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Winsome #1

The Printed Letter Bookshop

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Love, friendship, and family find a home at the Printed Letter Bookshop

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline’s professional life takes an unexpected turn, and when a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. She begins to envision a new path for herself and for her aunt’s beloved shop—provided the women’s best combined efforts are not too little, too late.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is a captivating story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings, and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.

324 pages, Paperback

First published May 14, 2019

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About the author

Katherine Reay

16 books2,772 followers
Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of several novels and one full length non-fiction work.

Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University and is a wife, mother, rehabbing runner, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. She lives outside Chicago, IL.

You can meet her at www.katherinereay.com or on Facebook: KatherineReayBooks, Twitter: @katherine_reay or Instagram: @katherinereay.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,870 reviews
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
July 16, 2019
4.5 stars

"...it often isn't the events that haunt us, though those hold power and can harm us, it is the choices we make within those events we carry all our days."

Madeline Cullen's aunt Maddie was the owner of the Printed Letter Bookshop in Winsome, a small town outside of Chicago. One of Madeline's fondest memories was spending a few weeks working with her aunt and uncle in the quaint, beloved store, until a family incident caused a seemingly irreversible rift.

Almost 20 years later, Madeline is shocked to learn that her aunt left her the store, her house, and all of her possessions. Even more of a surprise, however, is that the store is in serious debt—while her aunt was fantastic to her customers, she wasn't much of a businesswoman. When Madeline leaves her prestigious law firm, she makes the decision to try and get the store back on a more solid financial footing to make it more attractive for purchase.

"That's what books do, Maddie used to say; they are a conversation, and introduce us to ourselves and to others."

Madeline isn't counting on the fierce loyalty of the store's two employees, Janet and Claire. Both are dealing with issues of their own, not to mention their grief over losing their friend, and they aren't eager to see Maddie's legacy sold to the highest bidder. For her part, Madeline is surprised by how much she comes to love the store, and even as it continues to struggle financially, she starts to hope for a miracle to turn things around.

The more time Madeline spends in the bookstore, the more she realizes that her assumptions about her aunt were drastically incorrect. She's more determined than ever to try and make things work, but setback after setback make that possibility even less of a reality. But where does she belong? What path should she follow for the rest of her life? And what would the end of the bookshop mean for Janet and Claire?

I love books about bookstores almost as much as I love bookstores themselves. Katherine Reay's The Printed Letter Bookshop is a terrific new addition to that genre. But in addition to the story about the special relationship between bookseller and customer, and how bookstores often are the heart of communities, this is a book about second chances and the choices we make based on misconceptions.

Beyond that, this is a book about friendship, love, and hope. The plot is a little predictable, but I was charmed from the start, and I couldn't put this down. I really enjoyed the characters Reay created, and how she wasn't afraid to give each flaws which made them more realistic and more interesting.

Thanks (I guess) to a case of insomnia, I read this in just a few hours. I went to sleep with a smile on my face, wishing there was a place like The Printed Letter Bookshop in my town. But at least I got to read about it.

NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction provided me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html.

You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for emma.
1,825 reviews48.5k followers
August 30, 2021
They say there's a first time for everything. I say I had to accidentally pick up a religious book sometime, and that time is now.

Or more accurately a month ago, when I read this.

I respond to the word "bookshop" in book titles the way runners respond to the starting gun, or swimmers respond to that weird beeping noise, or JK Rowling responds to hearing that her actions have consequences: I'm off to the races, no questions asked.

This turned out to be an overly sweet and moral and didactic read. Nice and fine, but not for me.

Bottom line: My actions have consequences (which is that I learned my lesson and will read synopses next time).


honestly i'm surprised that it took this long for me to accidentally pick up a religious book. seems like something i would have done already.

review to come / 2.5ish

tbr review

books about bookstores ❤️


challenging myself to read as many review copies as possible this month because i'm addicted to projects!

