Cover Image: The Bookshop of Second Chances

The Bookshop of Second Chances

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The Bookshop of Second Chances is one of those books that you don't realize you NEED to read until you start.  It feeds your mind and your soul.  Highly recommend for an escape and a great story,
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A sweet novel rooted in a couple of popular themes with readers: second chance romance and bookshops.  This one is sure to be popular with book club fans, bibliophiles, and those who love a moody Scottish coastal setting… and of course, creaky ol’ bookstores.

Thea unexpectedly inherits a home in Scotland and while visiting to clean it up to sell, she ends up staying on a bit, not eager to return to her “real life” where she has recently lost both her job and her husband.  To supplement her income, while she readies the home, she takes the first job she can find – in a secondhand bookstore.  The owner of the bookshop, however, happens to be the very cranky Edward, a bookish but not very personable former Scottish lord who had renounced his title.

While Thea works to bring the bookshop into the 21st Century, a romance blossoms and the requisite obstacles get thrown in our protagonists’ way.

For the book club lovers out there, note that The Bookshop of Second Chances was Random House Book Club’s May 2021 Spotlight Pick.  So be sure note to miss the excellent Digital Book Club Kit at, which includes a letter from the author, Discussion Questions, Play List, list of snacks inspired by or mentioned in the story, list of books mentioned in the novel, and some lovely photos of Scottish sights.  If you’re still undecided, you can also read, or listen to, an excerpt at

A big thank you to Jackie Fraser, Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for providing an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for this review.

Looking for your own copy of The Bookshop of Second Chances?  Please consider buying from – the online bookstore that gives 75% of each book’s profit margin back to local, independent bookshops.  Find it at

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Things I liked:  A beautiful Scottish setting, rare books/bookstore, a surly & handsome male lead, mature adult protagonists, and strong minor characters. Thea was a great main character and the portrayal of her divorce and the fallout felt very true to life. 

Things I didn't like: the male lead was a little over-the-top in his Grumpy Scotsman vibe, I wasn't fully convinced or invested in the relationship. I think it could have been much better if they had continued a friendship and helped each other grow in that way. I also thought that the inciting incident between the two brothers that caused their decades long feud was ridiculous. I didn't understand how Thea could end up comfortable around either or the brothers after some of the nonsense that happens between them. 

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, but probably wouldn't pick it up or read it again. Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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First of all, I tend to like books about bookshops, so I was quickly drawn to The Bookshop of Second. Chances and barring a horrible plot or writing, I would be predisposed to giving the book a positive review. Add in Scotland, a quaint town, and a burgeoning romance with loads of missteps and miscommunication, well, it’s a given I’ll read it!

Our protagonist, Thea, is at a crossroads upon discovering her husband of many years has been unfaithful, and to add insult to injury, with her best friend. Not a new storyline for sure, but Thea is the one to move out, not the ex. Fortunately for her though, a distant relative leaves her a furnished house, which allows Thea to start anew.

She finds work in a bookstore working for grumpy Edward, one of two feuding brothers. It was fun to read her banter with the men, as she figured out what she wanted from her life, regarding love and a future. The title is more about Thea and Edward than any books though, even though a number of titles are mentioned. Unlike other bookshop tales, I didn’t feel like the store was another character in the story, as much as the setting where it took place. I hope that makes sense!  Anyway, I definitely enjoyed the characters and their growth throughout the novel. I wouldn’t mind another story with perhaps another character in the lead, with references to those we met in this one.
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I really, really enjoyed this book. It was just the kind of light read I needed after trying but failing to get into my favorite thriller genre. Instantly I was transported into the Scottish seaside town with Thea and Edward, and I didn't want to leave. This charming book is AVAILABLE NOW, and if you need an escape, this is it!
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Couldn’t stop smiling through the entire book. Books, quirky, interesting characters, traveling in Scotland, and lots of tea? Yes, yes, yes and yes!!

Cute interview with the author

And this book was May’s Country Living book of the month, so there is an interview on their Instagram page.
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I enjoyed this second chance romance story! I thought that the setting was very cozy and I liked the main character, Thea. Jackie Fraser did a great job of painting the picture of the town, setting, and characters and I found myself easily being able to visualize everything. Thea and Edward's chemistry and banter was fun, he was an easy character that you kind of loved to hate. I will say that them getting together felt like it happened too early in the book, which made the last bit feel a bit slower to me. Overall, cute and cozy read and loved the bookstore setting!
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This story follow Thea, who inherits a house right after brutally being cheated on by her husband and moving out of her marital home. She moves to the newly inherited house for a vacation and ends up staying longer than expected. She makes a lot of friends, finds a job, and creates the fresh start she didn't know she needed.

