Title: The Little Shop of Happy Ever After
Author: Jenny Colgan
Genre: Fiction, Romance, New Beginnings
Source: Charity Shop
My favourite quote; ‘Because life is like that, isn’t it? If you thought of all the tiny things that divert your path one way or another, some good, some bad, you’d never do anything ever again. And some people don’t. Some people go through life not really deciding to do much, not wanting to, always too fearful of the consequences to try something new. Of course, that in itself is also a decision. You’ll get somewhere whether you put any effort into it or not. But doing something new is so hard. And a few things can help.’
The first thing you’ll want to do after reading this book, is buy a train ticket to Scotland.
I have to say, if I wasn’t off to Mexico on my honeymoon next week, I would be convincing my new husband to pack a bag for a long weekend in trying to find the location that inspired Jenny Colgan to write about the little village of ‘Kirrinfief’.
I absolutely fell in love with the place just through the pages of a book. Yeah yeah I know it’s a fictional romance novel and is an entirely made up place with made up scenery, you can’t help but put yourself in this setting full of peace, beauty and longing. You can’t help but want to pack up your life and start over in a cosy little village where you feel like you belong.
This is a lovely story that begins with a 29 year old librarian, Nina, who has lived her life in and around books in Birmingham. When she discovers that her library is due to close, she can’t help but feel lost with no way forward, that is, until she thinks of a silly dream of starting her own little business of selling orphaned books out of a van. Her very own mobile library. The van that fits that description perfectly, resides in a small little village in Scotland, Kirrinfief. Without any thought, she decides to catch the next bus up to Scotland to find the van that will start her new life, little does she expect that it really is the beginning of something much bigger.
“There was a universe inside every human being every bit as big as the universe outside them. Books were the best way Nina knew – apart from, sometimes, music – to breach the barrier, to connect the internal universe with the external, the words acting merely as a conduit between the two worlds.”
Nina immediately falls in love with Scotland and she soon finds herself packing up all of her beloved books and renting a gorgeous little barn conversion in the Scottish village, with only her dream to make sure the right book is found for the right person keeping her intact. She soon discovers how quickly the community flock her spontaneous ‘Little Shop of Happy Ever After’ book van and how just how easily she is accepted into the community. The only person that doesn’t make her feel particularly welcome is her grouchy miserable landlord, Lennox, who seems to make it his mission to make her uncomfortable in her new and exciting environment.
This book is filled with an irresistible fresh start that we all sometimes crave. The pull of hope, a place you truly belong, with a side of friendship, passion, romance and a little bit of heartbreak. A wonderful mix of emotions that is bound to pull any book lover in. It has a certain peaceful pace to the writing itself, it always allows you as the reader to stop and simply enjoy the atmosphere of the village and it’s beautiful countryside alongside of Nina’s story. It’s a lovely well written story which you’ll want to read all over again.
‘When she saw the tree, she stopped and gasped. It was completely covered in books, all tied to the branches with shoelaces, cascading down like low-hanging fruit. It was strange and oddly beautiful, a tree full of books on a deep blue summer’s night, in the back end of absolutely nowhere at all.’
This book has definitely made my favourites shelf, I would recommend it to anyone that is looking for a lovely easy read.
Given a back-room computer job when the beloved Birmingham library she works in turns into a downsized retail complex, Nina misses her old role terribly – dealing with people, greeting her regulars, making sure everyone gets the right books for their needs. Then a new business nobody else wants catches her eye: owning a tiny little bookshop bus up in the Scottish highlands. No computers. Shortages. Out all hours in the freezing cold; driving with a tiny stock of books… not to mention how the little community is going to take to her, particularly when she stalls the bus on a level crossing…