I went on vacation to Chincoteague—you know the Virginia island famous for the wild ponies like Misty of Chincoteague—and ended up taking a trip to Scotland.
That’s thanks to Jenny Colgan and her beautiful THE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER, the story of a laid-off librarian who looks for a way to belong in the Scottish Highlands.
I fell in love with this book on several levels.
First, who wouldn’t love the main character, Nina, a little mouse of a woman who decides at the age of 29 she needs to get a life. Books, up to now, have been where she lives.
When she buys a van with the idea she’ll have a book truck, she has to go to a small village far from her familiar Birmingham (England, not Alabama) where she feels happy for the first time in ages. The people there—without a bookshop or a library—are starving for books.
I also fell in love with Nina’s love of books. I found myself nodding when she mentioned a book that I too love and I wanted to write down the names of all the books she recommends to her customers. She had terrific taste in books. She likes everything but has a special love for really good children’s books and classic stories.
And I fell in love with her depiction of Scotland. I’ll admit to falling in love with Scotland when I watched Outlander, which I’m now revisiting as I read Diana Gabaldon’s book. I always read three books at a time—doesn’t everybody? But never did I see a sky so blue, a field so green, lambs so adorable as in these descriptions. The people there are richly portrayed: the grubby little boy, the industrious girl with a secret, the soulful Marek, the taciturn farmer, the boyish Hugh and Edwin who are always on their barstools sipping a pint of 80 Shilling.
Really, I fell in love with THE BOOKSHOP from the dedication—an amusing discussion of the best place to read. I laughed out loud as I read on a screened-in porch with a cool breeze dissipating the humid summer air.
If I have any complaint about the book is that it was too short. And, as a writer, I think that is one of the best compliments I can offer.