The Verdict: 5/5
Who Should Read: Anyone looking for a light, fluffy, feel-good read
Emilia has just lost her father, Julius, leaving her to decide what to do with his bookshop in the small town of Peasebrook. The shop is beloved by the town, and she has her own fond memories growing up there as a child. She determines early on that she wants to keep it open in his memory.
Unfortunately, Emilia learns over time that the shop was not doing well. Her father, with his kind heart and generous spirit, was not running the business well because making money was never his motivation for running the shop. A local businessman is breathing down Emilia’s neck for her to sell the shop so he can use it to build condos.
The bookshop, however, is a point of intersection for many people in the town. The stories and lives of the residents of Peasebrook are woven in throughout the book, all of them connecting back to the bookshop.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry. Most of my recent reads have been in the thriller/mystery realm, meaning I’ve been down the rabbit hole of dark subjects. I was worried that switching gears to something so light was going to be a shock to my system and taint my experience with the book.
Boy, I could not have been more wrong.
How to Find Love in a Bookshop is exactly what I needed. Yes, it was an uplifting read that gave me hope and all the warm-and-fuzzies. But more than that, it was such a wonderful, eloquent reminder of the magic of reading.
I feel like all of us devoted readers have love affairs with bookshops. To me, stepping into a bookshop is like walking into a warm hug. Usually quiet and cozy, they welcome you in and make you feel at home. You don’t feel rushed. You can browse for hours, interacting with fellow readers and the staff, who are always ready to offer a recommendation. Unfortunately, ordering books from Amazon, while convenient and expedient, doesn’t give that same vibe.
One thing that I think is important to note about this book is something specific to me. We all approach books differently, our personal experiences informing how we react to every book we read.
I do believe that one of the reasons that HTFLIAB touched me so much is because I lost my own father two years ago, and I deeply connected with the thoughts and emotions that Emilia has throughout the book. I understand how it’s the small, random moments that can make you miss a person the most. I remember feeling so grateful for and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for my dad displayed in the days after his death, as she did.
I’m by no means implying that this novel won’t resonate or affect you if you don’t have this specific experience. However, the loss of my father made this book all the more poignant and impactful for me.
Another major thing I loved was all the subplots and smaller storylines that were incorporated into the book. These residents of Peasebook are all quite lovable, but they all are struggling in their own ways. They are connected through the bookshop, though, and their stories tangle together so beautifully, albeit a bit predictably. I’ll say this right now: If you prefer there to be unexpected twists and turns, you’re not going to get that from HTFLIAB.
This book is the old favorite that you pick up when you’re feeling blue or need a dose of love and happiness. For example, the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” is my pick-me-up movie. I’ll watch it any time of year when I need to be uplifted and reminded of what’s important in life. I see myself doing that with this book, too. It’s going to be one that I turn to for comfort and snuggles (yes, book snuggles are a real thing).
My feelings are best summed up in a quote from one of the characters, Thomasina: “You know, some books you lend or lose or give to a charity shop, but these are books for life.”
Have you read a book that profoundly touched you recently? Please feel free to share in the comments.