Many thanks to BookSparks for my copy of The Printed Letter Bookshop for the Read Around Town Challenge and Netgalley for my e-galley.
What a cozy read this was! It was the perfect book to take with me on vacation, allowing me to easily imagine the quaint bookshop this story features. I wish I could take an evening stroll to it and chat with Madeline, Janet, and Claire. Any bibliophile would be hard pressed not to enjoy this literary-themed story!
One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.
While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline’s professional life takes an unexpected turn, and when a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. She begins to envision a new path for herself and for her aunt’s beloved shop—provided the women’s best combined efforts are not too little, too late.
The Printed Letter Bookshop is a captivating story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings, and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.
I was a huge fan of the differing ages of the book’s main characters. It was a breath of fresh air to read about characters facing the varying challenges each age a woman’s life brings and how the characters coped, all while remaining friends and finding common ground. I appreciated how the characters were able to come together despite their differences and the obstacles that came with them. For me, the standout theme of this novel was impacted by those friendships and the forgiveness that came in the end. I also enjoyed the very subtle influence of a Christian worldview in the characters’ actions. In fact, I would love to read more books like this one. It didn’t have the normal cheesiness of Christian fiction and is something that would certainly appeal to a secular audience as well.
My only hangups with this novel related to the dialogue. I don’t think every conversation was clear cut, and sometimes with the changing perspectives, it was tough to figure out who was speaking and what the characters were talking about. It seems as if I had a missed important parts of the conversation by jumping into the middle of a discussion, rather than being a participant in the story myself. This factor made it a much slower read than I expected or hoped for, even making the story tedious through certain sections.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed the characters, the growth they showed, and the different stages of life at play, all while taking place in a homey setting. The added romantic tension in Madeline’s life made reading about her all the more enjoyable. I would definitely read more of Katherine Reay’s work in the future!
Rating: 3 stars