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The Bookshop of Second Chances

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A woman desperate to turn a new page heads to the Scottish coast and finds herself locked in a battle of wills with an infuriatingly handsome bookseller in this utterly heartwarming debut, perfect for readers of Evvie Drake Starts Over.

Thea Mottram is having a bad month. Her husband of nearly twenty years has just left her for one of her friends, and she is let go from her office job--on Valentine's Day, of all days. Bewildered and completely lost, Thea doesn't know what to do. But when she learns that a distant great uncle in Scotland has passed away, leaving her his home and a hefty antique book collection, she decides to leave Sussex for a few weeks. Escaping to a small coastal town where no one knows her seems to be exactly what she needs.

Almost instantly, Thea becomes enamored with the quaint cottage, comforted by its cozy rooms and shaggy, tulip-covered lawn. The locals in nearby Baldochrie are just as warm, quirky, and inviting. The only person she can't seem to win over is bookshop owner Edward Maltravers, to whom she hopes to sell her uncle's antique novel collection. His gruff attitude--fueled by an infamous, long-standing feud with his brother, a local lord--tests Thea's patience. But bickering with Edward proves oddly refreshing and exciting, leading Thea to develop feelings she hasn't felt in a long time. As she follows a thrilling yet terrifying impulse to stay in Scotland indefinitely, Thea realizes that her new life may quickly become just as complicated as the one she was running from.

431 pages, Paperback

First published November 17, 2020

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Jackie Fraser

4 books284 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,047 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,124 reviews39.1k followers
December 29, 2021
3.5 please take me to this fascinating rural village to Scotland so I can take a break from this madness and I can get lost in the magical power of various book bundles, reminding myself of second chances of happy life stars!

Yes: I adored too many things about this book but in the meantime some parts didn’t work well for me. But it was still quiet better than my late self discovery- romance- second chances- fresh start- feel good fiction experiences.

Especially Thea Mottram is badass, smart, quick witted heroine stole my heart at the opening of the story. The realistic way she deals with her cheating bastard husband who was having affair with her best friend behind her back, living her house in despair, her honest humiliation, resentment, anger made me resonate with her.

Most of the romcom, chic lit stories have the same kind of beginning I’ve read lately. The MC gets dumbed or cheated, she/ he also loses her house and job, needing a fresh start. But at this book, the heroine’s pain and struggle parts were real and emotional. It was genuine and definitely not full of cliches.

After being slapped by the unluckiest hand she was recently dealt, Thea finds out her great-uncle she barely knows just died and left her a huge collection of valuable books and a house located in rural village of Scotland.
This is a great chance to change her location for a while for gathering her thoughts how she will do with her new life and of course if she sells the house and those valuable books she may solve her financial problems.

She travels there to meet with her uncle’s solicitor to learn more about the will. She meets with charismatic Maltravers Brothers- charming Charles, Lord Hollinshaw who buys all the houses around the village, interested to her house and and his estranged, very grumpy, bookshop owner Edward also made a quite memorable impression.

As you may imagine Edward has his own troubles, bottled up resentments, family problems. But of course Thea has her own ways to break his walls. So enemies to friends and becoming lovers cycle worked fine with them.

The thing that bothered me so much is I didn’t believe in their chemistry so much. Lately I read so many frenemies theme stories and I wanted to see more sparks, passion, sassy banters, pull-push, angsty manners between them. But I didn’t see earth shattering, heartwarming love growing on them. Don’t get me wrong, I loved both of the characters individually. But I didn’t find their love story accurate. Just because of that I lowered my stars.

But instead of that, it was still well written, soft, sweet, enjoyable, uplifting, feel-good novel! It’s impossible to love a book about the books! I still recommend it as a great, heart warming, easy, lovely holiday read!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing/ Ballantine Books for sharing this lovely arc with me in exchange my honest opinions.
Profile Image for Brandy.
901 reviews34 followers
September 7, 2020
Ok, apologies for yelling, but I NEED MORE BOOKS WITH MATURE WOMEN! And by mature I mean, not 22 and trying to find the meaning of life. I digress. This book was brilliant! I loved Thea and her sense of humor and her willingness to tell people what she thinks rather than trying to beat around the bush. Her husband just left her for after 19 years for someone she thought was her friend (rude) and she’s suddenly inherited a house in the middle of nowhere Scotland. She meets the local gentry, including Charles who is Lord Something and quite posh and charming, and Edward, Charles’ older brother who gave up the title and is quite grumpy. I love the characters, there is a real depth to them. And I love the bookshop!!! And mostly, I love Thea who is broken hearted but still strong as she is trying to figure out her life and her next steps.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,191 reviews34.9k followers
May 2, 2021
3.5 stars

And so, the journey begins....

