Cover Image: The Bookshop by the Bay

The Bookshop by the Bay

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Member Reviews

The Bookshop by the Bay follows four women, Jess and her best friend Alison, and their daughters. Jess is trying to decide what to do with her life now that her marriage is over. Alison's place of employment is downsizing and she knows her time will come.  And it just so happens the local bookshop owner is ready to retire... 

I just love all of Pamela's novels and this one is no different. She always has such strong characters that might have lost themselves but become strong by the end of the novel. I love the friendships and the real issues she touches on. 

This is the perfect summer read about friendships and family.
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I don't know why I waited so long to read this one, it was a joy to read! Reminiscent of Nancy Thayer and Dorthea Benton Frank, Pamela M. Kelley should be right up there with the queens of summer books! 

The book centers around the lives of two mother-daughter duos.  Caitlin and her mother Jess are from Charleston. They live the perfect South Carolina life. A handsome husband, tickets to the hottest parties of the season- when Jess's marriage crumbles, the two retreat to her childhood home on Cape Cod.  

Once there we meet up with Allison and her daughter Jess. A long-time divorcee, Allison's career is taking a nosedive. Jess, on the other hand, is starting her own jewelry business and is betting it all with a contest sponsored by an internet celebrity. 

One for-sale bookshop changes everything for the foursome, as everyone looks for their new normal. 

A super cute, mother/daughter bonding read, I can't wait to share this one with my own mom! Happy Summer reading, friends!
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The Bookshop by the Bay is a beachy, feel-good summer read and one you won’t want to miss. It’s the story of friendship, second chances, and finding your own place in life surrounded by people who will support you. 

Jess is a successful attorney who discovers that her husband, who works at the same law firm, has been having an affair with his secretary. When other events makes it clear that things cannot continue, she takes a leave of absence, and heads to her hometown of Chatham, Massachusetts, just outside of Cape Cod. Her life-long friend, Allison, works in Chatham for a magazine that is slowly going out of business. Her dream job is to own her own book shop, but that is not financially feasible. The two women also have grown daughters who have grown up together, but have never been friends. Jess’s daughter, Caitlin has been fired from yet another temp job and cannot seem to figure out what she’s meant to do with her life. Allison’s daughter, Julia, owns her own jewelry store and creates her own pieces, but is still trying to make it a success. 

When the opportunity arises for Jess and Allison to join forces as co-owners of the local, beloved bookshop, with it’s attached coffee shop, it seems everyone finds their dreams coming true. The daughters, Caitlin and Julia also find an invaluable friendship of their own. 

This story had a bit of a slow start for me because it was difficult to keep track of all the various characters. But as the story progressed, I was able to keep track of everyone, and ended up really loving each of the characters, their story arcs, their friendships and relationships with one another. 

There are beautiful examples of strong bonds between mothers and daughters, female friendships, and the idea that wealth and status should not define us. It exemplifies that being comfortable in your own skin, enjoying a slower life, and finding your own path in life, has infinite value. The Bookshop By the Bay is an inspiring story, about starting over, finding your own dream and surrounding yourself with people who matter. The story is scenic, seasonal and wholly satisfying.
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Two lifelong friends, Jess and Allison, are at different points of their lives and ready for change. They turn to each other, and their daughters, for a fresh start and new beginnings.

📚 What worked:
• Small town story line
• Friendships
• second chances
• book about books
• audiobook

What didn’t work - This was a really slow paced book with multiple POV’s, that were a bit confusing, and an ending that was too predictable for my liking.

Although this one wasn’t for me, it does make for a light beach read with feel good vibes and the audiobook was great! I really did enjoy the narrator and she did a great job narrating multiple characters.

