Fans of Jenny Colgan will happily return to the Scottish setting of The Bookshop on the Corner and The Bookshop on the Shore, this time nestled in the delightful city of Edinburgh. Protagonist Carmen is the younger sister of Sofia - successful lawyer, wife, and mother. When Carmen loses her job, she winds up living in the basement with Sofia's nanny. But as she slowly gets to know her nieces and nephew and begins to revive the failing bookstore of one of Sofia's clients, Carmen also meets a couple of prospective dates. Will this perpetually resentful younger sister choose the jetsetting author or the quiet guest lecturer at the local university?
As fun as the story is with its misunderstandings, rivalry between Carmen and nanny Skylar for the notice of the guys, and carefully revealed backstory of the bookshop's owner - what really captured my attention was the strong sense of place. Edinburgh is one of my favorite places, and the city comes through as almost another character rather than just the setting of the book. The castle high above, Holyrood Palace at the other end of the Royal Mile, the way so many of the homes and shops in the Old Town seem to grow organically from the hillsides...every description captures the city perfectly.
It was also a pleasure to have Ramsay and Zoe from The Bookshop on the Shore make appearances. After all, it makes sense that a rare bookdealer like Ramsay would know a collector and merchant like Mr. McCredie. Colgan's stories always have an element of getting a second chance at life (and love) for her characters. This one is no exception and has the added charm of happening in a lovely city at Christmas.
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