I really liked this book because I've never read a romance with middle aged characters that still felt relatable to me. It was enjoyable and heartwarming to see Thea move on and fall in love again. The only fault I could find with it is that there are many background characters than aren't very well developed or memorable.
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Thea can’t believe her luck inheriting a grand house in a small Scotland town from a distant uncle right when she needs it most.  Her husband of over twenty years has left her and she was laid off from her job, so sorting the house and it’s belongings sound like the perfect break from everyday life.  She meets Edward, the town bookseller while trying to unload the collection of novels her uncle amassed.  At first, they do not hit it off, but Thea is determined to make nice with him.

The Bookshop of Second Chances surprised me in many ways.  I loved the beautiful scenic writing which took me to Scotland in my mind.  While Thea is contemplating her life and what she wants from it, a lovely romance blooms.   Overall, I was left feeling happy and positive after enjoying this novel!
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I wound up enjoying this book, set mainly in a small town in Scotland, despite some misgivings. A major plus is that the main character is a woman in her 40s, which is really nice for a change in a romance book. Thea is newly separated from her husband, who has been having an affair with a friend of Thea’s. To the rescue: an inheritance from her great-uncle, who has left her his cottage in Scotland. (Of course.) Once there, she meets the locals, who include two brothers of about her age, neither of whom is married and who hate each other, Edward and Charles. Thea winds up working in Edward’s bookshop and things flow from there. One major issue I had was with how Edward was portrayed to start with - he is supposedly a curmudgeon, and won’t hire “girls” to work in the shop because they’d either fall in love with him or vice versa. What? And when I found out why the brothers weren’t talking, I just shook my head at the childishness of it all. I decided to keep reading and just go with the flow and on that basis, the book was a lovely, light read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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This book really hit the spot with me.  I'd just come back from vacation and was wanting something different from what I'd been reading.  This was perfect and just what I needed!

The story is about a woman, Thea, who had left her husband and her home because her husband was in love with another woman.  She finds that she inherited property in Scotland and decided to go there to lie low and get her life together.  What happens when she gets there is the heart and soul of the story.  She meets some really interesting and some rather odd people, which makes the novel even more quirky.  All in all, this was a great read and kept me interested throughout.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book!
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Cute, slow burn romance (nothing steamy) that’s witty and engaging. It was a cozy read and a perfect one for the upcoming fall season (here in the US). I found myself laughing a lot, which was unexpected, but this book packs quite a bit of humor! Also, the protagonists are about mid-40s, which is a nice change for me. I keep reading about the younger crowd. 

My only complaint is that I wish it were slightly more romance heavy, but that's very much a personal preference and not a ding on the book itself. Just know that the sex is off-page. 

Pick this one up!
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I really enjoyed this sweet read! If you love a book about books, this is your next read. It was a very easy read and I read it in less than two days. I look forward to more from this author!
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This story is from a first time author and it was so enjoyable.  The bookshop setting, the Scottish people, the slow burn romance, sibling rivalry, a mean boss, and the humor all well done.  The only thing that bothered me about this story was that Thea kept referring to herself as old and she’s in her forties. That’s not old.
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Give me a book that's set in Scotland and the leading lady is in her 40's .. well I'm here for it! I enjoyed the rebuilding your life theme along with the slow burn it gave me.
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Sweet little romance set in a bookshop in Scotland. Who wouldn’t love that!  Hard to believe this was a debut novel. Will definitely be looking for more by her.
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I did enjoy this book. The characters are sweet and loved the setting. I have a few issues with the book. 1- Thea never really deals with anything. 2- there’s so many missed opportunities for interesting storylines. (Anything with the Uncle and his family mainly. Why bring up his journals and writings if nothing is going to come of it?) 3- Some of the conversation don’t flow.  4- There were throw away characters. (Brought up for a scene and then never heard from again. Like talking about the teenagers hair was super weird.) 5- I kept waiting for something to happen. Like anything. And when the one thing did happen it was kinda meh. 

