Fresh Fiction Senior Review Debbie Wiley
Bookstores have always been a place of joy for me, even as a young child. Books open up doors to new worlds and new adventures. Some authors capture that essence in their books by including bookstores as part of their plots. A wealth of emotions can be conveyed as characters learn to cope and heal through books and bookstores. Here are a few recent books that include bookstores as part of the magical world the authors transport us into.
Jenny Colgan’s Scottish Bookshop series includes two books, THE BOOKSHOP ON THE SHORE and THE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER, centered around a mobile bookstore. Both stories focus on a female lead character who heads to Scotland seeking a new life where a mobile bookstore becomes part of both of their worlds. THE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER is the first book in the series and shows how Nina Redmond first creates the idea of a mobile bookstore, as she seeks to share her love of books with a population unaccustomed to reading for pleasure. The second book, THE BOOKSHOP ON THE SHORE, focuses on Zoe O’Connell’s move to Scotland and her struggles to fill Nina’s shoes while Nina is otherwise occupied. Jenny Colgan does a magnificent job at showing readers the healing power of books and the need for bookstores even in seemingly unlikely places. Jenny Colgan’s love of reading, books, and bookstores is even evident in her introduction to her stories. In particular, THE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER is a book for and about readers.
Lindsay Harrel’s THE SECRETS OF PAPER AND INK is another beautifully written story showcasing the healing power of books and bookstores. Sophie Barrett is a therapist mired in her own grief when she takes a leave of absence to reside in Cornwall, working part-time in a bookstore. I love how Lindsay Harrel intertwines past and present day to tell a story of surviving and thriving after the dissolution of a marriage and domestic violence. THE SECRETS OF PAPER AND INK is a stunningly good portrayal of the healing power of books and bookstores.
MURDER IN THE FIRST EDITION is the third book in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series and focuses on Christmas where Addie Greybourne is celebrating her first full year as the owner of the Beyond the Page Bookstore. Add in a missing Charles Dickens classic, and I was bound to be hooked as the combination of a bookstore, Christmas, and Charles Dickens is sure to be good. Lauren Elliott also tackles the subject of grief in this cozy mystery series as Addie is still grieving the loss of her fiancé. MURDER IN THE FIRST EDITION more than lives up to its promise, as we also get to see Addie learning how to love Christmas again.
On a more lighthearted note, Daryl Wood Gerber’s Cookbook Nook series is centered around Jenna Hart’s bookstore. Jenna’s specialty bookstore features all sort of cookbooks guaranteed to make your mouth water just at the teasers Daryl Wood Gerber gives us. SIFTING THROUGH THE CLUES is the eighth book in the series and features the bookstore as a central part of the Book Club Bonanza, a festival where the book club travels to various locations and discuss the mystery the members are reading. Unfortunately, a suspicious death derails the festivities and Jenna Hart finds herself embroiled in some amateur sleuthing. Daryl Wood Gerber always offers an entertaining read and her Cookbook Nook series is a must-read for all fans of bookstore story lines.
Amanda Flower offers readers a paranormal twist on the bookstore them with her Magical Bookshop series. MURDERS AND METAPHORS is the third book in the series. One of the fun twists Amanda Flower includes is that the bookstore, Charming Books, gives Violet Waverly clues using the books in the store to help Violet solve the murder. What could possibly be better than a magical bookstore? I absolutely love the whole concept of the Magical Bookshop series and am sure that other booklovers will as well!
I’ve mentioned a few of my favorite storylines focused around bookstores. What are some of yours?
BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE:
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 four-year-old son Hari. She can barely afford the cramped studio apartment on a busy street where shouting football fans keep them awake all night. Hari’s dad, Jaz, a charismatic but perpetually broke DJ, is no help at all. But his sister Surinder comes to Zoe’s aid, hooking her up with a job as far away from the urban crush as possible: a bookshop on the banks of Loch Ness. And there’s a second job to cover housing: Zoe will be an au pair for three children at a genuine castle in the Scottish Highlands.
But while Scotland is everything Zoe dreamed of–clear skies, brisk fresh air, blessed quiet–everything else is a bit of a mess. The Urquart family castle is grand, but crumbling, the childrens’ single dad is a wreck, and the kids have been kicked out of school and left to their own devices. Lottie has her work cut out for her, and is determined to rise to the challenge, especially when she sees how happily Hari has taken to their new home.
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. . .?
