Publication Date: 17 November 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
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.
After being made redundant and then discovering her husband’s infidelity, Thea is feeling a bit out of sorts. A timely inheritance from an elderly uncle therefore proves very timely. She up-sticks and heads for the Scottish border. The plan is to take time to escape her shambolic life and to decide what to do next.
The little town of Baldochrie and its friendly inhabitants prove to be the perfect antidote for Thea and should give her the peace and tranquility she needs to gather her thoughts. Although, having met her neighbour, the charming Charles Maltravers (aka Lord Hollinshaw) and his grumpy brother Edward, life becomes more complicated than Thea anticipated.
I loved the village setting for this story. Having visited Scotland a couple of years ago, driving as far as Oban, I was reminded of the various small towns and villages that we drove through. A ruggedly beautiful part of the world. I imagined Lord Charles living in a grand house similar to that in Monarch of the Glen – which I absolutely adored when I was a youngster!
Thea is a great character. She’s sharp, sensible and very engaging. Having reached the ripe old age of 44, it’s refreshing to read a romance novel with a slightly older protagonist. I think this brings a different perspective to the potential for romance. Thea has already experienced the heartbreak and difficulty that comes with the end of a marriage and, as such, she’s looking for friendship rather than love, making it perhaps more realistic that a ‘swept off her feet’ kind of fairy-tale romance.
I found Edward slightly more difficult to warm to. His ‘strops’ did make me want to give him a stern talking to at times! However, I did find that I was intrigued by the background to his behaviour and I enjoyed the way the author explored the dynamics in his relationships with both Thea and Charles.
The story is told with a steady pace that draws the reader in. Having decided from the outset that I knew how the story would end, it proved less predictable than I had anticipated, with the author throwing in a few surprises that kept me on my toes.
The Bookshop of Second Chances is funny, uplifting and has a lovely cosy feel to it. It is the perfect book to curl up with on a wintery afternoon, with a hot chocolate of course! A great debut from author, Jackie Fraser.
Thanks to Sara-Jade at Simon and Schuster for providing me with an advanced copy of the book for review.
Jackie Fraser is a freelance editor and writer. She’s worked for AA Publishing, Watkins, the Good Food Guide, and various self-published writers of fiction, travel and food guides, recipe books and self-help books since 2012. Prior to that, she worked as an editor of food and accommodation guides for the AA, including the B&B Guide, Restaurant Guide, and Pub Guide for nearly twenty years, eventually running the Lifestyle Guides department.
She’s interested in all kind of things, particularly history, (and prehistory) art, food, popular culture and music. She reads a lot, (no, really) in multiple genres, and is fascinated by the Bronze Age. She likes vintage clothes, antique fairs, and photography. She used to be a bit of a goth. She likes cats.