All that being said, it was a sweet book. And I was rooting for Thea. I rounded up to 4 stars bc I liked the characters.
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Who wouldn't love to be in a little bookshop nestled in a rural Scottish village? The scene for this story was certainly idyllic. I'm not one to gravitate to romance novels, but I chose this because of the book theme. The plot was interesting, albeit tropey, but the characters were a bit flat. *Advance copy provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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More and more books from UK authors from across the pond are making a splash here in the States, landing on bestseller lists or sailing into vacation totes and book club selection reads.  THE BOOKSHOP OF SECOND CHANCES, a debut novel by Jackie Fraser, not only was a Random House Book Club May Spotlight Pick and Country Living Magazine Front Porch Book Club Pick, but it also falls into the beloved categories of bookish books (books centered around settings of bookshops or libraries and/or with bibliophile casts) and has a wanderlust touch of taking place overseas (in this case stunning Scotland).  The cover is absolutely adorable and eye-catching, but don’t let it’s cuteness fool you into thinking it’s the typical rom-com sugary sweet read.  This love story has a leading man with a not so perfect past and family, and the leading lady arrives to Scotland with her own mental baggage and trauma from her broken marriage.  It’s a love story closer to reality with two adults trying to navigate a new relationship and love in spite of their pasts, old patterns, and new obstacles.  

For readers who shy away from books with a very liberal use of ‘language’, particularly the F*bomb, this book may not be your cup of tea.  But if that doesn’t raise an eyebrow, then this book may be for you — It’s more Sex and the City meets Bridget Jones’s Diary than You’ve Got Mail meets Notting Hill.  Other books or movies that might pair well with Fraser’s published debut are any book by Wigtown’s The Bookshop bookseller Shaun Bythell and the movie The Booksellers.

Other interesting tidbits I discovered after diving into various author interviews by Fraser were that we both shared the same favorite book chapter regarding protagonists Thea and Edward’s time at his beach Shed, as well as I loved what she wanted the book’s takeaways to be.  As the author asserts there can always be a new chapter or wildly fun journey for you in life at any age, that “when your feet touch the bottom, you can push yourself back up”!  Random House also highlighted the book’s ability to provide a reader with an escape within its pages (to Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland in this case.)

If you enjoy THE BOOKSHOP OF SECOND CHANCES, stay tuned for what may come next from this Editor turned pantser Writer.  Jackie has reported she is currently working on 2 different novels set in Wales — by the sound of it, both seem centered in her signature style of character-driven stories with midlife female protagonists set in international settings.
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I got completely swept up in Jackie Fraser’s The Bookshop of Second Chances.  While this book is definitely women’s fiction, it does have a very, very s-l-o-w burn romance with off the page sex scenes. I enjoyed the British humor, the frank and blunt conversations, and the characters who were unique and interesting.


Being downsized from her job and then receiving a text message from her husband who meant to send it to his lover (who was also Thea’s friend), Thea Mottram’s life has been turned upside down. Thea moved out, got her own place and mourned the loss of her 20+ year relationship. She didn’t explode, she didn’t beg him to try and save their marriage, she felt that at 38 she was past the point of begging someone to be with her. When her great uncle leaves her a house in a small town in Scotland, she decides to go and check it out and decide what to do with the house, its content, and get away from the gossip that surrounds her.  I liked Thea, I felt that her reaction to the end of her marriage was typical for the length of time she was in it and the fact that her whole life changed in a short time. Thea was at that point in her life where she basically said, “f*ck it” to the world and set out to figure her next step.


Thea soon meets two men, brothers, Charles Maltravers who happens to be Lord Hollinshaw and his older brother Edward, who chose to renounce his title; they don’t get on at all,  but both want something from Thea. Charles wants the house from her as it belonged to the original Hollinshaw estate and Edward who owns a rare and used bookshop wants the rare and first edition books that her uncle left her in the estate.


It would be easy to think of this as some strange romance triangle but that isn’t it at all. First off Thea isn’t interested in pursuing a romantic relationship, Edward is a bit of a curmudgeon that most of the town doesn’t like and he doesn’t care. He likes his shop, his books, but he doesn’t lack for female companionship without emotional attachment, and Charles has two ex-wives, two children, and is too “posh” for Thea’s taste not that she’s remotely interested.


Thea soon finds herself settling into her new home and the town of Baldochrie even making several new friends, but she needs something to keep her busy and when he finds out Edward’s employee is leaving and despite his objections talks him in to giving her a job. For months they form this strange friendship, sharing stories, discussing books, and growing closer. I loved watching their relationship change and it was interesting to watch. Their banter was smart and often funny, the way Thea picks apart Edward’s unconventional relationships making him question his reason of them and essentially leading him to revaluate his life was intriguing. I appreciated that even after they became more than friends, Thea was thinking ahead, playing life smart by making sure she was secure on her own, but also going all in with Edward after a particularly strange visit from her soon to be ex-husband.


I enjoyed the pace of this book, some might find it slow but it kept my attention as each interaction was integral piece of their burgeoning relationship. Witty, smart, and completely engaging, I thoroughly enjoyed The Bookshop of Second Chances.
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