Thea's journey begins when she loses her job and finds out that her husband was having an affair with her friend. Having endured that shocker, she learns that she has inherited a home from her great uncle in Scotland. So off she goes, to get some time away, to heal, to cope with the shock of betrayal and to go through her uncle’s things. There she must decide will she sell the home, or will she keep it?

What was meant to be a short trip, lasts longer as she slowly becomes a member of the community and decides to get a job. Not any old job, but a job in a bookstore owned by Edward Maltravers, a gruff and grumpy man known for his long-standing feud with his brother.

Journeys....We all know we are going on them when we pick up a romance book. We pretty much know how it is going to end - it is the getting there that matters! Thea is shocked and hurt, needing time away but finds a community. Edward has never gotten close to others and has his own baggage.

There were times I thought Thea was too nice, especially to her cheating husband. I would not be letting him keep the house. I would have thrown him out, telling him to go live with what's her name while I burned his clothes in the front yard...but I digress...Thea is too nice and too understanding.

Is this book a little cliché? A scorned woman falling for the town rogue. Perhaps, but it is enjoyable, and I liked their banter. This is a great hang-out-on-the-couch and spend the day reading type of book. It's not too heavy, it’s not too sappy, it deals with real life issues, the characters are likeable, and the setting is wonderful. Plus, the title is very apt. Both characters are getting second chances in this book.

My only complaint is that their relationship did not smolder or have an heat to it. This is not a bodice ripper but I would expect there to be a little more angst here. I really enjoyed their friendship but missed the yearning and lust.

Thank you to Random House Publishing- Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com
Profile Image for Kimberly.
226 reviews34 followers
September 18, 2020
Thank you Netgalley for this book!

The beginning of this book had me chuckling a bit, but then it started drifting to a far away land and I just got lost. Not in a good way. The characters are flat and I couldn't connect with any of them.
I literally rolled my eyes 20% into the book after I read, "No girls allowed!" When the main character inquires about a job opening at the local bookstore. When she asks why he won't hire girls, the owner says, "because they fall in love with me or I fall in love with them." *Cringe*
There isn't a lot of witty banter or chemistry between the two main characters and I just felt....bored.

This book felt like a bowl of plain popcorn. No salt, no butter, no carmel cheese mix, just plain popcorn. Like you keep eating it because it's there, but there isn't much flavor.
I can appreciate the book for what it is, but it wasn't for me.
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books996 followers
November 19, 2020
4.5 stars rounded up
I’d read two (good) suspense novels in a row, so I needed a change of pace, and this well-written novel was perfect. It’s set in Scotland, a beautiful country I adore, and since I’m not traveling physically anytime soon, at least my mind can go on a trip someplace. This is not a fast-paced, plot-driven story, so if that’s what you’re looking for, this isn’t the book for you. There are times when the narrator, Thea, describes rooms in far more detail than I’d ever need. Also, in some parts we’re really in her mind about quotidian stuff like her reflecting on her finances, which, at this time in her life, are a wee bit tricky because she left her husband after discovering he was having an affair with someone she thought was her friend, which means she’s owed half of a house but doesn’t have the money yet.

When she inherits a large manor in Scotland from an uncle she barely knew but shared her love of books, Thea travels to this small Scottish town to see if she should sell the estate or convert the property into something she can rent. Plus, there is an elaborate library filled with rare books that she could sell. Thea had been made redundant from her job, and with her unexpected inheritance, she doesn’t have to find a job right away.