Women’s Fiction Contemporary [William Morrow Paperbacks, On Sale: June 25, 2019, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780062850188 / eISBN: 9780062850195]
Lindsay Harrel presents a powerful story of healing,
forgiveness, and finding the courage to write your own
A year after the death of her abusive fiancé, domestic
violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work
too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England–a place she’s
learned to love through the words of her favorite author–and
finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out
in the bookstore underneath the room she’s renting. Given
her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect
place to find peace.
Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if
she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then
she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the
first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with
her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the
charming bookstore afloat.
More than 150 years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily’s journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth.
The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.
Addie Greyborne is preparing for the holidays at her bookstore in seaside New England–but a winter storm is coming, in more ways than one . . .
Addie’s getting into the spirit for the upcoming Charity Auction–especially since she’s got an 1843 copy of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol to donate. Her former colleagues at the Boston Public Library have confirmed that its worth runs toward the high five figures, which should help with the new pediatric wing. Her mood darkens, though, when a visitor from the past appears–Jonathan Hemingway, the father of her late fiancé. His presence stirs up sad memories for Addie, but also has her fuming when Jonathan, true to his womanizing ways, runs off for a lunchtime liaison with Teresa Lang, who’s in charge of the auction.
Soon after, Addie heads to Teresa’s office at the hospital–and finds the poor woman’s dead body. What she doesn’t find is her valuable first edition. What sort of Scrooge would steal from sick children and commit murder in the process? As a Nor’easter bears down and a mystery emerges about Jonathan’s past, Addie must find out if she can appraise people’s motives and characters as well as she can appraise rare books . . .
Mystery Cozy [Kensington, On Sale: September 24, 2019, Mass Market Paperback, ISBN: 9781496720214 / ]
Cookbook Book Mystery #8
The Agatha Award-winning author of Wreath Between the Lines returns to the Cookbook Nook, where culinary mysteries are giving everyone food for thought . . .
Book clubs from all over have descended on Crystal Cove to celebrate the library’s Book Club Bonanza week, and Jenna Hart has packed the Cookbook Nook with juicy reads and tasty cookbooks. But she’s most excited about spending an evening with the Mystery Mavens and their moveable feast, when they will go from house to house to share different culinary treats and discuss the whodunit they’re all reading. It’s all good food and fun for the savvy armchair detectives, until one of the members of the group is found murdered at the last stop on the tour.
As if that weren’t enough to spoil her appetite, Jenna discovers that all the evidence points to her friend Pepper as being the guilty party. And with Pepper’s chief-of-police daughter too close to the case to be impartial, Jenna knows she’ll have to step in to help clear her friend’s name before a bitter injustice sends her to jail. Sifting through the clues, Jenna unearths any number of possible culprits, but she’ll have to cook up a new way to catch the killer before Pepper’s goose is cooked . . .
Includes tasty sweet and savory recipes!
USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower is back with the third in her more-charming-than-ever Magical Bookshop mystery. Fans of Sofie Kelly and Heather Blake, prepare your bookshelves!
Niagara region booksellers Violet Waverly and Grandma Daisy sleuth the slaying of a sommelier whose book signing turned into her sayonara.
January means ice wine season in the Niagara Falls region, but the festivities leave Charming Books owner Violet Waverly cold, still reeling from a past heartbreak. A past heartbreak who will be present at the annual midnight grape-harvest festival, and no magic in the world or incantation powerful enough could get Violet to attend. But Grandma Daisy, an omniscient force all on her own, informs Violet that she’s already arranged for the mystical Charming Books to host celebrity sommelier Belinda Perkins’s book signing at the party. Little do either Waverly women know, the ice wine festival will turn colder still when Violet finds Belinda in the middle of the frozen vineyard–with a grape harvest knife protruding from her chest.
Belinda grew up in Cascade Springs, but she left town years ago after a huge falling-out with her three sisters. One of those sisters, Violet’s high school friend Lacey Dupont, attends the book signing in the hope of making amends with her sister, but Belinda and Lacey end up disrupting the signing with a very public shouting match and Lacey quickly becomes the prime suspect in the sommelier’s murder.
Violet is sure Lacey is innocent, and to keep her friend out of prison, Violet asks for guidance from her magical bookshop. The shop’s ethereal essence points her to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, but what have the four March sisters to do with the four Perkins sisters? If she can’t figure it out, Violet, herself, may turn as cold as ice. Violet, Grandma Daisy, Emerson the tuxedo cat, and resident crow Faulkner are back on the case in Murders and Metaphors, USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s enchanting third Magical Bookshop mystery.
Mystery Cozy [Crooked Lane Books, On Sale: February 12, 2019, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781683318996 / eISBN: 9781683319009]