Cover Image: The Bookshop of Second Chances

The Bookshop of Second Chances

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Member Reviews

I am a sucker for any book that involves a bookstore or library as part of the "cast of characters".  This one started out slow - I had to push myself along for about the first 1/4 of the book - but once it picked up steam I had a hard time putting it down.  It was definitely a fun romance and a good choice for a light summer read or your next vacation book.
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So cute! Love the cover and the cranky bookshop owner! But the pacing was a bit slow for my personal taste.
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I received an electronic ARC from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine through NetGalley.
Fraser captures the gamut of emotions a woman feels after discovering her husband has had an affair with a friend and is leaving her for that person. Readers see where Thea's journey begins and how she figures out who she is and learns to trust and love again. We see her leave her home behind and head to Scotland to see the property she has inherited from a great-uncle she barely knew. Her decision to stay for a couple weeks, then months, becomes a complete move as she gets back on her feet and discovers a job she loves. Of course, she meets her new love, Edward, and the story runs along some predictable lines though Fraser writes with fresh style. Edward is not likeable and has quite the past to overcome. He undergoes his own transformation as he faces who he is and who he wants to be. The bookstore makes a lovely setting as the two adapt and change to figure out who they are and how they mesh together. 
A lighter read with enough depth to make readers think about themselves and their own roles in life.
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I enjoyed this quirky book about a middle-aged woman who finds herself again after the end of a 20 year marriage.  I loved the characters of Edward & Thea.  Edward is sweet and extremely honest,  Thea is not whiny, but cautious with a new relationship.  Their banter is funny & loveable.  Jackie Fraser is a new author to me, but I would enjoy reading more from her.
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What I Loved:

The Premise. What drew me to requesting Bookshop is also what kept me reading it (for better or for worse). A down on her luck Thea inherits a creaky, gorgeous manor house in a small Scottish town, an antiquarian bookshop becomes her new second home, the quirky locals accept her wholeheartedly, and she has two squabbling brothers (who happen to be lords) fighting for her attention. It is fun, it is light, and it has all of my favorite elements in a fun light romance. The Scottish locals were all delightful to read about, and the creaky manor house and beautiful Scottish town made me nostalgic for a life I have never actually had but can imagine vividly. This book drove me to look up words for the feeling it gave me – the closest I could find was the Portuguese word saudade (“melancholy”), or the German word fernweh (“farsickness”).

The Bookstore and Bookstore Cat. Similarly, the old Scottish antiquarian bookstore with comfy nooks and a faithful cat named Helen Hunter (HH) drew me in. Notwithstanding the grumpy and semi-unlikeable owner Edward (more on that below), the bookstore sounds positively delightful with comfy nooks and antiquarian books that any collector would dream of. I loved how Thea transforms the little shop into an internet sensation through its Instagram and other social media pages, and it reminds me of so many other book stores I love to follow and fangirl over.

Thea (partially). While there are definitely some aspects of Thea’s personality I disliked, generally speaking Thea was a likeable character that you rooted for. When her husband leaves her and takes the house, Thea has to pick up the broken pieces of her life and move to Scotland to take care of her husband’s affairs. She handles this change with grace, humor, and a healthy dose of self-awareness. She is in her 40s and while at first she has some neuroses about living life to the fullest at that age, throughout Bookshop Thea experiences a beautiful amount of growth. I hope I can have this much fun in my 40s and stay as active as Thea is.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

The Pacing. I honestly almost put Bookshop down after the first couple of days of agonizing detail and introspection from Thea with absolutely no plot movement. The first 35ish percent is slow as molasses with no romance and not much else to read for. When the pace finally picked up and relationships finally beginning, I was hooked, but then the end was as abrupt as the beginning was slow. The end kind of just occurred, with no real purpose or momentous occasion. It was a letdown, particularly given how long this book was.

Edward Maltravers. As a slightly unpopular opinion, I actually liked Edward a little bit. I enjoyed his gruffness and his wry sense of humor, and I did genuinely feel Edward and Thea’s love for each other in Bookshop. However, Edward is a generally unlikeable character in his capacity as the love interest for such a strong, spunky, and likeable heroine. Edward ruins every one of his brother’s relationships by sleeping with the woman over something that happened when they were teenagers, he generally only has casual sexual relationships with women, and has a sign in his shop that says “No girls allowed” because “because they fall in love with me or I fall in love with them.” Edward is NOT the kind of guy we want Thea to end up with.