She discovers that she likes the town and decides to stay on a bit, and, to fill her time, finds a low-paying but enjoyable job in a bookstore owned by an irascible man who, in his late forties, is just a few years older than she is. She’s still healing from the end of being with a man she loved and trusted for almost twenty years. At this point, she’s certain she’ll never find love again. So yes, you can guess what happens, but the attraction doesn’t happen overnight. Her turmoil from the loss of her marriage and her reluctance to enter into a relationship with a man who has had considerable issues with women is not something she enters into lightly.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES IN THE STATES MAY 4, 2021.
Profile Image for Noah.
159 reviews30 followers
August 25, 2022
Well, this was kind of dry. I thought the plot sounded really chill and I always love a “second chance” story, but I found that I was mostly indifferent to all of the characters involved. When Thea tries to get a job at the local bookstore, Edward, the love interest, has a sign up that says he doesn’t hire women!? And the fact that Thea seems to find this charming too? All I can say is… yikes! Maybe don’t try to get with a guy that has the same maturity level as Bart Simpson! Okay wait, I think I talked myself into disliking Edward, I guess I’m not so indifferent after all! I do like all the talk about books though, but if I were to describe this book, I would say that it’s a vast expanse of boredom that’s occasionally interrupted by spikes of irritation.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,240 reviews480 followers
April 26, 2021
A bookshop in Scotland named Fortescue is the backdrop for this new novel by Jackie Fraser. Owner Edward Maltravers is tall, dark, and handsome and has a Mr. Darcy vibe. Despite the fact that grumpy Edward does not welcome Thea to the community with open arms, she still offers to fill in at the bookshop. It is a surprisingly good fit for Thea and the two find their skills complement each other and the shop flourishes. Although the Maltravers are in a posh set, the language in this book is rather coarse. There is lots of talk about books and the actual work of running a store, but what books are they reading? I wanted more actual book talk, I think. This somewhat reminds me of Much Ado About You which I did not love either. I keep looking for a book like How to Find Love in a Bookshop. For those who love a remote setting, also try The Library at the Edge of the World'The Library at the Edge of the World' (set in Ireland) by Felicity Hayes-McCoy. If you like historical fiction and a bookshop setting, you simply must read The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II.

Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Carol (Reading Ladies).
632 reviews145 followers
January 14, 2022
Thanks to #NetGalley @RandomHouse Publishing for a complimentary eARC upon my request. All opinions are my own. Pub Date: 4/4/2021.

What worked:
* a Scottish bookshop setting
* coastal Scotland
* older characters (40s) romance
* a quirky, curmudgeonly character
* rebuilding your life theme
* slow burn romance
* friendship theme

What I wished: (may contain spoilers)
* I wished for less profanity (using Christ, Jesus Christ as swear words is especially offensive and affected my rating)
* I wished the story hadn't included casual drug use
* I wished for snappier writing and wittier banter
* I wished for a more admirable male character (carrying a teenage grudge into your 40s seemed immature; the revenge sex was cringy; curmudgeonly is not a deal killer but we need to see more of his potential underneath his gruff exterior)
* I wished for more chemistry between the main characters (this puts "fun" into the romance trope)
* I needed to understand why Thea would be attracted to Edward given his many issues/behaviors and her past experience with her husband's infidelity...the love story was less than believable...can she really trust him? I wasn't sold on the success of their relationship.

I think I expected something lighter (based on the blurb). I'm somewhat of an outlier in my opinions....please check other reviews.

For more reviews visit my blog www.readingladies.com
Profile Image for Ashlee Bree.
530 reviews54 followers
January 12, 2021
This book began with promise: a rural Scottish village, a forties-something wife separating from her philandering dolt of a husband (cheating with her friend, buddy? really?), an inherited home and an extensive book collection left to her by a long lost great-uncle (can I acquire this for myself, somehow? BUELLER? BUELLER?), and a chance to start over. The premise seemed enticing enough. I was more than ready to cheer on Thea's quest to become reacquainted with herself after a heartrending betrayal, ready to tag along as she found a "second chance" at happiness after the dissolution of her marriage.

There's little I enjoy more than a sweep-up-the-shattered-pieces emotional journey, after all--especially with a more mature heroine in tow. Life doesn't end for a woman after forty or even fifty, you know what I mean? And we love to see that portrayed!

With so much delicious possibility, with all the desirable elements floating about, I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately it left a lot to be desired.

