What is it about?
Florence Green is a widow of World War II, living in the tight-knit coastal town of Hardborough, and has a passion for books. Hardborough itself, however, does not have such a passion – in fact, the small community doesn’t even have a bookshop. Which is why, in 1959, Florence decides to bite the bullet and buy an abandoned and supposedly haunted old house on the high street and use it for such a purpose, the little shop becoming her home in the process. But is Hardborough ready for a bookshop that stocks the scandalous new novel Lolita and is run by a woman who believes solely in two things; herself, and the power of books?
Is it any good?
If you’re looking for fast-paced action or steamy romance, then move along – this quaint little book definitely isn’t for you! The Bookshop is gentle and soft, although reflecting the vicious pettiness often found in small communities. The story babbles along slowly, in a way that sort of relaxes and comforts the reader, but doesn’t really take you anywhere; it’s one of those books that’s more about the journey than the destination. There’s a huge cast of characters, so many that it’s sometimes hard to keep up, but they are all so wonderfully original and believable, from the determined Florence right down to the almost scarily organised Christine, her 11-year-old assistant. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald is perfect for anyone with a love of books who wants to escape into a vintage sort of mundanity for a few hours.
How long did it take to read: two days
This book tastes like: warm toast