(Peripherally) Thea’s Love of Edward. Again, I am not 100% opposed to Thea and Edward’s relationship. However, it seems highly unlikely to me that Thea would allow herself to fall in love with a serial philanderer, regardless of how much Edward changes for her. I also hate how Thea looks down on Charles and his interest in her, while not once doubting Edward’s own motives. It altogether makes Thea seem like a weaker character than she is supposed to be. Edward should have had to work harder.
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When everything in your life is falling part, there is nothing more healing than working in an old bookstore with a handsome but cantankerous man. Or, at least, that's what makes this specific kind of romance/chick lit novel so much fun.

When Thea loses her job and finds out her husband is having an affair with her close friend, she is crushed, but she soon receives notice from a lawyer that a distance uncle has died and left her his house (and library) in Scotland. She figures she can travel out there for a few weeks, go through his things, put the house on the market, and return to London. But when she arrives, she finds it harder than she thought to leave, especially after she takes a temporary job at a local bookstore.

Yes, this book was formulaic and predictable -- just like most of the books in this genre -- but I'd argue that's why so many of us actually enjoy this genre. When you're stressed out in your own life, you know exactly what you're going to get when you pick up this kind of book, and it's always a happy ending. And I liked these characters. No, none of them were particularly deep, but at least they grew and matured and learned from their mistakes. And, any book set in a bookstore in Scotland is a book I want to read... and dream about visiting someday.

Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. It has not influenced my opinion.
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This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What a promising start to what I assumed was going to be such a cute read. However this book was just ok for me. Our leading lady Thea is a mature 40 something who starts her life over after losing her job and her husband and inherits a quaint lodge in Scotland (uh yea please!) She strikes up this friendship and slow burn romance with the Lord of the lands brother  Edward, who are apparently on the outs because of some adolescent grudge (seriously). I don’t know, this book just didn’t do it for me. While I’m a sucker for a slow burn romance, this one just didn’t do it for me, there was no real chemistry between Edward and Thea and I’m supposed to believe that grumpy old Edward is only sweet and cute with Thea for no reason at all? Meh, this was an average read, I feel like there was so much promise here (I mean who doesn’t love a Scottish romance?? Yes please!) but it just felt lacking. Still a sweet story of starting over and finding yourself.
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After making it 25% through this book I decided to DNF, I was bored and felt like I wasn't that into the story line
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Who doesn’t love a book set in a small town bookshop and library!?! Then, add some romance and you have a wonderful and cozy story in Jackie Fraser’s debut, The Bookshop of Second Chances.

This was a beautiful and lovely slow-paced, mid-life romance about a woman who’s whole life is turned upside down when she loses her job and her husband leaves her for one of her so-called friends, all in the span of a month. Luckily, Thea’s just inherited a cottage in a small town in Scotland, so she decides to spend some time up there while reconfiguring her life, picking up a job at the town’s bookstore and befriending the owner, Edward--a grumpy man with very modern Mr. Darcy vibes. The more time Thea spends in this town, and around Edward, the more she realizes that maybe her heart has room for a new love this late in her life.

Although this is more of a character story, following Thea as she takes on her new-normal, there’s plenty of cutesy and bookish romance and quirky dialogue that’ll make you laugh out loud and grin with pride for the characters.
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I just reviewed The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser. 
And honestly, you’ve read this book before. But Fans of Evie Drake Starts Over, Much Ado About You, and Olivia Holms Inherits a Vineyard will
love this light, fun, and lovable read. 

~Main character is going through hard time. ✔️
~Main character finds out they inherited  property from a long lost relative ✔️
~Main character leaves there Mundane life thinking they will go temporarily and then sell after affairs are all in order✔️
~Main Charcter meets most handsome man they have ever seen but only wants to be friends ✔️
~ He is also troubled so a major dramatic scene is going to unfold in the last 3/4 of the book. 