Despite the charming setting, which was quaint as well as inviting in size, atmosphere, and company, the story itself ended up devolving into a tangled mass of juvenile conflict. For starters, the major point of contention between the two brothers, Edward and Charles, was ridiculous. Unnecessary. Downright infantile. The revenge angle wasn't what I found to be so grating about it either, but rather that it felt untoward and skeezy to learn that Edward, a supposedly grown-up middle-aged man, had cheated with all of his brother's girlfriends and wives for most of his adult life because of an adolescent - you read that right, ADOLESCENT - slight he hadn't been able to get over in the thirty years hence. Like...what? And I'm expected to root for this guy to win Thea's affections after her husband of twenty years just had an affair that nearly broke her? Why would I want to do that? Are you mad?

(He also instituted a misogynistic "no girls allowed" policy at his bookstore, too, seeing as how he was afraid if a woman worked there she would fall in love with him or vice versa. Needless to say that rubbed me the wrong way as well. But ah! I digress!)

I understand the storytelling power of lasting resentment, I really do. Conflict-wise I will even venture to say I'm delighted when grudges exist between family members because it can give emotional density to the plot as well as to the characters. However, in this case, it felt half-baked and unpleasant. The needless immaturity of it all made me scrunch up my nose in distaste over and over again. The behavior seemed too teenager-y coming from men their age, I don't know. It didn't mesh well with Thea's second chance arc either, in my opinion. Just seemed to rehash all the hurtful drama she'd left behind her in England.

I'm afraid the characterization was bland as well. I would've preferred for Charles to be more than the Charming Lord and for Edward to be something else besides the Grumpy Loner. Their stalled dialogue, with all the ellipses and interruptive 'but's,' got to be wearying after a while, too. Not only was it jarring in a bad way but it highlighted how there weren't any distinctive or marked features in either of their voices.

Thea did have some shining moments, though. I liked her for her quick wit, her literary musings, her ability to put those who hurt her in their rightful place. You could feel the despair and humiliation she experienced over the ending of her marriage keenly, which I appreciated, just as you could sense her overwhelming love of books.

If I had to pick three words or less to describe this novel, I'd call it ho-hum humdrum. Just wasn't my cup 'o tea.

Serious question now, though: Can somebody please bequeath me a Scottish home with a library full of first editions in their will someday? Wishful thinking probably, I know. Unless...

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group, and Ballantine Books for the ARC!

Profile Image for Alex McAuley-Biasi.
153 reviews6 followers
May 15, 2021
SPOILERS I guess, although I don't know why anyone would care.