ARC 1: spaceman of bohemia
ARC 2: in search of us
ARC 3: aerialists
ARC 4: the sound of drowning
ARC 5: unleaving
ARC 6: the other side of luck
ARC 7: romanov
ARC 8: the storm keeper's island
ARC 9: gut check
ARC 10: when force meets fate
ARC 11: sisters in hate
ARC 12: before i disappear
ARC 13: big time
ARC 14: stolen science
ARC 15: have a little faith in me
ARC 16: invitation to a bonfire
ARC 17: the splendor
ARC 18: how to be luminous
ARC 19: the little women cookbook
ARC 20: while we were dating
ARC 21: the lost girls
ARC 22: wait for it
ARC 23: your life has been delayed
ARC 24: a million things
ARC 25: the royals next door
ARC 26: the love hypothesis
ARC 27: we light up the sky
ARC 28: the printed letter bookshop
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,127 reviews30.3k followers
May 13, 2019
My first book from Katherine Reay, and I was endeared to it immediately!

Madeline grew up in a bookshop working with her Aunt Maddie. Twenty years later, the shop is hers. But Madeline is a different person who’s been through some significant losses. The Printed Letter Bookshop is a shadow of what it once was, and that just makes things worse.

Madeline is considering selling the workshop.

Her employees, Janet and Claire, don’t think that’s a good idea. They have too much to lose because the bookshop has meant stability and healing for each of them.

Things start looking up for Madeline professionally and romantically, and she quickly reconsiders selling the store.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is a charming and cozy read. The characters are complex and dynamic. I loved observing the antics between Madeline and her employees. Best of all? It’s a book about books! The bookshop setting had me fully-invested as did the strong storytelling.

Overall, The Printed Letter Bookshop is about starting over and second chances. It’s filled with hope about the power of friendships and other relationships.

I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
Profile Image for Erin.
2,960 reviews485 followers
May 14, 2019
An endearing story about friendship and forgiveness that will leave you with a lengthy list of books to read. Narrated by three different women- Madeline, Janet, and Claire, Katherine Reay creates a story and a setting that when I was finished, I found myself saddened to say goodbye to these characters. Each woman is hurting from past mistakes, but armed with book lists written by a dearly departed friend and the strength of each other, along with a failing bookshop, Madeline, Janet, and Claire are about to learn about themselves and each other.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Goodreads Review published 14/05/19
Publication Date 14/05/19
Profile Image for Melindam.
633 reviews275 followers
June 12, 2020
3,7 stars


I don't know why it took me so long to read this book. For some reason I kept delaying, but I am glad I finally did.

It was very slow to take off and I almost gave up on it when at 30% percent it finally and luckily changed rhythm and pace and things were starting to happen. From then on it firmly gripped me until I finished.

Madeline Cullen is a 33-year-old lawyer, working for an established, elite law office in Chicago, where she puts in long hours of work to become a junior partner.
Though her aunt (his father's sister) lives only 40 miles away in a small Illinois town, Madeline rarely makes the time to meet her. It's not only that she is busy; her father and her aunt had fallen out over financial matters some 20 years ago and have not spoken since. Madeline does not want to be disloyal to her father by getting too close to his sister.

Then Aunt Maddie dies, leaving everything to Madeline: her house, her car, her struggling bookshop and huge debts. Madeline does not want any of this. She doesn't care, not does she understand why she was singled out as sole heir of everything.
But life unfortunately has other, unpleasant surprises in store for her: her ex-boyfriend gets the junior partnership and she decides to quit her job.

Aunt Maddie's friends and employees, Janet (after a painful divorce, with the knowledge that she is the one to blame and with grown-up children who hardly talk to her) and Claire (with 2 teenager kids who treat her as a housekeeper and a husband who is never home) are holding their breath about what would happen to the beloved bookshop that has been a sort haven for them, which they just cannot find in their private lives. They are appalled to hear that Madeline wants to sell the shop. The only thing in the way is that it's not profitable. Madeline needs to work with them to turn things around financially.
But while they are working on this together, a strong bond of support, understanding, acceptance and finally friendship grows between them that gets seriously tested time and again before each of them find their happy endings.

The journey they are taking is long, painful and hard, but they not only get support from each other, but also from the books on the personal booklists Aunt Maddie left for all of them to pave their way.
I loved this idea very much as well as the references to the books that were made.
The bookshop was also a lovely setting.