And then you know how this story goes. I mean it sort of felt like a Hallmark Movie. 
With that being said, it was still a cute read. I enjoyed the small town community. The banter between Thea and Edward was so fun, I mean why can’t we all have a dashing, dark, dark, and sexy Edward to banter with. .I loved the witty comebacks and sassy remarks that they threw at each other.  
Quick easy read is perfect for the summer sunny days ahead.
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THE BOOKSHOP OF SECOND CHANCES by Jackie Fraser was an enjoyable, character-driven novel of starting over and, of course, second chances. I loved reading a story with a more mature main character, and Thea was wonderful. After being hit with some bad luck, she’s due for something good to happen and give her a chance to change directions. I loved that Thea had a big heart, wasn’t afraid to speak her mind (that took time) or find a new direction that fit her and her interests. It definitely helped that she was able to go to a whole new area with an inheritance that gave her time to heal. 
I enjoyed this book immensely. It was just what I needed to read. I was able to immerse myself in a quaint small-town in Scotland with flawed, real characters. I loved how Fraser developed Thea’s character as she worked through her emotions and how they weren’t glossed over. Her confidence took a beating, and it took time to get through it. Edward was an interesting character, and I enjoyed how Thea was able to get past his grumpiness and find a friendship that grew deeper, while convincing him that she could help in his bookshop. 
I wish I could inherit a house in rural Scotland and work in a bookstore full of old books. It sounds like a dream come true for a bookworm. In the meantime, find your favorite reading spot, curl up, and enjoy.
Thank you to the publisher for an advanced reader’s copy of this novel. All opinions are my own and freely given.
#TheBookshopofSecondChances #JackieFraser #BallantineBooks #RandomHousePublishingGroup
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The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser was a cozy, fun book! It started out darker then I was expecting, with our main character Thea learning her husband has been having an affair with her friend and tells her he's leaving her, but keeping their house. Thea learns her uncle left her a house in a cute Scottish village and the story unfolds from here. I loved seeing Thea build a life in a charming village!
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Oh my goodness, I loved this book! To be honest, a synopsis doesn't do it justice, because the interactions between Thea and Edward are what make this book such a gem. But here's a go.

In a short period of time, Thea loses her job, discovers her husband is having an affair with her friend, and learns her great-uncle has died. However, the blow from the last loss is softened by the fact he left her his house and valuable rare book collection. At loose ends, unemployed and living in the dreary apartment she rented when her husband insisted on staying in their house, Thea travels to the small town on the Scottish coast to survey her inheritance.

What she planned as a two-week trip stretches to weeks, then months, and she convinces Edward, the rare books dealer and professed misanthrope, to hire her to work in his bookshop, despite his "no girls" policy. Edward is laughably curmudgeonly, yet strangely irresistible, as every single girlfriend and wife of his estranged brother, Lord Charles, can attest. 

THE BOOKSHOP OF SECOND CHANCES was such a fun read, I didn't want it to end. And what could be better than a Scottish coastal setting, rare bookshop, and post-40 romance? #TheBookshopOfSecondChances #NetGalley
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Thanks for the ARC of The Bookshop of Second Chances!

Thea has discovered her husband has been cheating on her. Her 40s seems like a hard time to start over, especially when she didn’t see it coming. She has to move out so her friend, the mistress, can move in with her husband. But as luck would have it she inherits a home from her Uncle Andrew at the same time. She leaves her sad flat and misery to go see what it is she inherited. 

The house is quaint and lovely but used to belong to a prestigious family who would very much like it back. It is also filled with a hefty collection of expensive books. She heads to town to meet with the bookseller to see if she can’t sell some of the stash. Its then she meets the grumpy shop owner, Edward. Not long after she talks Edward into letting her work in the bookshop. She ends up deciding to stay in the house for a while and works for Edward. Most of the town can’t stand him and it’s his brother who wants her property back. 

We follow Thea on a journey of self discovery. She tries to figure out what life looks like after divorce. What is it like to make friends, be yourself, figure out who you are. Thea & Edward develop a relationship filled with banter and an understanding of one another. Is Thea ready for more than friendship? Could she start over in this town and stay forever? Can Edward get past his grumpy ways and be capable of real human love?