This book is so bad. Up until now I've never yelled out loud at a book before while reading it. It's making me question whether all the other books I've given one star reviews to actually deserved it, because it's an insult to rate them on the same level as this one. It took about 150 pages to really realize how much I was not enjoying it, but once I got there my hatred hit hard. First off the characters are all so bland and boring. The only character who is slightly interesting is the main guy, but this is simply due to the fact that he's genuinely a really horrible person and the reader is supposed to not care. The guy's actions towards women are really awful (he mostly uses them as pawns in order to get revenge on his brother by sleeping with anyone his brother has ever cared about, including girlfriends and two wives) and yet his actions are brushed off as if they're a quirky character trait and justified because he never really cared about them. How does that make any sense?? All of his terribleness is supposed to be redeemed just by him falling in love with the main character, who genuinely doesn't care about his weird revenge mission even though she's going through a split from her husband who literally just cheated on her. It is so unrealistic that she would just not mind that this guy ruined multiple of his brother's relationships after something like that. There is also no growth or real acknowledgement of how crap a person he is, it's mostly just joked about him being "grumpy" and the main character just constantly says she "doesn't mind".
Idiocy of the story line aside, there are a whole bunch of technical flaws in the book that drove me insane. I don't know if they were supposed to be some kind of stylistic element, but they either seemed like overlooked mistakes or were just truly annoying. First, there is such a lack of description of the things that are actually important and way too much boring description about details I could not care less about and did nothing to advance or heighten the reading experience. I could not describe what any of the character's look like, except for maybe one side character who is only ever talked about but never actually encountered in the book. There were also multiple times when a full sentence would repeat itself, as if the character hadn't already said that exact same thing a page ago, to the point where I would want to throw the book in frustration. The main character also interrupts the other characters CONSTANTLY. I think about half of her dialogue started in the middle of someone else's. And I don't think it was supposed to be some weird character trait because other characters would do it as well, just not quite as much. She also speaks mostly in incomplete sentences. It is so frustrating to read a paragraph where none of the sentences have an ending. Maybe it was meant to seem like realistic conversation, but it's not realistic when I know how much time and effort is put into writing each sentence of a book, and it's so disappointing to see that effort culminate in half-assed, unfinished sentences when there are endless possibilities. How is a book supposed to have any meaning if so many of the sentences don't have any meaning???
I read a comment about this book somewhere saying that it was so nice to read about a grown woman and not a 22 year old who doesn't know what they want out of life... The main character was the most indecisive, unsure character. To the point where she would change her mind about four times within one page. Not to mention that she would completely contradict herself within two back to back sentences, although this seemed more like a writing flaw rather than a conscious choice because she wouldn't acknowledge how little sense she was making. So many other little parts of the book didn't make sense as well. There's so much I want to go on about but I think the greatest gift I can give myself is to just stop now and never have to think about this book again.
I hate writing bad reviews, it always makes me feel bad because I know how much work it is to write a book and how personal it is. I normally just write a few lines of whether or not I liked a book mostly just for myself to look back on, but I just couldn't hold this one in. All I wanted was a fun summer read set in a quaint Scottish town, but instead I got a headache of a book that made no sense and had no point to it. Sorry to anyone reading this who actually liked the book
Profile Image for Ellery Adams.
Author 59 books4,010 followers
August 8, 2021
3.5 stars. Sigh. How I love books about bookshops. Add a Scottish setting and a MC in her 40s and I started reading with high expectations. I really liked Thea. I really liked the minor characters, the bookshop, and all the bookish references. I think Edward was meant to be a brooding, Mr. Darcy type, which is just fine with me, but I just couldn't buy Thea falling for someone who hadn't gotten over a rejection that happened to him when he was still a kid. I also couldn't believe she'd be so okay with how he'd been involved in numerous affairs. I loved them as a working partnership, but not as a romantic partnership. That being said, it was a delight to read about an older character and one who was so down to earth and fond of books.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,416 reviews534 followers
December 31, 2021
Barely 3 stars. The good: set in a bookstore in a charming Scottish town (familiar, but that was OK), plus the main characters are middle-aged for a change. The bad: wooden writing, barely any mention of literature (even when the heroine is reading, it is referred to as her book, no title). Since I start anything with Bookshop in the title, the fact that I finished it is something...
Profile Image for Sarah Swann.
710 reviews980 followers
February 1, 2021
3.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book. It’s a sweet and fun romance. Set in Scotland and set in a bookshop, yes please! The main character goes through some tough situations and moves out to Scotland for a fresh start. She meets a bookshop owner who is described as tall with curly hair and Colin Firth immediately came to mind...so thanks for that! The romance is a slow burn and completely adorable.

I struggle with a couple of things. First, there was a love scene. It was a closed door scene, but leading up to it was really awkward. The main character wouldn’t stop talking and I wanted her to shut up and let things happen already. Another struggle was some of the dialogue. There were a ton of open ended sentences that included (...) or (-) indicating that their sentence had paused or run off. It was a big difficult to keep a good flow while reading. I felt that their conversations were stilted.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this and I really liked all of the characters.

