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The Bookshop on the Shore

A Novel
Narrated by: Eilidh Beaton
Length: 13 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A grand baronial house on Loch Ness, a quirky small-town bookseller, and a single mom looking for a fresh start all come together in this witty and warmhearted novel by New York Times best-selling author Jenny Colgan.

Desperate to escape from London, single mother Lottie wants to build a new life for herself and her son, Raffie. She can barely afford the crammed studio apartment on a busy street where honking horns and shouting football fans keep them awake all night. If she doesn’t find a way out soon, Lottie knows it’s just a matter of time before she has a complete meltdown. On a whim, she answers an ad for a nanny job in the Scottish Highlands, which is about as far away from the urban crush of London as possible. It sounds heavenly! 

The job description asks for someone capable of caring for two...well, the advertisement says “gifted children”; the reality is more like “feral wolverines”. The children’s widowed father is a wreck, and the kids run wild in a huge tumbledown castle on the heather-strewn banks of Loch Ness. Still, the peaceful, picturesque location is everything London is not - and Lottie rises to the challenges of the job.

With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Lottie begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family - and her own?

©2019 Jenny Colgan (P)2019 HarperAudio

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ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!

Absolutely LOVED this book! The story was charming and the children came ALIVE though the talented narration! In the wise words of Patrick.
ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!!!

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  • Kimberly
  • Indianapolis, IN, United States
  • 07-03-19

Slice-of-life novel

Setting: a village near Loch Ness Contemporary
Genre: Chick-lit

[I am guessing at spellings because...the audio format]

Zoe is a single mom of Hari, a 4 year old boy with mutism. The child’s father, Jas, is a feckless dreamer who is sure his next DJ gig will lead to fame and fortune. He is self-indulgent, denying himself nothing thanks to his parents, while the child he sees only occasionally lives in a mean little bed-sit with his overworked mum. When her rent is raised Zoe is at her wit’s end. Then she hears of an au pair position and a job in a mobile bookstore. Perfect! Except the jobs are in Scotland and she’s never been far from Bethnal Green in the East End of London where she was born — before the area became posh. But she needs the work so off she goes. The mobile bookstore job is assisting a very pregnant Nina (from The Bookshop on the Corner) until the baby is born. Then, while Nina takes a maternity leave she’ll run the whole thing by herself. Except the running of it by herself comes sooner than expected when Nina has to go in the hospital for the last few weeks of her pregnancy. Meanwhile the au pair job at the big house isn’t as she imagined. The Urquhart children are more akin to feral cats than civilized people. All 3 have been turned out of school for the term for bad behavior. It is up to Zoe to get them out of their devices and teach them to get along with the rest of humanity.
If you chose this book thinking you were getting a light contemporary romance you’ll be disappointed. Oh sure, there a bit there at the end, but it’s an afterthought more than an integral part of the plot. That’s one drawback for me. Another is that at the beginning of part three, the author inserts herself by directly addressing the reader/listener. I found this quite intrusive, and it actually angered me. Who wants to be yanked right out of a story by a pontificating author?
This is a slice-of-life novel. It is basically about how Zoe handles the bookstore, making changes that end up distressing Nina, and what she does to civilize her young charges. Zoe is a well developed character, the others less so. Probably because there were so many others few got the chance to develop into fully fleshed-out individuals. Even Ramsay, the object of Zoe’s desire, doesn’t have much depth. It seems the author put most of her character-development energy into Zoe and the youngest Urquhart child, 5 year old Patrick.
This is an average read in the “borrow” rather than “buy” category. It is enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable.

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