This story was sweet. It had a very slow build and lots of detail. I would have preferred Edward to be built up a little differently to the reader. I was shocked when he became of interest to Thea as I had envisioned him a miserable, gross man. He did have some charm but I had written him off early on (as I thought Thea did.) It was beautiful to see the characters be so true to themselves that they could get past all the things that had broken them.  Fraser is a wonderful storyteller. I loved all the English/British wording that I had to figure out!
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What a charming and delightful book. I absolutely adored it. Loved the friendship that developed between Thea and grumpy bookstore owner Edward. I liked how she did not take any crap from him. There was good character development, and a great plot, and even though it did get a bit slow in the middle, I did like the slow-burn romance part of it. Would these two really become romantically involved? It was just the kind of read I needed and was quite satisfied with the ending. A beautiful setting that made me want to be there. This was a wonderful and very enjoyable book.

Thank you to Ballentine Books and NetGalley for the review copy.
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I loved everything about this charming book set in a small Scottish village amid a  adorable bookshop with a smart main charcter starting her life over. It is a wonderful read that I highly recommend. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the opportunity. My review opinion is my own. 

Thea i liked right away as a middle aged woman brave enough to start her life over after her husband of 19 years leaves her for one of her friends and she loses her job. ( Thank you to the author for portraying a real woman!). Both on Valentines Day.  Thea is a bright intelligent person who does not suffer fools.  She is determined to start her life over. When a relative leaves her a cottage and his antiquarian book collection in Scotland she does not  hesitate .  Once she arrives she finds a charming cottage in need of work and a wonderful collection of books she hopes to sell to the local bookseller.  The bookseller is a local curmudgeon who does not want her books but she is determined to sell these books so she can support herself while she settles into her new life. 

I loved this story . It swept me away to Scotland and the world of antiquarian books. I highly recommend this book to take you away to a pleasant world that you will love being a part off. Very well done to the author.
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The Bookshop of Second Chances, by Jackie Fraiser, is a heartwarming romance, set in rural Scotland. The characters are mature adults and lovers of books.  While this one did not have me burning the midnight oil, I did enjoy it.
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This was a sweet, cozy story. 

I love books set in Scotland/bookstores and this had that. It also was a story about finding yourself after everything in life changing.

Just super pleasant
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Overall this was a cute, light read, but I can’t help but compare it to other similar books like “The Flatshare,” and for that reason the rating isn’t as high for me. I enjoyed Thea and Edward as characters, and I actually REALLY loved hearing about the vintage book collections. But, I had a hard time getting really invested in their romance. There were parts where I wanted to shake them and say “SPIT IT OUT!” when they were talking with each other. I also wanted there to be a bit more drama! This book is pretty long, and for light, romance type reads I prefer them to be around 300ish pages, or I tend to lose interest. 

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!!
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I usually love books about bookshops. Veronica Henry's How to Find Love in a Bookshop is one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, I didn't feel the same way about Jackie Fraser's The Bookshop of Second Chances.

Thea Mottram's husband has just left her -- for her friend (ouch!). Conveniently, she learns that her great uncle has passed away and willed her his home in Scotland. Trying to pick up the pieces of her life, Thea decides to escape there and immediately loves it. She gets a job in the town bookshop, which is owned by grumpy Edward Maltravers, who is also in the middle of a long-standing feud with his brother, Charles.

As I tried to assess why I didn't love this book, I came up with a few main reasons. 1. The characters are unlikeable. Edward even tells Thea that he usually doesn't hire women. 2. Some of the plot points are not believeable. For example, Edward's feud with Charles is from something that happened when they were teenagers. Decades later, Edward continues to get revenge on Charles in an egregious way (there's that unlikeable thing again). 3. There are pages and pages and pages of dialogue. Everything gets spelled out to the reader instead of letting us discover things on our own.

But what I really didn't like in this book is that the bookshop isn't really part of the story. Yes, Thea and Edward work there so there are a few scenes there. But more action takes place in Edward's upstairs flat that in the bookshop itself. I just didn't get that cozy feeling that I usually get from these types of books. So if you like bookshop books, you may be disappointed in this one.

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