Content Warnings: adultery, miscarriage

*Huge thanks to the publisher and Netgally for an early eArc of this book!
Profile Image for Madeline.
25 reviews
July 8, 2021
Ughhhhh I don't even know where to begin I hated this book so much. No offense, Jackie Fraser, I'm sure you're a wonderful person, but seriously, how do you expect me to root for fucking EDWARD??? The man is a serial adulterist (is that a word? I don't think so but you know what I mean) and just a generally sucky person to be around. He seems like the most unpleasant man in the world. Get over yourself, man. So your brother embarrassed you in high school. That doesn't mean you have to sleep with all of his girlfriends and wives, you fucking weirdo. Go to therapy. And to top it all off, he's the only native Scot without an accent. Red flag. If I moved to Scotland and fell in love with a shitty ass man, the least I could expect is for him to have a great accent. And Thea just seems so lovely and she deserves much better. From what I can tell, her only flaw is her awful taste in boyfriends.
Was I supposed to feel bad for Edward? Like was I supposed to think he was some poor misunderstood man who just needs some love??? HE FUCKING SUCKSSSSS what a dick. He was constantly like "waa waa I'm the worst everyone hates me" and Thea kept telling him he was a better person than he thinks he is, and for that I want to punch her so very hard. I kept wanting to scream at Edward every time one of these exchanges happened (which was SOOOOO OFTEN). YEAH, YOU'RE RIGHT EDWARD, YOU ARE TRASH, STOP BEGGING FOR PITY. I'm probably going to come back to this review and add more later because I just finished the book and I need some time to stew in its awfulness. It's a quick read and fairly interesting, I'll give it that (that's why it has two stars instead of one), so it's not completely unbearable. The only reason I would recommend this book is if you are in the mood to be angry.

Edit- Ok I've thought about it some more and I have more to say. Edward was literally so misogynistic it's insane. He treated women like objects in some twisted revenge game with his brother and we're supposed to just brush past that?? Why was he just classified as "grumpy" and Thea kept saying she didn't mind his awfulness?? He also had absolutely no character development other than cohosting a singular party with Thea and barely mending his relationship with his brother (though Thea did all the work for both of those things). He never redeems himself and I guess we're just supposed to think his shittiness is a quirky character trait. I also really don't understand why Thea wouldn't care about Edward destroying all of his brother's relationships, especially since she literally had just gotten out of a relationship where she was cheated on. Make it make sense.

OH MY GOD ANOTHER THING. The part that made me the angriest was when Edward kissed Thea (unprompted) and then FIRED HER BECAUSE OF IT. BESTIE THAT WAS 100% ON YOU. DON'T PUNISH HER FOR YOUR LACK OF SELF CONTROL, IMBECILE. Ugh this book just made my blood boil good lord
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Judy.
1,055 reviews
April 25, 2021
I chose to read this book because it had "Bookshop"in the title and I couldn't resist. Also, it had a cute cover. I enjoyed this debut novel by Jackie Fraser. This novel was a quick read. It's set in a small town in Scotland.

Thea, after splitting up with her husband, receives a letter saying she has inherited a large house in Scotland from an elderly uncle. Thea travels to Scotland with the intent of staying awhile and sorting out this house, but ends up liking the town and the people. The house contains a library filled with some very rare books, that Thea could possibly sell. Thea needs a fresh start and thinks that maybe she could live there. She gets a part-time job at a bookshop owned by a really grumpy guy. The romance in the book is atypical, and the characters are interesting. The book focuses on relationships.

Thanks to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine through Netgalley for an advance copy.
Profile Image for Lorna.
1,312 reviews62 followers
May 15, 2022
Story 4 stars Narration 4.5 stars
I loved this book. The characters, the premise. the bookshop, the peripheral characters, Scotland, all of it.

Thea was married for 15 years and together with her husband for 19 years when she accidentally finds out her husband is cheating with a friend of hers. About that time her job is over and she’s devastated by all of it. An inheritance from a relative she only vaguely knows leaves her with a home full of expensive books and some money in Scotland. She goes thinking it’s only for a few weeks. While there she makes friends and takes a job in a bookshop. She does find love again. A quiet kind of love for two middle aged people, the kind of comfortable love that lasts. Or that was my take on it. I wasn’t bored for even a minute.

I’m glad I listened and enjoyed the narration. Recommended to adult contemporary romance readers.

Profile Image for Sue.
27 reviews68 followers
November 23, 2020
"The Bookshop of Second Chances" by Jackie Fraser takes one to a Scottish setting and a small town bookshop. I was drawn to this book by the title as I was hoping to hear endless stories about life in an idylic setting and a quaint bookstore. I did enjoy the Scottish town, the beautiful surroundings, and the bookshop descriptions, and also enjoyed the inter-relationships of the minor townspeople.

But most of the main characters have major character flaws that have not been "repaired" over the years. These character flaws are interwoven as plot material throughout the whole book.

