Reviews, Scottish Reads

The Christmas Bookshop

When the department store she works in closes for good, Carmen has perilously little cash and few options. She doesn’t want to move in with her perfect sister Sofia, in Sofia’s perfect house with her perfect children and her perfectly ordered Edinburgh life.

Frankly, Sofia doesn’t exactly want Carmen there either. Her sister has always been sarcastic and difficult. But Sofia has yet another baby on the way, a mother desperate to see her daughters get along, and a client who needs a retail assistant for his ailing bookshop, so welcoming Carmen might still have some benefits for everyone.

At Sofia’s behest, Carmen is thrown into the daily workings of old Mr. McCredie’s ancient bookshop on the streets of the old dark city. Can she use her design skills to revamp the store and bring it back to popularity in time to benefit from Christmas shopping traffic? Can she choose between bad boy literary rock star Blair and quiet Quaker student Oke? And will she heal the rift with the most important people of all: her family?

This was my second Jenny Colgan read and this was definitely my favourite of the two. I gave this book 4 stars, it was full of Christmassy magic and was enjoyable right from the start. I listened to the audiobook which I think enhanced the whole experience as the narrator, Eilidh Beaton, was just excellent!

This book started with Carmen feeling like a bit of a failure, career wise which I found so relatable! I do enjoy reading about characters who don’t have their dream careers and feel a little bit lost about what to do.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Like in the last Jenny Colgan book I read, I didn’t find myself liking any of the main characters. Carmen was immature. Sophia was pretentious. Yet, I really enjoyed reading about them! I lost my sister back in 2013 so there’s something about stories with sisters that hits me in the feels. I really enjoyed reading about their relationship growth. I really enjoyed that the characters were flawed!

My favourite characters were actually the bookshop owner and Sophia’s kids. The kids almost held up a mirror to Sophia and Carmen and they were so funny. The narrator did some really good voices for the kids. Mr McCredie was an adorable old man and I would 100% have visited his shop. He was just the sort of man I’d love as a grandfather, he was whimsical!

This books as set in Edinburgh during the festive season. I grew up in the Scottish Borders, only 30 miles from Edinburgh so have many fond memories of getting the bus to Edinburgh to go to the Christmas fair and then do some Christmas shopping. I felt that the author perfectly captured the magical feeling of Edinburgh in December. This book also captured the reality of Edinburgh which involves a lot of hills and steps! Edinburgh in December is always pretty amazing but the book didn’t try to romanticise Edinburgh at all.

I really enjoyed the side story my Mr McCredie and his coming to terms with his past. This was unexpectedly serious for a festive read. I didn’t expect a difficult topic to be included in this book but it was very interesting to read about really helped to explain a bit more about the character.

I didn’t really care too much about the romantic relationships in this book as it was pretty obvious what was going to happen. This is something I usually hate but in a Christmas themed book, this is what I want.

This book gave me everything I wanted from it. This book was a really fun Christmassy read that had some heartwarming parts that made me cry. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was due to the main characters being pretty annoying. I think I said that about my last Jenny Colgan read. I will definitely be reading more books by this author and this book may make it into future festive reading rotations.

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