The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts
by Annie Darling
Publishing Date: 19th May 2016
Source: Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 416
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Contemporary, Romance
Where happy ever after is only a page away…
A delightful new series set in a quaint old bookshop, for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan
Once upon a time in a crumbling London bookshop, Posy Morland spent her life lost in the pages of her favourite romantic novels.
So when Bookend’s eccentric owner, Lavinia, dies and leaves the shop to Posy, she must put down her books and join the real world. Because Posy hasn’t just inherited an ailing business, but also the unwelcome attentions of Lavinia’s grandson, Sebastian, AKA The Rudest Man In London™.
Posy has a cunning plan and six months to transform Bookends into the bookshop of her dreams – if only Sebastian would leave her alone to get on with it. As Posy and her friends fight to save their beloved bookshop, Posy’s drawn into a battle of wills with Sebastian, about whom she’s started to have some rather feverish fantasies…
Like her favourite romantic heroines, will she get her happy ever after too?
Guys, really. I don’t remember when I adored a book so much – „The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts” is one of the most gorgeous, sweet, charming stories EVAH. Though the beginning of it was not so promising, I must say it – I had a feeling it drags on too much and that actually nothing is happening there, and you know, I’ve already started to panic and wonder what’s going on? I had such good feeling about this book, and I wanted to love it so much and Oh. My. Word. The cover. THE COVER. It is gorgeous! It is more than gorgeous and I love it with my whole heart and if I saw such a book shop somewhere on the street I’d go there and beg them to either give me a job or let me live there, and yet I had some problems to get into it. But. Guys. Those were only some difficult beginnings and soon, very soon, I found this book unputdownable.
First of all, it is a perfect book for such book – freaks like yours truly. It is full of books, mentions of books and authors and bookish things and it was lovely. Secondly, the characters. Thirdly, the humour. The humour – the bloody humour! Just my kind of humour, full of sarcasm, having distance from oneself and I was snorting with laughter almost all the way through it. Fourthly, the brilliant way the plot mixes some more serious issues with light – heartedness. Yes, it reminded me a little of Bridget Jones, but there is nothing wrong with this as I think I am the biggest Bridget’s fan in the world. The way Posy was, so helpless when it came to men, so willing to crying, and especially the one scene with Sebastian and Piers when they were fighting – I could so see Mark and Daniel and hear „It’s Raining Men” in the background. And I loved it!
But let’s get back to the second point. Characters. Oh Jesus, how brilliant the characters were. First of all, welcome Posy, who loves books above all, especially romances, and after inheriting the bookshop Bookends and getting a job of bringing it back to life she decides that romance is the future of the shop (though Sebastian, „the rudest man in London” who was ordered by his grandmother to keep an eye on Posy and to help her in a way that she doesn’t know he helps her, thinks that romance is meeeeh and wants to re – organize the shop into selling only crime. Who is going to win this duel?) To be honest, Posy has never thought about being Bookends’ owner – she loves book but being her own, and her colleagues, boss… well… it’s not her thing. But what must be done, must be done, right? So yes, Posy loves books above all and I love people who love books so no wonder that I immediately fell for Posy, right. But it was not only her love of books that made me like her so much. She was just so believable in all what she did and the way she acted, she had her ups and downs, she had better and worse days, she doubted in herself and wasn’t sure if she’s cut to be the owner of Bookends, she was not a long – legged size 0 sex – bomb, she was prone to accident and she more than often found herself in embarrassing situations and life was not a bed of roses for her, and this all, plus her inner warmth, sense of humour, loyalty made her so realistic and normal and I think you just can’t not like Posy.
But now enter Sebastian, „the rudest man” in London, and oh my word, he really took the rudeness to another level! He was telling the things just like he saw them, no matter if it was going to hurt the recipient. He was obsessed with his suits and he didn’t react to the word „no”, which I personally find not such a bad feature, I’d also love to be able to resist the word „no” He, in contrast to Posy, was not having his head in the clouds but was a having his feet on the ground entrepreneur and he had a little different to Posy’s idea what to do with Bookends, and while Posy wanted to paint the shop pink and specialise in romance, he saw it in red and black, selling crime only. But you know what, even with his rudeness, that I, by the way, found not irritating only entertaining (maybe because it was not directed to me personally, haha) and I loved the scenes with Sebastian – they were so full of sarcasm and you needed to take them with a pinch of salt, but it was just my kind of humour and I’d personally love to pat him on, and cry softly into, the lapel of his jacket.
At the first sight Posy and Sebastian were like chalk and cheese, full of contrasts, but you know what they say, right? That opposites attract, and these two were like two peas in a pod, and they complemented each other brilliantly. I adored the banter between them, I adored Posy`s „Fine. Whatever” and its consequences and there is one more aspect that I loved this book so much, and it is Posy’s historical novel that she’s writing. I’m not going to tell anymore but guys, you will understand me when you read this book. I WOULD LOVE to read „Ravished by the Rake” as a novel, absolutely, haha. This was a very unusual romance, I’d say, especially at the end, and I loved the way it was written.
There were of course some other characters, like Posy’s younger brother Sam or her colleagues from the book shop, or people that Sebastian brought with him, and oh my word, they were all brilliant. Just brilliant. Full of warmth, each of them with a very distinctive voice and their own personalities, and they added tons to this story. Tons of warmth, action and fun. All of them vivid and larger than life, even if they were present only in few scenes, but I grow to love all of them.
The plot is a brilliant mix of fun with some more serious issues and the author has wonderfully balanced those things. The way Posy was still grieving over the death of her parents was realistic and tugged at the right heart – strings, and it was the same with the way she tried to cope with the fact that suddenly she was the owner of the Bookends, responsible now not only for her younger brother but also for her colleagues. Then we have humour. Annie Darling has one of the finest sense of humour and I so GOT all her jokes, the irony, the sarcasm and I begged for more. Absolutely, totally my kind of humour, thank you Annie!
„The Little Bookshop of Happy Ever After” is an uplifting, funny story with fantastic, larger than life characters that I was rooting for and wanted to be a part of their gang. My heart went to Posy so many times, and when she cried because she missed her parents I wanted to comfort her. Life didn’t spoil her bur she was still so good and she saw only good in other people. Yes, there were moments that she was too tearful and too naive but this all was a part of her and made her so exceptional and likeable. She must have dealt with so many things in her short life but she never lost faith and went for what she believed is right.
It is a lovely story to escape from the world and when I got into it after my initial problems, I didn’t want to leave the characters and the bookshop for a single moment. You know this feeling, when the book is so good that you want to race through the pages and see how it’s going to end but on the other hand you want it to go on for ever – this is this kind of a book. It’s humorous and hilarious but also realistic and relatable and even though there is going to be Happy Ever After, the author complicates characters’ way to it. Annie Darling’s writing style is fun, warm and I had a feeling it’s embracing me in a hug – she has incredible way with the words and can describe the most normal situation in a hilarious, entertaining way, but she can also made you shed a tear or two. If you don’t believe in Happy Ever After, after reading this book you’ll start to believe in it, such convincing the author is. I highly, highly recommend this novel to all, not only book – lovers. Loved it!