The Christmas Bookshop
By Jenny Colgan
(310 pages, fiction, 2021)
Carmen, a young woman in Scotland, is laid off from her department store job. She isn’t finding another job on her own, so her mother comes up with a plan. Carmen can help her “perfect” sister Sofia. Sofia is a successful lawyer, married, with three children and one on the way. Sofia has a client who will lose his bookshop if he doesn’t make money before Christmas. And so Carmen is drafted to help. Carmen is not a reader, but she is good at retail. And Sofia hopes that Carmen can help her with the children sometimes. Sofia’s nanny Skylar is needing more and more time for school and self-care.
Carmen is very dubious about the whole arrangement. The children aren’t sure about Carmen, either. Carmen is annoyed that she has to sleep in a room in the basement instead of in the guest room. And then there’s eccentric Mr. McCredie who owns the bookshop but doesn’t seem to want to sell any books. A fabulously wealthy and attractive author and a gentle scholar appear as love interests for Carmen. And did I mention that the story takes place in Edinburgh at Christmastime? And it is funny! I wanted a light, funny book. For example – Carmen sees in the children at breakfast time soon after she arrives and notices that young Phoebe is looking bleary-eyed. “Her hair stuck straight out and she wore a menacing expression that in someone slightly older would have inspired Carmen to bring her a coffee.” I really enjoyed Carmen, the main character and how she stumbles along, trying to find her way in her new job, living in a new city with her sister’s family.
If you need a funny book with great characters, I recommend Jenny Colgan. Her books are light-hearted, but there can be some serious subjects in them, too. The Christmas Bookshop was just what I wanted to read right now.
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