Thank you to @netgalley, @stmartinspress & for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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A light hearted, easy beach read. Perfect for the summer months!  Thank you to net galley and the publisher for an ARC of this book
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There are just sometimes when you need to retreat to the place you felt safe, warm and happy. Jess finding out that her husband has been having an affair is just that time.  She and her adult daughter, who is dealing with some issues herself, both pack up and do just that.  Cape Cod here they come for some time to reflect, breathe in the healing salt air and for Jess, to reconnect with her long time best friend Alison. Unsurprisingly Alison is at a crossroads of a sort as well.  Together these women and others laugh, cry, support and help each other heal and move forward.  I adored this book immensely.  Beautifully written and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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This type of review is hard for me because this book has all of the ingredients for a great read, but when put all together, it just didn't work for me.

For starters, there were just too many storylines and characters: 4 main and 5 secondary. To add to the confusion, 4 of the 9 had names starting with the letter J. I felt like each time the POV changed, (sometimes within a chapter) I had to stop and think, "wait, who is this person and how do they fit into the story?". The hardest part, however, is that the writing was very dry. It read more like a journalistic/documentary retelling of events, rather than an engaging story that draws you in and just flows. For example, 3 of the characters went out to dinner and we were given a detail accounting of the roughly 8 dishes ordered. It was choppy and obscure details were given page time instead of actual substance or character building dialogue.

There were also some predictability and believability issues. Who buys a bookstore and an out of business coffee shop and gets both up and running all in a matter of 2-3 weeks? Mind you, this was all done by people with no prior experience.

So the deal is that the premise is cute. I especially loved the idea of the mother-daughter relationships and all of the "it's never too late to start over and create your best life" vibes. However, this really felt more like a first draft to me and could really use some significant editing.
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Jess and her daughter decide to go back to their vacation place. Jess and best friend Alison decide to buy a bookstore that they both love.
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC and to the publisher St. Martin's Griffin.
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This book was a wonderful read. The quintessential beach read for me.  Life long friends come together during life's hardships and struggles, one faces loosing her job and the other found her husband was cheating on her after a 30 year marriage.  As they come together to provide each other support, magic starts to happen as a lifelong dream starts to fall into place. This book has all the goods! Mothers, daughters, love, betrayal, and dreams coming true! I loved it!!
Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for allowing me to read this book!
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Jess’ world has just exploded. She is a well established lawyer in Charleston but her marriage has just blown up in her face. She heads to her home on Cape Cod to lick her wounds. She meets up with her friend, Alison. Well, needless to say, these two do not let grass grow under their feet. They end up buying a bookshop and their worlds change for the better.

These characters are such a refreshing change. I love Jess and Alison. Both have issues but they definitely overcome all that the world has stacked against them. Add in the setting and you have a great escape. Now, this tale is a bit long and could have been a bit shorter. In other words, there are several mundane details not needed. But the setting and the characters add to the charm!

The narrator, Stephanie Németh-Parker did such a wonderful job. She really made this tale come alive.

Need a sweet tale with a fabulous setting…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today.

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.
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The Bookshop by the Bay by Pamela M. Kelley is a moving story about mothers, daughters, and best friends helping each other through the trials of life. It's fun, romantic, and beachy.
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I love the Cape so I really liked reading about Chatham. I thought that the story was a little predictable but I also really liked all of the characters so I was happy to see them get a happy ending!
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This book was definitely escapist fiction. Overall, it was a quick and easy read, but I found some of the plot lines hard to believe. For example, major, major life decisions made just kind of off the cuff and then so fast that it definitely lessened the reality. I also thought that the writing was drawn out and choppy in some areas. The reader probably doesn’t need to know how much a group ordered for dinner, and then a description of each of those plates. I think some of that could have been cut out in several sections.
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Follow two mothers and their daughters into an adventure of a lifetime. 

Jess and Alison have dreamed of living closer to one another for years, and Alison has dreamed of owning a bookstore much of her adult life. When the two opportunities collide, with the help of their daughters, they jump at the chance. 

