Looking through my past posts, I realized it has been over a year since I’ve published a Book Notes review! Since I just finished reading a heartwarming novel that I really enjoyed, there’s no time like the present to offer up a new one!
The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay is a women’s fiction novel that I was fortunate enough to get from Net Galley last spring… and somehow I hadn’t read it until now! Here’s a description:
Books. Love. Friendship. Second chances. All can be found at the Printed Letter Bookshop in the small, charming town of Winsome.
One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.
While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls.
When Madeline’s professional life falls apart, and a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. Has she been too quick to dismiss her aunt’s beloved shop? And even if she has, the women’s best combined efforts may be too little, too late.
This was a very enjoyable story for me. As we followed the women through each of their struggles and changes, it was easy to see myself and people I knew in each of them. Having a teenager at home and facing an approaching empty nest and all the changes that brings to life, I found myself identifying with Claire a great deal, though I found the other characters relatable as well.
Reay gave us well written characters and a charming setting. The right balance was struck between wrapping things up at the end of the story, and still leaving a few threads of possibility open to be tugged.
The book is somewhat faith based from a Christian perspective, but it’s not heavy handed. I enjoyed the way faith and prayer were lightly woven in, particularly in one spot where a character has something of a spiritual awakening.
I’m always easily drawn into books about books, and this one was no exception. The Printed Letter Bookshop was a place that you could easily envision yourself getting lost in for an afternoon. Titles and lists of other books are scattered through the text like little Easter eggs, too, so it’s fun to make mental notes of a future read or remember one that you’ve enjoyed in the past.
Overall, this was heartwarming and relatable. As I said, I have my Net Galley copy but I think I’ll buy a paperback as well… this is one book that I could see myself re-reading in future years. If you enjoy a story about books, about women’s friendships, or about overcoming life’s valleys and reinventing yourself, this one’s for you!
The Printed Letter Bookshop
Also, if you read this, take note: Katherine Reay’s newest novel, Of Literature and Lattes, releases later this month and returns us to the community of Winsome! I can’t wait for this title to follow up with these characters and meet new ones. You can pre-order it now:
Of Literature and Lattes
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My thanks to Net Galley and Thomas Nelson for a complimentary digital review copy of this title. All opinions are my own.
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