I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself – I’m a sceptical romantic at best, and at worst, a bit of a misanthrope. So when I read romance, I need chemistry. I need sparks. I need disagreements and I need risk. I didn’t get that here.
Title: The Little Bookshop at Herring Cove
Author: Kellie Hailes
Publication Date: June 17th
Publisher: HQ Fiction
This book really had the potential to fit my very niche but favourite kind of fiction: women who own businesses, struggle, find themselves, find romance, be a success for themselves anyway.
Sophie owns a failing bookshop in run-down Cornish fishing village, Herring Cove. Her business is her heart, her memories, and all that links her to some her most traumatic experiences, and she is determined to hang onto it. Especially in the face of an impending resort development headed by the Fletcher Group. But when the Fletcher Group’s son, Alexander, walks through her door and makes Sophie an offer she shouldn’t refuse, can she both hold onto her business, and the new man in her life who wants to take it away?
The above is my summary and it actually makes the book sound better than it was. It had so much potential to be so many of my favourite things; conflict, budding romance, a bookshop and a woman struggling in the face of adversity.
Unfortunately this was a very washed-out attempt at all of those things. I couldn’t feel anything for Sophie and Alexander, I wasn’t in fear for their relationship at all, I didn’t understand their romance and the way they spoke to each other made me uncomfortable.
In particular, the main plot point hinges around Alexander coming to the village to make Sophie an offer on her bookshop, only to then decide to build bookshelves for her – that is how Hailes forces the pair to spend time together. It just didn’t work – it felt forced, it felt off and it meant that the chemistry between Sophie and Alexander was lacking from the very beginning.
And Sophie’s friends – Ginny and Natalie – are bit parts at the best. They walk on, hug Sophie, remind us of her difficult past and walk back off into their own lives, despite those being potentially interesting.
Not to mention, you won’t be getting your kicks out of this novel – the ‘romance’ is very vanilla. Lots of hand-holding and kissing. It did not rock my world.
It’s not badly written, but I can’t give it more than a dismal 2 stars.
If you want to read a recent romance novel that features women owning their businesses and a budding romance, I recommend Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts.
Do you have a particular type of romance that you prefer? Let me know in the comments!