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Last week, I enjoyed Mary Berry’s Ultimate Christmas TV special. Tina continued through the Inspector Tom Reynolds series with the third book, Sleeping Beauties. The setting moved from Dublin to “the lovely Wicklow mountains and Glendalough area” — a place where Tina previously visited.
Book: The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan
Publication date: 2021
Source: E-book borrowed from the library
Summary: Carmen lost her job in a small Scottish town where there are no jobs. Her sister, the lawyer, has a client who is about to lose his business, the bookstore where he built a collection of books that he loves. In The Christmas Bookshop, Carmen needs to figure out how to make the business profitable or the owner will lose everything.
Thoughts: I loved the characters in this book — they are so charming in their imperfections. Carmen is barely coping with life at the beginning and isn’t coping at all when the department store where she worked shuts its doors. In contrast, her sister is good at everything (or at least it looks that way to Carmen), boasting the perfect job, perfect husband, and three perfect children with a fourth on the way. The bookshop owner is a wonderfully quirky man who loves books but not so much selling books. Plus, a huge cast of interesting shop owners and customers among the residents and tourists of Edinburgh.
Edinburgh is a character in The Christmas Bookshop, all decked out in its Christmas finery. I’ve never been there, but it was easy to imagine climbing ancient steps to reach old buildings.
The bookshop of the title is on Victoria Street, one of the prettiest streets in the city and said to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books. Hidden Scotland has a short article with photos of Victoria Street.
A couple of scenes take place at Edinburgh’s Christmas — it looks to be a combination of a European Christmas Market and a State Fair Midway. Another scene happens at the Camera Obscura, which has history, science, dazzle for kids of all ages, and a splendid view of the city.
Appeal: This year, I learned the term Uplit — fiction that explores relationships (not just romantic ones), community, compassion, encouragement, and other uplifting aspects of life. Uplit books aren’t structured like romances, although there may be romance in them, but they do carry the promise of a happy ending. A good happy ending, of course, is earned by putting the characters through all manner of bad times before they find their path to redemption. I think The Christmas Bookshop fits the category of Uplit and is particularly fun to read in the Christmas season.
Have you read this book? What did you think?