When librarian Nina Redmond loses her job at her local library, she decides it’s time for a change in her life. She takes a risk and leaves everything behind to open her own traveling bookshop, but Nina learns there are more happily ever afters in the world than just the ones in her beloved books.
Published: February 11th, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
“Just do something. You might make a mistake, then you can fix it. But if you do nothing, you can’t fix anything. And your life might turn out full of regrets.”
Nina Redmond is a librarian and the ultimate bibliophile, she believes there’s a book for everyone and she’s the woman to find it. Unfortunately, times are tough for libraries at the moment and Nina’s library branch falls victim to the debilitating budget cuts. Nina, convinced she won’t get the job at the media center of the main library in which her branch is merging, goes out on a limb and buys a big old van from a gentleman in Scotland. Nina, against her friends’ better judgement, turns this van into the traveling bookshop called the Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After. After realizing the need for books in the little town in Scotland where she bought the van, Nina moves out there to run her shop. She rents a converted barn from a sort of rude but also handsome farmer named Lennox, falls kind of in love with a train operator named Marek, and even becomes the unwanted advocate for a teenager named Ainslee. Life in her new town isn’t at all what she expected, but it turns out to be more than she could have ever hoped for.
This was such a cute little book. It has all the elements of a cozy read; lovely main character with a book obsession, a fun cast of local characters, a budding romance (from not one, but two, guys), and a little mystery tied in. I don’t think there was a single thing I hated about this book aside from the formatting. What I didn’t like about it was simply that, within the first few chapters, the author would cut the sections off so frequently that I had a hard time keeping up. For example, Nina would be talking to a friend and then there would be a page break (illustrated by a cute little book picture) and then she would be somewhere else, then break again and she was somewhere else. There were just so many page breaks in the first few chapters it started to feel like I wasn’t reading a book, but a collection of little stories. It started to get better as the book went on, but during the first day or so of reading I was slightly confused.
However, everything else about this book made up for that! It really reminded me of a Hallmark movie (and I could see it making a GREAT Hallmark movie), it was just so sweet and funny and heartfelt. Nina was so great; at first, I didn’t think I would like her very much because she was so shy and timid, but her character development was really amazing. She got out there more, started reading less and interacting with others more, she was putting her love of books to good use, something I think all of us bibliophiles dream of doing. She was following her dreams and coming out of her shell and it was just a delight to see.
One of my favorite aspects of this book was the story line that involved Ainslee and her little brother Ben. Both these kids were dirty and unkempt, they were clearly frightened and unhappy, and Nina did something to help them. I appreciated the air of mystery that surround them and their family, and I especially liked how the community pulled together to help them in the end. It was so special because it was showing Nina was interested in making a difference in the community, not just by helping them get access to books, but by really caring about her neighbors. It just really sweet.
I had so much fun getting to know all the townspeople with Nina. Learning what they liked to read, what they’re hobbies and jobs are, and who makes the best food at the parties. I loved the scenes where she was going to dances and really participating in the community, something I think we all dream of if we live in the city. Everyone was just so nice and welcoming and the descriptions of the food was constantly making my mouth water. Whenever I read this I just felt sucked into this cozy little world and this book made me feel nothing but happy vibes and I loved it. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone just looking for a light standalone to read in between books!