I have recently installed the Goodreads app (shocking I did not have it before, I know!) and went on a reading frenzy picking up all the books I want to read. I needed up with close to 50 books but decided to start with something lighter – I have recently finished “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah, a collection of stories about his childhood in the South Africa under apartheid, and that was a heavy book to take in. So I was looking for something lighter before I tackle something heavier. I stumbled upon “Bookshop On The Shore” in my Goodreads exploration and jumped straight into it.
The story itself is about a young mother Zoe who has a son with selective mutism named Hari and who is struggling to make the ends meet in London. With the help of a friend, she secures an au pair position and a part-time bookseller position in a small village in the north of Scotland and moves there with Hari to take care of a bookseller van and three unruly children who made 6 previous nannies leave.
From that point, the story covers how Zoe handles occasional curveballs sent her ways and adapts to life in Scotland – I am not going to say too many things about the plot in case you want to read it and I would spoil it for you.
For the book itself, there are two main things that I saw in the reviews. The first one was that the book desperately needs proofreading more and the second one is that it is like a warm hug. I definitely agree with both of them. In terms of proofreading, the writing did feel bulky to me and initially hard to get into – if you are looking for good elegant sentences, this book is definitely no match to Tara Westover’s “Educated”. In terms of a warm hug, it has indeed been a while since I couldn’t put the book down. This book was a page turner for me – ironically, you kind of know what will happen but you still keep on reading because it feels good. The plot and the story were really heartwarming which for me outweighed the lack of proofreading and slightly bulky sentence structure.
I could also guess that the author of the book had a soft spot for Scotland – there is a lot of fascination with the Scottish nature in the book. I googled Jenny Colgan after having no idea who she was and no surprise that she is actually Scottish and apparently, quite a popular author. There are two more books related to the same location Scotland from Jenny Colgan which makes it a three book series but I am not sure I would read them. I think I prefer to leave it as it is, with the perfectly warm ending of “Bookshop On The Shore” for now.
“Zoe took a great, deep breath and pulled the fresh air into her lungs. It was intoxicating. So pure, with an edge of fresh cold and a hint of sunlight; with mossy scent of grass and leaves and a high note of ancient fir trees and the ghosts of millions of bluebells and daffodils, taking their turns, year after year.”
“Water is a living thing. It moves, it flows; it cannot be contained. Water is stronger than anything in its way. It can wear down mountains, bring down houses, turn everything to slush and mush. Water always gets its way.”
I think the reason why I liked this book a lot is because I do believe that nature has a healing effect on you. I used to take every summer off and leave the city when I was younger – getting to my grandparents summerhouse, reading in the hammock the whole day through particularly hot days or gardening when the weather got cooler and biking in the evening to dip myself into the local lake, rolling along the fields while my younger cousin was chattering beside me – either sitting on the backseat of my bike or on his own bike when he got older. I miss those days and that’s for some reason the feeling that the book gave. So if you are looking for some warm read, this one would definitely be a good pick.