I bought this book solely because I won volume two on NetGalley, not realising it was the second book in a series. I really hate reading series out of order (do you, too?) so I picked up a second-hand copy to read first. Having now started the e-book of the second installment, I’m really glad I did that, as you would need to read the first one first to get the full enjoyment. In this and the next book to be reviewed tomorrow I have veered off the #20BooksOfSummer track but fear not, I’m back on track now and have read my next one and started another!

Annie Darling – “The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts”

(18 July 2017)

I wasn’t expecting a huge amount from this book – a gentle story with some books and amusement and a lot of romance, but it was actually absolutely enchanting, page-turning, intelligent and a great read.

Posy inherits the bookshop she works in and the flat she lives in with her younger brother, Sam, whose guardian she now is, but on the condition that she keeps it running profitably. She has a great idea on how to do this, and to revive its flagging fortunes, helped by her former colleagues, now employees (this shift is nicely and believably done), uber-introvert and Very Shy Person Verity, slightly odd postgrad student Tom, Nina with her 50s pin-up style and terrible taste in men, and Little Sophie. But she’s overshadowed by old sparring partner, Sebastian, grandson of the original owner and the official Rudest Man in London.

Will Posy succeed in remodelling the shop in time for the grand opening and before the money runs out? There’s a lovely lot of detail on how they redo the shop and its attendant tea rooms, she knows her Heyers and Thirkells, Austen and Brontes, and there’s a great cast of supporting characters, from a villainous ex-Eton chap to Sam’s rather marvellous friend Pants. Very readable indeed and brought a tear to my eye on occasion – this deserves a wider audience than perhaps the cover and marketing would suggest.

Read my review of the sequel here.