Cover Image: The Bookshop of Second Chances

The Bookshop of Second Chances

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Member Reviews

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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As a library employee, I love reading books with characters that love books! This story is a friend to enemy to friend book that you'll feel cozy reading with your favorite drink. I will admit that I don't love stories with characters that seem to circle the bowl instead of just heading into the problem and dealing with it, but this story has layers that will make you agree with Thea that she doesn't/shouldn't just go for it. She has a few things to unpack before she can begin finding her way. If you're a fan of Jenny Colgan or Rebecca Raisin then grab this one! Great debut!
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DNF -did not finish. I decided not to keep reading this novel because I did not connect with the writing and plot. Thank you, netgalley and publisher for the early copy.
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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser.

Thea is a forty something woman, devastated by her cheating husband, and getting a divorce.  On top of that she has lost her job, leaving her with few options.  

But a door opens when she finds out that she has inherited an old and fascinating book collection from an uncle in Scotland.  Intrigued with the opportunity to travel away from her life for a while, she leaves for an open ended trip to the beautiful coast of Scotland.

But not everyone is open and friendly.  Inquiring about the value of her books has introduced her to Edward, the grumpiest bookshop owner ever.  But Thea will not be deterred, and in fact, is desperate to work at the shop as another way to distract her from her life.  Will time together melt the ice between Thea and Edward?  And does Edward have his own baggage to unpack?

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one.  First off, the bookshop, the quaint Scottish town, the will they/won't they romance, mmmmuah!  Chef's kiss.  So sweet.  And I loved that the characters were closer to my age, which made it so enjoyable and relatable.

But therein is also my hang up because I didn't always find their relationship behavior age appropriate.  Maybe I'm out of touch, but by the time you hit your forties, you're done with games.  Let's communicate clearly and move forward.  Leave the games to the twenty somethings.  I couldn't stand how redundant their tiptoeing,  side eye flirting, and REFUSAL to talk to each other became.  That's the part that drove me nuts.  Otherwise, I loved it.
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Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC!

I really liked this book. Not only is it bookish in content, but it’s also set in Scotland and has an unlikely friendship/relationship with a grumpy male lead.

This is more than just a second chance romance, Thea is getting a second chance at the life she wants to lead. After her husband leaves her for another woman, she is able to separate herself from that life and start anew.

In the past year I have read SO many books where the main character inherits property from their late aunt or uncle. Books have me believing this happens much more frequently than it does 😂.
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I loved it!

This has to be one of the most delightful novels I've ever read. Thea is a treasure. She's so witty, always loving, a bit goofy, and she speaks her mind. All of us would benefit from having a friend like her in our lives and I connected with her instantly. 

Not many books can make me laugh aloud but this one did multiple times! Throughout the whole story you feel everything Thea does and that's magic. Edward is also a lot of fun, even at his grouchiest, even when you realize just how truly messed up he is. But, as a reader, you still like him. You want them both to be happy, and to do that together. 

I was a bit skeptical at first by the length of the book at 400+ pages for a contemporary story but I enjoyed it so much that I could've just kept reading Thea and Edward's lives for another whole novel. I think this story is just the ticket for any reader looking for something charming, sweet, clever, light, and downright enjoyable. 

Note: I received a free electronic edition of this book via NetGalley in exchange for the honest review above. I would like to thank them, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to do so.
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The Bookshop of Second Chances is a fun book about Thea from Suffolk England who in a matter of months discovers that her husband has been cheating on her with her friend, lost her job, and that she has inherited a house from her great Uncle in Scotland. What Thea thought would be a couple of weeks cleaning out the house and putting it on the market turned into the entire summer in Scotland trying to decide what to do. In the meantime she gets a job working for the town curmudgeon and slowly brings him out of his shell.

This is one of those fun romance novels that is great to slot in between your historical fictions or your mysteries.
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My thanks to NetGalley for making an eARC of this book available to me.

A satistying read about a woman whose marriage has come to an abrupt end, pushing her to reinvent herself in a new setting.  It was nice to have a romance novel that featured somewhat older (mid-40's) protaganists.
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Ahhhh….oh so charming and sweet and delightful. Loved every word. Thank you netgalley and publisher for this arc in exchange of an honest review.
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The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser is the story of Thea who ventures to the Scottish coast after her husband left her for a friend AND she is let go from her job on Valentine's Day. Thea begins working in a bookshop with Edward, who is gruff and grumpy, but Thea realizes that she enjoys bickering with Edward and grapples with making changes in her life indefinitely.

While I enjoyed this light read and appreciated that the characters in this novel were older than typically seen in contemporary romance, I felt that it was hard for me to feel a connection or chemistry between Thea and Edward. I appreciated the setting and loved that there was a focus on the bookstore, I just wanted more from the characters. I would definitely recommend this for fans of romance with rich settings and mature characters.

Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the ARC of this title. This did not affect the contents of my voluntary review. All opinions are honest and my own.
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