As much as I wanted to love this book, it fell flat for me. That does NOT mean it's the wrong book for you! I will say I am not much into women's fiction, so this book is probably perfect for that genre. The plot sequence is a great concept and has a lot to offer. However, I didn't FEEL the book. I read the words, I was told the feelings of the characters. As readers, we even get all four main characters' POVs. Yet I didn't feel emboldened with rage with Jess, I didn't feel broken with Julia, I didn't feel homesick with Caitlin. On a few occasions I can imagine myself as Alison. She was probably the most vivid character. 

Thank you to the publisher for a digital ARC.
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This was a cute, decidedly superficial beach bookstore novel. It was generally well-written, but Kelly’s voice seemed to be more tell than show so it was a rather dry read. I enjoyed the premise of mothers and daughters and finding your way to where you are supposed to be.
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The Bookshop by the Bay is a standalone novel by author Pamela Kelley. Two women, best friends since childhood, create a special summer for themselves and their adult daughters when Jessica Coleman, attorney, comes home to Chatham, Massachusetts, with her daughter, Caitlin, to spend some time with her mother and friends. Jessica’s marriage to fellow attorney and law partner Parker Coleman when his straying creates a new family, has run its course. This separation is the precursor for divorce.
Alison Page has worked as editor for a regional travel magazine for years. Having divorced many years before, Alison and her ex, Chris, have created a close friendship as they raised their daughter, Julia. Almost too close as neither date but they also have no intention to reunite. When Alison’s boss, Jim, confides that the magazine is in deep financial trouble that will necessitate layoffs, Alison volunteers to go part time. Working at the magazine is not her dream job. What Alison really imagines for herself is owning her own bookstore. When the local bookstore is up for sale, Jessica proposes she will purchase it and Alison will run it. The building also includes a defunct coffee shop, a big plus.
Alison will manage daily operations, Jessica will do bookkeeping and legal work, and unemployed Caitlin will manage the coffee shop. Julia is building her own high end jewelry store but will help with advertising and promotion. Hopefully, all will be running smoothly by the time Jess and Caitlin return to Charleston in midOctober.
This is a well plotted tale of second acts and friendships. With well drawn characters and a lovely coastal setting, Ms. Kelley returns her readers to the Cape Cod area in a dynamic story of moving forward. I very much enjoyed this book and I do recommend it!
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The Bookshop by the Bay is like sitting with an old friend and catching up and is a great story about finding yourself and true happiness after facing the unexpected. The characters are likable, the storyline flows and the book was hard to put down. I loved the focus on the mothers who are friends and how their daughters eventually become friends as well. 

This is a great, quick read about discovering your strength and building a family and life that makes you happy. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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Jess loves being a lawyer but the rest of her life isn't quite like she hoped it would be.  She's in a marriage that seems to be on pause and who wants to live that way.  She wants to talk to her husband and figure out what they can do to make the marriage work bit she soon learns he has cheated.  Wanting to get away and process what she has learned Less takes off with her adult daughter to her childhood home of Cape Cod.  While there she her best friend Alison is having issues of her own but hers has to do with her career.  The two ladies start to lean on each other and take ownership of a local bookstore.  As the weeks pass by they both have to figure out just where they want to end up and how can they get there.  This was a lovely and emotional read that takes you on a journey of healing and moving forward in life.
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Love stories of bookshop and friends. Sometimes our life doesn’t go as planned and in this story of two friends they help each other through tough times and together they decide to run the bookshop. What a dream !! Marriage and life is hard but we can get the best sometimes in the end result.
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Fabulous Beach Read! 4 Women - 2 mothers and 2 daughters have the courage to start over and live out their dreams. Allison is laid off, but her real dream is owning a bookstore. Jess discovers her husband is cheating with someone in their law office no less. Jess's daughter was also laid off so the two decide to visit the cape - their original hometown. and the home of Allison, Jess's best friend. Perfect timing - the local bookstore and attached coffee shop are for sale. Jess feels it is the perfect investment opportunity and Allison is more than happy to run it. With her past experience, Jess's daughter is the perfect person to run the coffee shop. All 4 women are newly single. Can they find love again at the Cape! Great Book!
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for this advanced review copy. In return, I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
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