The story is shown from the alternating POVs of Madeline, Janet and Claire, each with their own voices and stories. While it was a bit hard to connect to them at first, they slowly grew on me and I liked that all of them were characters with flaws.

I also liked the fact that while there was a "romance" in the story, it was kept in the background most of the time, it was not the focus of the book.

Highly recommended if you are in search of a feel-good story.

ARC provided by the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Melissa Tagg.
Author 36 books1,452 followers
February 5, 2019
I loved this book so, so, so much...and on the one hand, that doesn't surprise me at all, because I've loved all of Katherine Reay's books. But on the other hand, I was surprised at how personally touching this story was...it could not possibly have landed in my life at a better time. I finished it weeks ago and I'm still thinking about it!

It's Katherine Reay, so of course the writing is lovely. I adored the bookshop setting ... and I especially loved the relationships formed between the three main characters—three women with their own hurts and haunts and hopes. Janet was honestly the most surprising to me...she's prickly and hard, but she ended up tugging my heart so strongly. Claire's story is one, I think, that many, many women will relate to. And Madeline was so relatable and so believable.

I feel like whatever I write in this review isn't going to do justice to how profoundly affected I was by this book. But suffice it to say, I will definitely be reading it again!
Profile Image for Victoria.
412 reviews319 followers
March 20, 2021
That’s what books do…they are a conversation and introduce us to ourselves and others.

In the same vein as The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, this book transports us to a small town bookstore where three women find their lives at various turning points, led by the gentle hand of the woman whose legacy will impact each in transformative ways.

This was an engaging story, the characters all relatable, but it was Maddie who is on every page in spirit if not corporeal, which I found most compelling. It’s a gifted author who makes you miss a character who has died before you even start reading, her presence is palpable, loving and often humorous.

Good, fully dimensional characters let us live their lives vicariously, and bad ones tell us about the authors.

This is what a friend recently coined ‘light with substance’ and for this book I’d like to add, lovingly written. I don't often mark passages in women’s fiction, the genre is not known for the literary turn of a phrase, but bookmark I did.

He hasn’t read a list of books full of people experiencing far worse and yet understanding that there is more that matters in a life than what happens in a moment, or on this earth; that it often isn’t the events that haunt us, though those hold power and can harm us, it is the choices we make within those events we carry all our days.

Books set in bookstores are bookworm catnip and I could not pass this one up after GR friend DeB gave it a glowing review. Thank you for the recommendation or I might have missed this lovely story.

Highly recommend this engaging story about the life changing power of friendship.

DeB's Review
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,178 reviews617 followers
April 22, 2019
The Printed Letter Bookshop is the type of independent bookshop we all wish we had in our neighborhood. Located in a little town outside Chicago on Lake Michigan, it’s not just full of wonderful books of all genres, but holds lots of author events and has friendly staff who can help you find that perfect book for yourself or someone else. A bookshop that really celebrates the art of reading.

When the owner of the bookshop, Maddie Cullen dies, the whole town grieves her passing. None more so than her two friends and employees Janet and Claire who are worried about what will become of them and the bookshop if the new owner, Maddie's estranged niece, Madeline, decides to sell it. Madeline is a corporate lawyer working for a big Chicago law company who certainly doesn’t have time to run a bookshop, but the shop has been running at a loss while Maddie was sick and will need to get back in the black before it goes on the market so Maddie is forced to become involved in the running of the bookshop. Through working with Janet and Claire she comes to know more about Maddie and wonders if she really understands the family rift that had made her keep her distance.

This is a delightfully written novel about the three women (Janet, Claire and Madeline) and how their relationship with each other and Maddie forces them to re-evaluate their lives and find what is missing.

With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Thomas Nelson for a digital ARC to read.
Profile Image for Krista.
805 reviews60 followers
May 14, 2019
Rating: 4 bookish stars

“The Printed Letter Bookshop” was an endearing bit of Chick-Lit, (or Women’s Fiction) that for some reason I just couldn't put down. I read most of it in a single day. I got pulled into the story and couldn’t drag myself away. I loved the bookshop setting and all the book references. At the end of the book, the author provided a list of the books from which quotes were used throughout her story. I appreciate that the list was provided. I was delighted to see how many of the quotes I recognized. That kind of book trivia just makes me happy.

