I ended up buying some paperbacks a few weeks ago and I really need to get that pile down to a manageable and not crazy book hoarder level. This was a solid Christmas read. It definitely put me in the mood for winter (please don’t throw stuff at me right now). I loved the characters of Carmen and Sofia and also wanted to shake both at times. This honestly is a story of sisters with romance taking a backseat. If you were hoping for some hot and heavy romance scenes you are not going to get that here. But this book definitely has me wanting to re-read some of my favorite Christmas books right now. The only reason why I gave this 4 stars is that the book drags at times. And it does one of the things I hate most in romance books, two people just don’t talk to each other so it becomes assumptionville for way too long.
“The Christmas Bookshop” is part of Colgan’s ‘bookshop” series. She won’t call it a series, but honestly it is. I get that every book can be read as a standalone. But it doesn’t make any sense to do that since prior characters show up and they now have a child, so reading this book now would just be confusing. Ahem. Let me get off of my soap box now.
This book follows Carmen who is left jobless after the department store she has worked at for years closes. She moves back in with her parents and feels adrift and upset. Mostly because compared to her sister Sofia, she doesn’t feel like she is doing worthwhile things. When the two women’s mother suggest that Carmen move in with Sofia to help with the 3 kids as well as work at a local bookshop, Carmen initially bristles. But when she realizes her parents are united on this, she goes, and slowly but surely starts to get to really know her nieces and nephew as well as her sister.
I do love books that don’t have you love the main protagonist the whole way through. Though told in the third person, Carmen is the character we follow the most through this book. She’s sulky and jealous of her sister’s fabulous life. And honestly doesn’t want to dwell too much on the fact she’s been a crap sister and aunt for way too long. I loved her initially realizing that the bookshop would be too much. But she sticks with things and makes inroads there and with her family as well. I loved that things didn’t just get wrapped up in two weeks. The book takes place over a 2 month period so you get to see the many steps forward/backwards she takes.
I did like Sofia too and felt for her. She feels like she has to be perfect and can’t complain. She says repeatedly that she doesn’t want to ask for help, but you start to see her do so especially since she’s pregnant with her fourth child and her husband is constantly traveling.
The love triangle (yes there’s one) doesn’t come to much in my opinion. I rolled my eyes at it, but the book kind of darts around and doesn’t dwell too much on it and besides the fact we already know who we’re rooting for an why. One good thing about doing third person point of view in books is you get everyone’s comments/thoughts so you know right away why one person is not going to be the great romance of Carmen’s life.
The love of books and Christmas comes through in this one. I loved all of the characters we get to see in this one. Well except for Skye and Blair. But even that worked with where the book was going.
The book is set mostly in Edinburgh, Scotland. Colgan manages to make it sound even more magical over the winter months.
The ending was a nice surprise and I smiled at how Colgan chose to end things.