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 warm-hearted novel by New York Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan.
Desperate to escape from London, single mother Zoe wants to build a new life for herself and her son Hari. 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, Zoe 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 three “gifted children”, two of which behave 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 Zoe rises to the challenges of the job.
With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Zoe begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family—and her own…?
Trigger Warningsmention of self-harming
– My Thoughts –
“If you read…It means there are more heads to be in, more lives to be lived than simply your own.”
This is my first Jenny Colgan book and I was drawn to it because -of course- of the word “Bookshop”. Did The Bookshop on the Shore meet my expectations? Let’s find out..
The book is about Zoe, a single mother who lives in London and is trying to make ends meet. Her ex is uncaring and irresponsible and her 4 years old son Hari has trouble with speech. On top of that, she has to worry about her landlord raising prices on her already dismal but expensive flat. Soon, Zoe gets a lifeline from Hari’s aunt, her sister-in-law who has two jobs for her but they’re both in Scotland. Zoe has no choice other than pack up her stuff and leave for Scotland with Hari in tow.
Zoe finds herself overwhelmed while arriving at one of her jobs in Scotland; she’s supposed to be the eighth(or ninth?) nanny to three unruly kids with a surly father. In her second job, she meets a very pregnant and (almost)friendly local bookseller Nina who isn’t sure Zoe is up to the task. Did Zoe make a terrible mistake or is this her salvation?
The Bookshop on the Shore was not what I had expected. I wouldn’t say I liked it or hated it. It was a light read with a good pace that let me finish it within a day. The only notable things in the book were the author’s beautiful descriptions of the Scottish highlands and her evocative writing style. I liked Zoe and sympathized with her every time. Do not go into this book expecting a romance because there is little to none of it. Ramsay, our heroine’s love interest, is mostly absent throughout the book and I didn’t like the way their “romance” evolved, if it did. The bookseller Nina is the main character in the first book of this Scottish Bookshop series and she was so rude to Zoe every time that it irritated me to the point that I had to skip some of the pages she was in.
Overall, I would recommend this book if you are looking for a light read that’ll make you lust for the Scottish highlands, then go for it! There was a bit of mystery in this book too which added a nice edge to the monotony of it.
Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
– About the Author –
Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including ‘The Little Shop of Happy Ever After’ and ‘Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery’, which are also published by Sphere.’ Meet Me at the Cupcake Café’ won the 2012 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, as was ‘Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams’, which won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013.
Thank you for reading! Have you read The Bookshop on the Shore or any of jenny Colgan’s books ? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!