Friday 20 November 2020

The Bookshop of Second Chances - Jackie Fraser

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.

What did I think?

Novels set in bookshops are like catnip to booklovers so I just had to read Jackie Fraser's debut: The Bookshop of Second Chances.  I think it's very hard to place The Bookshop of Second Chances into just one genre as it is something so different that it feels like romance for realists and chicklit for older chicks.  

Thea is 44 years old, so she's just a wee bit younger than me, and it's so refreshing to read a novel with a middle aged lead character.  Although we still have our insecurities, I think the older you get, the less you care about what people think of you and I love that Thea is often very forthright.  Thea has nothing left to lose after losing her job, her husband and her home in close succession, so when her Great Uncle dies and she inherits his cottage in Scotland she doesn't think twice about upping sticks to live north of the border.

The little town of Baldochrie is just what Thea needs to lick her wounds and find herself again.  Her neighbour is Lord Charles Mactravers and Charles' brother Edward owns the local bookshop.  I wished I could have visited Edward's bookshop and Jackie Fraser granted that wish by transporting me there through her beautifully descriptive words.  A true booklover, Edward keeps his shop quite dark to protect the books and it reminded me a little of Black Books (from the TV show of the same name), only a lot neater.

As potential suitors for Thea were laid out before the reader, I was reminded of Pride and Prejudice.  As she's not looking for a man, Thea is very Lizzie Bennet when fending off unwelcome advances with her forthrightness and Edward is SO Mr Darcy: brooding, grumpy and unfriendly.  I don't know whether or not it was intended, but I think Jackie Fraser's debut novel is a wonderful retelling of Pride and Prejudice for the 21st century.  I've probably made Jackie Fraser's day by comparing her to Jane Austen!

Wonderfully uplifting, The Bookshop of Second Chances is a booklover's dream and a fabulous debut from Jackie Fraser.  It is so beautifully written with a sprinkling of humour throughout and it will appeal to so many readers, leaving a smile on the face of everyone who reads it.  

Thank you to TeamBATC for sending me an early copy to read and review; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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