Sunday, 17 July 2016

A Great Summer Scottish Read - The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan

I've just been lucky enough to visit Scotland for the very first time, and a friend, knowing how much I love to read a book set in the country I'm visiting, recommended The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan, and I really enjoyed it!
This photo is of Loch Ard in The Trossachs, but the story is actually set further north which I think maybe the destination for another trip for me over the Border!
It's a wonderful, magical tale of Nina who's made redundant from her safe job in a Birmingham library, and ends up, after a team-building exercise she and her colleague, Griffin, are sent on, deciding that the thing she really wants to do is buy a van and open a travelling bookshop.
However, the only van she can afford with her redundancy money is in Kirrinfief in the Highlands of Scotland! Her housemate and good friend, Surinder, thinks she is mad, but can't wait for Nina to take away all the unwanted library books she's been hoarding.
Having bought the van, she tries to drive back to Birmingham to pick up her stock of books, but ends up getting stuck on the rails in front of an approaching goods train. This results in a tender sweet romance with Marek, one of the drivers.
Nina finds a restored barn to live in, owned by a grumpy farmer, called Lennox. His soon-to-be ex-wife has done it up, but he only charges Nina a low rent because he can't stand the sight of it. However, when Nina helps him to deliver twin lambs, she discovers his kinder side, and maybe begins to see their relationship in a different light.
The whole story is played out in the clean air and fresh green Scottish hillsides with the sea twinkling in the distance and entertaining characters. It's magical, too, because Nina builds ups her business by recommending the perfect books for her customers in the way that Vivienne does in Chocolat by Joanne Harris, which helps them come to terms with their problems.
I can certainly recommend this summer read!

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