Katherine Reay has written a well-balanced book about family; be it birth family, or ‘family of choice’. The story’s main stage is the Printed Letter Bookshop. It’s a cozy small town bookshop that widowed Aunt Maddie cherished, and lovingly struggled kept open with help from two of her ‘family of choice’ family members, Janet and Claire. Janet is divorced, unhappy, snippy and brilliantly artistic with the window book displays. Claire is fairly new to town, quiet, and behind the scenes is valiantly trying to keep the bookshop afloat while caring for her teenaged kids and oft absent husband.

When Aunt Maddie passes away and leaves the bookshop to her niece, Madeline, everyone is surprised and a bit dismayed, no-one more so than Madeline herself. Madeline was estranged from Aunt Maddie for many years due to a family fallout. Madeline is working hard to make partner at a prestigious law firm in Chicago, and fully intends to sell the bookshop as quickly as possible.

Then life happens, and it starts throwing curveballs at everyone. What if Madeline decided to drop her law career and make a home in Aunt Maddie’s house and try to keep the bookstore afloat? Can Janet and Claire with together, and work with Madeline to overcome the obstacles? What if there is a touch of romance? The dramatic tension of all these elements keeps the book moving along. These are the reasons that I found myself unable to put the book down. Aunt Maddie left a list of reading lists for all three ladies, and the lists of course fit their needs expertly. There are references in the later stages of the book to these books. I loved how the author elegantly and appropriately weaved the books and their quotes into the circumstances of Madeline, Janet and Claire’s lives.

Reading this book was such a nice way to spend an afternoon and evening. By the end of the story I was cheering for all the characters, and pleased with the ultimate ending. I thought that reading the book was time well spent.

‘Thank-You’ to NetGalley; the publisher, Thomas Nelson--FICTION; and the author, Katherine Reay; for providing a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Emilee.
476 reviews94 followers
January 14, 2019
My first book of 2019 was a winner! I throughly enjoyed Janet, Claire and Madeline’s stories. I was deeply touched by these characters and their relationships. I hated for this book to end. Katherine Reay did a beautiful job with this novel.

I won an Advance Reader’s Copy. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Bianca.
1,046 reviews902 followers
October 14, 2020

Imagine inheriting a book shop, a beautiful home, a car ... That's what happened to Madeline Cullen, corporate lawyer, thirty-three, on her way to a partnership in a downtown Chicago law firm.

This is a story from rich to richer, albeit in much nicer ways, as one wins new friends, meaning and love. If only real life was like that. I guess that's one reason for reading fiction.
The characters were well-drawn and very realistic. Life with its mundanities, relationship problems, mothering, marriage, divorce, miscommunication, middle age and its new challenges are some of the issues that are approached, while also trying to make a bookshop survive and prosper.
This was pleasant enough, albeit predictable, but I had predicted that already and that's why I chose to listen to it. ;-). It was so lovely to listen to Hillary Huber again.

NB: How terrible is this cover?
Profile Image for Fareya.
259 reviews860 followers
May 20, 2019
As a self proclaimed book lover, I am stating the obvious when I say I love books, but what I like even more is reading books about books and bookshops. The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay is delightful story about books and a bookshop also encompassing hope, friendship, forgiveness and second chances. It’s about finding joy in things we love, letting go of the past and embracing life’s uncertainty.

At the heart of the story is a quaint small-town independent bookshop – The Printed Letter, that Madeline Cullen inherits from her aunt. A successful Chicago lawyer and about to be made partner at her current firm, Madeline does not have the time or inclination to continue running the barely thriving bookshop. In fact, the inheritance came as a shock to her. Almost two decades back, after an unfortunate turn of events strained her dad’s relationship with his sister, Madeline cut off ties too with her once-beloved aunt. But then why was her dad so full of regret at her aunt’s funeral? Did she make a mistake without knowing the whole story? How will she find out what actually happened all those years ago, when no one wants to talk about it?

