I read Jackie Fraser’s The Bookshop of Second Chances last year when it was out in ebook. This week sees the publication of the paperback version so I’m happy to be sharing my review of the book again ahead of that. If you enjoy books featuring bookshops, then this is for you.
Imagine inheriting a house in the country from an elderly relative and at just exactly the perfect time. That’s what happens to Thea, the main character of The Bookshop of Second Chances. Not only has she recently been made redundant but she has discovered that her husband has been cheating on her with one of her friends. So news of the inheritance couldn’t have come at a better time, with the house giving her a place to escape to while she gathers her thoughts and decides what to do. She is somewhat overwhelmed to discover that she has also been left her great uncle’s large collection of books, some of which are extremely valuable. When she approaches bookshop owner Edward to value them, little does she know the opportunities this is going to offer her.
I LOVE a book set in a bookshop! I particularly enjoyed the Dumfries and Galloway setting of this book. It’s not an area I know all that well but I have spent a few holidays there and mention of the various towns and villages brought back memories. I know the town of Baldochrie and bookshop where Thea lived and worked isn’t actually Wigtown, but it certainly put me in mind of Scotland’s book town. And curmudgeonly bookshop owner, Edward, did make me think of one bookshop owner there in particular who is renowned for being somewhat grumpy! I certainly visualised that shop in my head when reading about the antiquarian bookshop.
I particularly liked that Thea was an character in her 40s, someone who had life experience behind her and had a spark about her. She wasn’t some ditzy young thing bowled over by love but took a more measured approach to relationships. This made the slow burn friendship and romance which developed through the book all the more enjoyable to read about and gave it a very realistic feel. I also enjoyed the way the rather complicated relationship between brothers Edward and Charles was explored. You might think you know how this story will progress, that you can predict the ending but trust me, the author throws in plenty of shocks and surprises to take you aback!
The Bookshop of Second Chances is a lovely book and just the kind of uplifting read I enjoy. It’s Jackie Fraser’s debut novel and I’m definitely be looking forward to reading more from her. She has filled her book with humour, romance and joy and I really enjoyed it.
My thanks to Laurie at Simon and Schuster for my review copy of this book. It is available now as an ebook and will be published in paperback on 2nd September. You’ll find buying options for various retailers here: The Bookshop of Second Chances
From the back of the book
Set in a charming little Scottish town, The Bookshop of Second Chances is the most uplifting story you’ll read this Winter, by a hugely talented debut author.
Thea’s having a bad month. Not only has she been made redundant, she’s also discovered her husband of nearly twenty years is sleeping with one of her friends. And he’s not sorry – he’s leaving.
Bewildered and lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But, when she learns the great-uncle she barely knew has died and left her his huge collection of second-hand books and a house in the Scottish Lowlands, she seems to have been offered a second chance.
Running away to a little town where no one knows her seems like exactly what Thea needs. But when she meets the aristocratic Maltravers brothers – grumpy bookshop owner Edward and his estranged brother Charles, Lord Hollinshaw – her new life quickly becomes just as complicated as the life she was running from…
An enchanting story of Scottish lords, second-hand books, new beginnings and second chances perfect for fans of Cressida McLaughlin, Veronica Henry, Rachel Lucas and Jenny Colgan.
About the author
Jackie Fraser is a freelance editor and writer. She’s worked for AA Publishing, Watkins, the Good Food Guide, and various self-published writers of fiction, travel and food guides, recipe books and self-help books since 2012. Prior to that, she worked as an editor of food and accommodation guides for the AA, including the B&B Guide, Restaurant Guide, and Pub Guide for nearly twenty years, eventually running the Lifestyle Guides department.
She’s interested in all kind of things, particularly history, (and prehistory) art, food, popular culture and music. She reads a lot, (no, really) in multiple genres, and is fascinated by the Bronze Age. She likes vintage clothes, antique fairs, and photography. She used to be a bit of a goth. She likes cats.