Aria’s Travelling Book Shop by Rebecca Raisin
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publishing Date: 8th April 2020
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 384
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
From the bestselling author of Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop comes another uplifting romance.
This summer will change everything!
Aria Summers knows what she wants.
A life on the road with best friend Rosie and her beloved camper-van-cum-book-shop, and definitely, definitely, no romance.
But when Aria finds herself falling – after one too many glasses of wine, from a karaoke stage – into the arms of Jonathan, a part of her comes back to life for the first time in years.
Since her beloved husband died Aria has sworn off love, unless it’s the kind you can find in the pages of a book. One love of her life is quite enough.
And so Aria tries to forget Jonathan and sets off for a summer to remember in France. But could this trip change Aria’s life forever…?
A heartwarming, uplifting and hilarious novel of friendship, love and adventure! Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Holly Martin.
Aria is a grieving widow who has left everything behind and devoted herself to a nomad life, since three years travelling around in her van full of books. Because Aria loves books – this is the only thing that she dares to love right now – after the unexpected death of her husband there is still no place in her heart for another relationship, and she’s afraid to lose someone she loves so much again.
Together with other nomads like her, among them her best friend Rosie, they travel around the country and above, going to various types of festivals where they sell their wares – in Aria’s case it’s books. This time they travel through France, participating in festivals and enjoying the views. However, there is one person that pops up everywhere they are – or, at least, this is what Aria thinks. Can this be a coincidence? Will Aria let her guilt and grief and find the courage a new step in her life?
It was a very interesting idea with van lifers, I truly wasn’t aware that something like this exist – or maybe that it does exist but not to such extent, it seems really well organised. Or it doesn’t exist and is only fiction? Whatever, it was something different, that I really enjoyed. Maybe not for me but if it makes others happy then why not?
The characters are full of flaws, keeping secrets, making mistakes but I missed more depth to them. They seem a bit one – dimensional and the actions and interaction between them are a bit woody and forced.
Aria, instead of facing reality, escaped into the world of books, and I think we can’t blame her for this, right? However, three years have already passed and perhaps it was really time for her to eventually confront her grief and not only live in the past, at least I think so, and it was somehow really hard to buy, this hiding behind the grief, taking it as an excuse for everything. Don’t get me wrong but it felt a bit meh and overdone. Why was she so determined to never ever fall in love again?
While the book is rather on a sunny – side, all the butterflies and gorgeous places to see, the author also tries to touch in an engaging way about some heavier and deeper issues, such as loss and grief and how losing your beloved one may affect you and those around you. It was a nice try but it simply felt much too repetitive, staying in place, circling around the same thing, not moving forward, and I think this was my biggest problem with the book. The thing about Aria not wanting to fall in love again came every second page and the dialogues seemed to be only about it, and Aria’s inner thoughts were only about this. Also, really – there was what I felt like a zero chemistry between Aria and Jonathan, and actually I couldn’t get this subplot at all, I think they met each other even before the story started, and it is already an important starting point for a budding relationship, right? I didn’t have a chance to see how they work together – the few elusive meetings were always awkward and there were no sparkles, nothing indicating that they really could be destined for each other. It was simply very optimistic and very rose – tinted but not that convincing for me to buy it as there was really no foundation for this relationship.
The writing style is lovely, full of chatter and humour and there was a lot of potential in this story but in the end I didn’t find this “something” in it that makes a book a book that I want to read over and over again. It was a light – hearted, easy, comforting and relaxing read with beautiful setting and full of books and I have already seen that it gets many raving reviews, so perhaps it’s the case of it’s not you, it’s me. If you’re looking for a undemanding and cosy read, try this story, it may be a perfect book for you.