While Madeline is struggling with her thoughts about her aunt and the bookshop, several miles away across town, two women, Janet and Claire are also wondering about The Printed Letter Bookshop’s fate. Janet is a fifty something recent divorcee, and one of the two employees at the the bookshop. She lost her closest friend and confidante with Maddie’s death. Both her kids keep her at an arm’s length siding with their father since after the divorce. Maddie’s death has been hard on her and she desperately wants to save the shop and thereby her friend’s lifework and legacy.

Claire, the other employee has recently moved to town and feels like she’s still settling in. The Printed Letter is the only place that makes her happy, she likes being in control and now with the uncertainty associated with the shop, she feels all control slipping out. After all, what is it that she can do?

The The Printed Letter Bookshop is what brings these three women together, and as they get to know and help each other, a strong bond of friendship forms between them, Madeline’s aunt Maddie being the common thread. Days turn into weeks and the goal of getting the shop ready to be sold transforms into saving the shop. Alongside we also see the transformations occurring in the lives of the three women. This story isn’t plot elaborate but rather character oriented. Over its course we see, every character growing in their own way towards overcoming fears, accepting the whims of fate and letting go of what one can’t control.

One thing that particularly delighted me about this book was the innumerable quotes and bookish references throughout. I had so much fun trying to figure out which books were being referenced. The author thoughtfully lists all of the books mentioned directly/indirectly in the story towards the end. After having finished reading this, I spent another hour browsing about the books I hadn’t heard of, and adding a bunch of books to my TBR. How often does that happen!

A cozy, charming read, The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay is an ode to independent bookshops and book lovers and I’ll recommend this if you’re looking for an endearing, feel-good story to curl up with. I am definitely going to keep an eye out for the author’s future releases and meanwhile will be checking out her previous works.

** An ARC was provided by Thomas Nelson and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. **
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,336 followers
December 29, 2018
Okay, so this is about three women and a bookshop...how much better does it get? Oh, did I say troubled bookshop and troubled ladies? Yep. This is a slow unfolding of everything that’s going on, and plenty of small-town intrigue going on as well. Broken relationships, troubled kids, and so on. Can working together around the books, trying to save the bookstore, do anything to turn these women’s lives around?

This one’s more of a literary fiction than her previous ones have been, and the faith message is very subtle, but present: true peace is only found in God, not in an affair or in a bottle of wine. General market readers would probably hardly even notice it.

I will say a word of caution about the books quoted. Unlike Dear Mr. Knightley, which was the reason I discovered a few more clean authors (notably Anne Perry’s mysteries), this book is about a bookstore and there are many, many books mentioned and/or discussed. Some are clean and some aren’t (Lolita, etc). So for the younger readers out there, I’d advise checking any reading list with an adult or a more mature friend before making out a want-to-read list.

Content: drinking, books mentioned in passing that have content in them

Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for a free ebook. A positive review was not required.
Profile Image for Lisa Wolf.
1,619 reviews177 followers
April 30, 2020
What a difference a year makes!

I originally started this book in 2019, at a time when my attention was elsewhere. Here's what I wrote about it: DNF at 26%. Such a slow start. Nothing is happening. And two of the main characters so far seem interchangeable. I can't find a reason to keep going.

And now? I read the book, and found it charming! It's a lovely story about friendship, life's changes, finding new meaning when least expected... and books!

I'm so glad I gave this book another chance! My full review is up at Bookshelf Fantasies.
Profile Image for Beth.
779 reviews317 followers
June 6, 2019
A bookshop, lists of books, and friendship - what more could a bibliophile want out of a story? A book about books and bookshops and bookish things is a delight to be sure because "that's what books do...they are a conversation, and introduce us to ourselves and to others," as the beloved Maddie of this book says.

These are just the base elements that blend together to make the rich, layered tale that is The Printed Letter Bookshop. More than "just" books, this story is about making peace with life and those in it and choosing to be in charge of your own story: "It's like you live in those classics you love, in some odd third-person narration, as if you aren't in charge of your own story. Who is, if not you, for goodness' sake?"

The story is about three women, Madeline, Claire, and Janet, and also one person and place around which their lives meet: Maddie, the owner of a bookshop, and the bookshop itself. Though at first I was taken aback by the three different narrators, I ended up liking all three of them quite a bit. While I typically prefer only one or two narrators, I felt equally interested in the lives of all three women. I enjoyed watching the relationship between them unfold. I loved the realness of each one, their struggles and their triumphs, and the often messy yet wonderful nature of life shines throughout the entire story.

