Well hello, happy people! I bring to you today a festive book review. Hence the stockings hung by the fireplace.
Anyway. I read The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan for book club this month, and it was too cute to not review.
Laid off from her department store job, Carmen has perilously little cash and few options. The prospect of spending Christmas with her perfect sister Sofia, in Sofia’s perfect house with her perfect children and her perfectly ordered yuppie life does not appeal.
Frankly, Sofia doesn’t exactly want her prickly sister Carmen there either. But Sofia has yet another baby on the way, a mother desperate to see her daughters get along, and a client who needs help revitalizing his shabby old bookshop. So Carmen moves in and takes the job.
Thrown rather suddenly into the inner workings of Mr. McCredie’s ancient bookshop on the picturesque streets of historic Edinburgh, Carmen is intrigued despite herself. The store is dusty and disorganized but undeniably charming. Can she breathe some new life into it in time for Christmas shopping? What will happen when a famous and charismatic author takes a sudden interest in the bookshop—and Carmen? And will the Christmas spirit be enough to help heal her fractured family?
Like I said, this book was cute. The premise is what caught my attention initially. I mean, anything involving a bookshop is bound to draw a book hoarder’s attention, right? Right. And it did. And then I read about Mr. McCreadie’s old shop, filled to the brim with dusty old tomes, and realized I was an amateur book hoarder. Also, I want to visit Edinburgh and go to his shop. It sounds like a wonderful place to find beautiful old books, even if it did need some help at first.
The cast of characters is amazing. Jenny Colgan does a wonderful job of painting them into fully fleshed-out humans, which, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting in a holiday romance. I should just read more romances I think, so I stop making erroneous judgments about the genre.
Back to the characters. Carmen and Sofia have a great relationship, in the fact that it’s written well, their actual relationship is terrible. And I really enjoyed watching Carmen try to corrupt Sofia’s children with things like milkshakes and Muppets.
This book does set itself up for a love triangle…kinda, which I do not enjoy, so I won’t go much into our romantic interests. They were both very different and that did redeem that part of the book a little bit. There is also a little bit of the miscommunication trope, which I do enjoy I have discovered.
The plot was, well, cute. Mr. McCredie will lose his shop if he doesn’t turn a profit over Christmas, so Sofia calls in her recently unemployed sister to help him turn it around. The dynamic between Mr. McCredie and Carmen is very sweet. I love the way the two interact with each other while trying to save the shop. The shop, by the way, also happens to be Mr. McCreadie’s home.
Also, randomly, I didn’t know that Thundersnow was a thing. I live in the south and that just doesn’t happen here. Or, at least, it hasn’t happened where I live in my memory.
The pacing was consistent. Nothing felt rushed or forced, even towards the end. And that’s a rarity.
This book kept me entertained and was a lovely, cozy read. I can honestly say I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. When all is said and done, I gave The Christmas Bookshop 4 stars.