrative where I wanted to scream at the stars/fate/destiny that everything was so unfair; she needed, deserved a break - a chance at her dream. But the punches kept rolling - along with my tears. Poor Anna - always the least. I was proud of Anna for the decision she made just before the last Christmas of the novel. How she managed to keep that household going was inspirational but also heart wrenchingly sad. And Phil, as much as she loved him, was a spineless child most of the time, allowing his children and his mother to make their lives even harder.
I think Michelle was my favourite character. I was short of breath, anxious and scared FOR her so many times. Michelle was made into the woman she became by events only revealed in the last few chapters and made me even more angry with her parents, especially her interfering mother.
Some reviewers felt that Becca's situation at the end of the novel was unnecessary, but I respectfully disagree. It was needed as catalyst to force so many issues to the fore and ultimately left Phil with no choice but to make a stand.
And Rory? Well, he and the dogs were my favourite supporting cast members.
If there is to be any criticism, it is that too many loose ends were bunched together at the end of the novel, rather than giving them a fair resolution.
This is definitely a book I will recommend and definitely one I will buy as gifts for friends.
loved the story and the narrator. very easy to get into and loose yourself in Michelle and Anna 's world.
the only thing is it felt like the last chapters of the book were rushed. But overall loved it.
"some lovely characters but not very exciting"
nice world to get lost in, some lovely characters but not very exciting, rather bitter sweet
I absolutely LOVED the story but it finished a little too abruptly for me tbh. I wanted more
"Slow and unnecessarily painfully drawn out"
Took too long to develop the characters and they weren't really that complicated.
Really love Anna but she seemed to have only 2 mins of happiness in the entire book.
I found it tedious, unnecessarily sad for the heroine and exhausting.
The performance was good though and the chapter openers.
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