Reay has written another charming yet deep story that is sure to meet a lot of readers right where they are in life.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not require to give a positive review, and the opinions expressed here are my own.
Profile Image for Staci.
1,705 reviews518 followers
May 12, 2019

Katherine Reay continues a literary theme in The Printed Letter Bookshop although in a slightly different way from her prior novels. There is a cozy feel about reading the pages despite the very difficult realities covered.

Three women struggling with different aspects of life find solidarity, fulfillment and guidance in a small town bookshop. I adored all three women and loved the chemistry between them.

Simply delightful and highly recommended.

My gratitude to the author for a complimentary ARC of the novel. I was not required to write a review and all opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Max.
750 reviews19 followers
February 3, 2019
A great book for people who love books! Usually I don't read books in this genre but I venture outside my comfort zone once in a while when I see a book blurb that interests me, like this one. Really liked the story setting, Katherine Reay is a great writer. The story gripped me even though the characters weren't very interesting to me. Janet especially didn't interest me, I thought she was kind of rude and unlikeable. But it worked for the story and she too got her happy ending, sort of. I didn't really understand all the money problems that were pitched in the beginning of the book, those were hard to follow. Second half was easier to get into. So, in short, enjoyable book for the genre, just okay for me.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC. These are my opinions and are in no way influenced by the fact I got the ARC for free.
Profile Image for Anna.
759 reviews514 followers
November 22, 2018
When it comes to bookish things – characters who are readers, writers, or publishers; classics retellings; a real-life author’s fictionalized story – I pretty much read any genre. When it comes to contemporary romance novels, there has to be something more than family drama or the love story to draw me in: a cosy little bookshop is one of those things!

However, the story just was not gripping! There were things that I anticipated from the opening chapters, which were soon confirmed: the will, the love interest (a quasi-meet-cute at your aunt’s funeral does make for a creepy relationship start in my books), what is going to happen with the bookshop. At first, I didn’t like any of the three female characters, particularly Janet, and although Claire and Madeline warmed up to me, it wasn’t enough to keep me engaged. I also couldn’t buy into Maddie’s - Madeline’s aunt - blind love for her niece…

Unfortunately, this meant that I couldn't continue with the novel. It was indeed unfortunate, as from the description it looked like a charming bookish read, but it simply wasn't for me.

If you are looking for a novel that portrays female friendship in a Hallmark type of setting and has plenty of book-related treats, this is a handy pick.

*Thanks to NetGalley & Thomas Nelson for the opportunity to read a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. The Printed Letter Bookshop RELEASES MAY 14, 2019.*
Profile Image for Sarah Grace Grzy.
629 reviews831 followers
June 14, 2019
This took me three weeks to finish (a ridiculously long time if you're me), but I'm blaming that on this busy season of life, not the book.

Because I loved this book.

I fell in love with Reay's writing style when I read A Portrait of Emily Price awhile ago, so I was excited when I first saw The Printed Letter Bookshop. Also, that cover is so whimsical, I was instantly intrigued! And I was not disappointed.

The Printed Letter has a somewhat slow and even meandering at times plot, but I would not say that is a bad thing in this case. (Although it certainly didn't help my reading slump) It was, in fact, a delightfully fresh breath of air after several dud reads and fast-paced suspense books. I fell in love with this fictional bookshop, its people, and its city. Reay creates a beautiful location to set her story.

Our main characters are three women--all in different walks of life. Madeline, a young attorney; Claire, a forty-something mom and wife; and Janet, a divorced, middle-aged woman who is trying to find her place in this life. They all are, trying to find their place. And that alone makes each of these characters incredibly relatable, I believe. While the POV jumps were confusing at times for me, I think Reay does a fabulous job keeping each of these characters unique and individual, all the way down to switching up the points of view, having both third-person and first-person points of view--something you don't see a lot, and some may find unenjoyable, but I personally liked that decision. They each had their own beautiful and complete storyline, yet the three interwove so perfectly to form the novel as a whole.

