Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Printed Letter Bookshop” as Want to Read:
The Printed Letter Bookshop
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Printed Letter Bookshop

(Winsome #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  10,506 ratings  ·  1,483 reviews
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
Paperback, 324 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Printed Letter Bookshop, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Katherine Reay I don't know how I missed this. I am so sorry... NetGalley has ARCs and I will start giving away some soon too. I only have one at the moment -- might…moreI don't know how I missed this. I am so sorry... NetGalley has ARCs and I will start giving away some soon too. I only have one at the moment -- might need to ask for a few more. ;) There may be other ways too... Let me look into this. Thanks! (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,506 ratings  ·  1,483 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Printed Letter Bookshop
Larry H
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
4.5 stars

" 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 i
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dr-tbr-3
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 book
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
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 ...more
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 wor
Melissa Tagg
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 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 m
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
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
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
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 th
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.

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, marria
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copies
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 Lett
Lisa Wolf
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 fu
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-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 compliment
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 li
Okay, so this is about three women and a 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 mes
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
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 ...more
Nicole Chinnici
When I first came across The Printed Letter Bookshop, I immediately thought it would be right up my alley and was excited to get an advance copy through Netgalley. It didn’t take long once I opened it up and began reading to realize just how much I would love it!

This story is wrapped around the lives of three different women, Madeline, Janet, and Claire, and the bookshop that pulls them together. It is told through each of their perspectives in turn, slowly but surely unraveling their tales. Alt
Sarah Grace Grzy
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
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
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 inherit ...more
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 writ ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 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)
Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
I can't think of a cozier setting than a bookshop! The Printed Letter Bookshop is a beloved community haven just outside Chicago, and the person who makes it that way, Aunt Maddie, has just died at the beginning of the book- it opens with her funeral. Even though she is not alive during the story, she is very much a presence and influence throughout, thanks to Claire, Janet, Madeline, and several others whose lives were touched by her. I always enjoy this author's lovely manner of using words as ...more
Jocelyn Green
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.

Sentranced Jem
Aug 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-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.
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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! ...more
Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
There are two settings in novels that immediately make me feel at 'home': bakeries and bookshops. If a title includes the word "Bookshop", I'm instantly intrigued.

This was a charming yet emotionally powerful novel. I loved the charm that comes with the setting of a bookshop but also really loved how the characters were so invested in this particular store. I related to the passion that these characters have for reading and loved the references that were made to modern and historical literature.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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. S ...more
Rachel McMillan
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Slow Brewing Tea
  • The Construction of Cheer (Shiloh Ridge Ranch in Three Rivers #3)
  • The Summer Home #1 (Key Series, #1)
  • Oceans Apart
  • To the Moon and Back (The Baxter Family, #3)
  • Beach Rental (Emerald Isle, NC #1)
  • True to Me (By the Sea, #1)
  • Paper Wife
  • Fifty Words for Rain
  • The Joy Luck Club
  • Convergence
  • The Awakening of Miss Adelaide (The Women of Rock Creek Book 3)
  • All the Flowers in Paris
  • One Final Breath (Dive Team Investigations, #3)
  • The Fifth Avenue Story Society
  • My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love
  • My Utmost for His Highest
  • Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of several novels and one full length non-fiction work. Her upcoming novel, THE LONDON HOUSE, will release 11/30/2021.

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.c

Other books in the series

Winsome (2 books)
  • Of Literature and Lattes (Winsome #2)

Articles featuring this book

Calling all bibliophiles! What better way to celebrate the joy of reading than with a book about, well, books? To create this list, we took...
225 likes · 61 comments
“That's what books do, Maddie used to say; they are a conversation, and introduce us to ourselves and others.” 5 likes
“You could lose yourself in a book and, paradoxically, find yourself as well.” 4 likes
More quotes…