Reay tackles some difficult and serious issues in The Printed Letter, not the least of which being adultery, divorce, and teen issues. Yet she does so with incredible tact and realisticness, weaving lines of grace, forgiveness, and mercy throughout the pages of this lovely story.

Overall, I highly recommend The Printed Letter Bookshop! Katherine Reay is an incredible author and I look forward to reading more.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for promotional purposes from NetGalley. I was not required to write an honest review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.
Profile Image for Jocelyn Green.
Author 30 books1,231 followers
September 24, 2019
What a charming novel! I loved the character development of just about everybody we met in the story. They all certainly had their own journeys and arcs, which is great because at first I didn't really like two of the three main characters. I may have scolded them both from time to time--but apparently it worked because they came around. :) Every bookstore should be selling this book and displaying it proudly. It's the kind of book that makes me want to patronize my local bookstores even more.

I really appreciated seeing not just a relationship develop between the two single, never-been-marrieds, but within a 20-year marriage and between an ex-husband and ex-wife, too. By giving us Claire, Madeline, and Janet, the author has given us a well-rounded picture of love and forgiveness in multiple forms.

All in all, a lovely book that warmed my book-loving heart.
Profile Image for Chanel.
221 reviews58 followers
December 27, 2022
The Printed Letter Bookshop was a charming read that effortlessly enveloped me into an inviting bookish community, unique friendships, and transformative journeys of growth.

I absolutely loved this book! I was blown away by the depth of this story and how the writing style of each narrative heightened my enjoyment.

I also loved how I could easily relate to the main characters, though messy and flawed, and not limit them to their struggles and mistakes. Instead, I found myself empathizing with their feelings of hurt, irrelevance, and regret while marveling as they genuinely blossomed on their emotional journeys. In the end, each character arc was very satisfying and exceptionally done.

Overall, this story was an absolute bookish delight! It's a story to snuggle with and savor, then place on your keeper shelf to read again and again. I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Judy.
1,098 reviews
April 30, 2019
I would love to have this bookshop in my neighborhood and would spend as much time as possible there. Maddie Cullen, the owner of Printed Letter Bookshop, was an exceptional woman who loved books and people. When she died she left everything she owned to her niece, Madeline who is an attorney in Chicago and trying to make partner. Maddie loved Madeline dearly, but something had happened with Madeline's father and his sister Maddie that made Madeline distance herself from Maddie. When she inherits Maddie's home and bookshop Madeline hardly knows what to do and her first instinct is to get it in shape and sell it all. The two employees of the bookshop, Janet and Claire, are both very talented women in their own ways and when Madeline takes over the shop they don't know where their futures lie.

I was charmed by the story of this bookshop and all the women who worked there. It was a lovely book that makes you remember that relationships and friends and family are the most important things in life and that you should cherish them.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson--FICTION through Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Laura.
559 reviews89 followers
March 9, 2021
I really loved this one. It did have a slower start, but once I had a good feel for who the characters were, the story took flight, and I couldn’t help but to fall in love with Madeline, Claire, and Janet. At first, I was simply excited about the bookish cover and bookshop setting, but ultimately, it was the reflective, poignant writing, in typical Reay style, that won me over. This story is one that I will want to read again. I would highly recommend this one to those who enjoy women’s fiction, and those who love reading bookish stories.
Profile Image for Kara.
606 reviews67 followers
May 13, 2019
Seriously. How does Katherine Reay write such perfection every time?! Once again, this particular story and these particular characters gripped my heart from page one and refused to let me have it back until I came to the final pages. Every character, every interaction, every heartache, every uncertainty, every joy, I was right there with them for everything. And my poor heart lost pieces of itself while finding pieces of itself all at the same time! Like I said, Ms. Reay just has a gift of writing characters and their respective journeys that resonate with me.

The three women at the center of this story are far from perfect. That's what makes them so unforgettable. They are real people with real heartache and pain. They are grieving, having just lost an amazing woman who was important to each of them for differing reasons. As Madeleine, Janet, and Clair slowly begin moving forward from that point of loss and grief, they stumble through figuring out how to do life on this side of things. It's hard, it's messy, and they all make a lot of mistakes. But it's not perfection I was looking for when I began this story, it was the journey they took. Watching these women, and the people in the lives, as they circle and spin in myriads of doubt and confusion, yet somehow, little by little, as they begin to see the light and the hope that's been waiting for them to discover it...it's beautiful. Yes, it is messy, but it's beautiful. And it completely connected with me!

Like I said, Ms. Reay always seems to have a knack of understanding parts of my heart and then writing characters around that, but so much of the lostness inside each of these ladies felt just like mine! For all the chaos, there is a lot of quiet and piece by piece these women begin finding parts of themselves they'd forgotten all about.

Being the lover of stories that I am (and a HUGE fan of Ms. Reay's! :), I knew I'd enjoy this story before I even began it. But I underestimated Ms. Reay's ability to speak such truths in such gentle and heart-tugging ways. From the bookshop that I wish actually existed so I could go visit and maybe stay forever, to the characters who became my friends, to the sweet bits of romance that entwines its way through the story, to the loveliness that filters through every word and sentence in every chapter, this little book is full of delight and charm. I fell in love and refuse to go back to life without this heart-satisfying story in it!

I could, doubtless, gush on for paragraphs more, but I will leave you with this. Go read it. As soon as you are able you download it or drive to a bookshop of your own and buy it and bring it home. Or go to your local library and borrow it! Because you need this story in your life, friends. Trust me. You'll thank me later. :)

**I received a copy from Netgalley and Thomas Nelson. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,976 reviews552 followers
May 19, 2019
The Printed Letter Bookshop is a story of friendship and family. I enjoyed seeing the friendship between the main characters grow throughout the story. I loved how the book wasn't just a light, easy read -- it had some difficult moments.

The romance was interesting. I can't say that I was 100% a fan of it in the beginning, but as the story progressed I grew to like it and the ending was good...It was sweet, in fact. ;)

All in all, The Printed Letter Bookshop was a great read. It was written very well and held my interest throughout. I found myself wanting to pick it back up whenever I had to stop reading. I recommend it to fans of contemporary reads.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
Profile Image for Rachel McMillan.
Author 25 books1,059 followers
January 20, 2019
From Endorsement:

The Printed Letter Bookshop is a softly elegant and invitingly intricate ode to books and the power of their communal solace. With the charm and insight of Nina George and the sheer reckless book love of Jenny Colgan, The Printed Letter Bookshop enfolds the reader in a welcome literary embrace. Reay’s natural talent of putting the reader at ease in her fictional world is evident from the first page. But the story is also deceptively accessible, for the moment you fall into its continued spell, you are confronted by a mature narrative that allows three remarkably different women to become the unlikely heroines of their own stories.
Profile Image for Jamie Lapeyrolerie .
516 reviews119 followers
January 28, 2019
Reay’s best book and I love her books. This one was fabulous and when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. I absolutely loved it! Go get it right now!

(Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley. Although I’m buying a copy for my shelf too)
Profile Image for Penny.
Author 3 books24 followers
November 29, 2018
The Printed Letter Bookshop is a beautiful story of love, loss, misunderstanding, friendship, and joy. I'd love to have a bookshop like this one in my neighborhood. The store itself is an amazing character. The two ladies who work in the shop create the perfect tension to carry the story through to the end. I enjoyed watching Maddie grow into the person her aunt knew she could be. And I love the gardener. He's a sweetheart. Katherine Reay's books always captivate me, this one was no exception. She adds in so many wonderful literary references. This is definitely a story for book lovers. It would make a wonderful gift for the avid reader. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Samantha.
393 reviews1 follower
April 7, 2020
A book about books and a bookshop, a wonderful story of friendship, community, forgiveness, growth and so much more! I loved all three narrators and seeing the struggles they had and how they overcame them and in the end found lasting friendships and forgiveness with the ones they loved the most. A must read! And I'm positive I will read this one again!
Profile Image for Sentranced Jem.
1,090 reviews572 followers
August 10, 2020
3.5 stars

I am not even ashamed to say that I totally picked this book by because of the cover and the title.
A slow build up but an enjoyable read none the less. I think the perfect word to describe The Printed Letter Bookshop would be charming.
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