The themes that effect the main characters are indifference in their choices and in life in general, morality or the lack of it, and also their "likeability quotient" scores. Edward's likeability score is so low that no other character could possibly score lower than he does. His brother Charles may be a close second in this esteemed category as he is also undisiplined in dealing with others.

Both females and males go forward letting life make the choices for them rather than making their own decisions. This very lack of making a decision is making a decision by default.

The males' lack of morality and lack of feelings towards others effects the females who come into their lives. These same females act as co-dependents who put up with either indifference or present or past immorality in the males.

Does Thea Mottram, the main character, really experience growth in this story? If she did not have Edward to fall back on, would she have gone back to her ex-husband? Would she have honored her ex's request to "save" him from his ill-fated choice of finally facing consequences and responsibilities?

Instead, Thea chooses Edward and makes excuses for him instead. She looks past his grumpiness, indifferent consecutive affairs and his excuses for these affairs.

She is co-dependent in all her relationships. She and Edward are in a "honeymoon mode." But what happens to them after the book ends? This book is not a rom com but instead a psychological analysis of what not to do. I have given this book a 3.5 rating

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for kindly giving me a copy of the book in return of an honest review.
Profile Image for Pamela.
460 reviews75 followers
April 11, 2021
I adored this! Our heroine is sassy and badass even though she has just gone through a break-up. Not sure what she is going to do next, she (of course) inherits money and home from an uncle she barely knew. So, off she goes to a rural village in Scotland where she meets the Maltravers brothers and a whole new cast of quaint village characters. I can't pin-point exactly what about this that I loved, so it must be everything! ;) I did especially enjoy the fact that our leads are older - mid to late 40's. What a nice change of pace to show that love and sex isn't dead after 30. Very well-written story by Jackie Fraser, I will be on the look-out for more.

**Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley in exchange of an honest review.**
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,037 followers
June 6, 2021
A few years ago, I read Shaun Bythell’s The Diary of a Bookseller, and it's impossible not to think of that while reading this book, because Edward, the cranky bookseller from a posh family, seems to be pretty close to Shaun's self depiction. Add on the protagonist Thea who has been left a home (and a lot of used books) by her great-uncle and her own recently ended marriage of 20 years, and you have a slow burn story about two people who slowly rotate around each other. I felt it was overly long, and had to laugh when in the acknowledgments, the author thanks one of her writing group friends for telling her to "get to the point." Still it will be catnip for many readers - small Scottish towns, booksellers, older narrator (mid 40s) etc.

I had a copy of this from the publisher through NetGalley; it came out May 4th, 2021.
Profile Image for Alexa.
146 reviews25 followers
February 23, 2021
This was such a cute story. I loved how Thea wasn’t bothered by the grumpiness of Edward. This is a quick read and very easy to follow. Chapters aren’t terribly long, and the premise is such a lovely story.

Edward is a grump who owns a book store. Thea after finding out her husband was cheating, finds herself working for Edward and doesn’t mind his grumbling about everything. They began to build a friendship.
Profile Image for Tami.
856 reviews
April 23, 2021
Jackie Fraser is getting off to a wonderful start with her debut novel about a woman who needs a fresh start in life. Thea has recently lost her job and her husband has left her for one of her best friends.

Feeling down and out, Thea opens some mail one day and has a letter from an attorney. Evidently an uncle in Scotland has recently died and left everything to her. Naturally, Thea must go visit and see for herself the lodge she has inherited.

Steeped in local family history, Thea’s trip to Scotland draws her closer to the family she never knew. Thea also finds a sense of family in the small village. She ends up getting a job at the local bookstore and romance has a way of creeping into her life unexpectedly.

This was a quick and enjoyable read. I could not help but want to go stay with Thea in her lodge and patronize the shops and pubs in thee village.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for allowing me to read an advance copy. Im happy to offer my honest review.
Profile Image for Carlene Inspired.
918 reviews238 followers
May 11, 2021
Find this review and others at Carlene Inspired.

The Bookshop of Second Chances was the slowdown read I needed in my life. Thea and her adventures in Baldochrie, Scotland are charming. She finds herself divorced, the owner of an old lodge and a collection of new books, and the center of the small town's gossip mill. Intent on finding herself and a path for her future, Thea takes on a summer in the lodge, filling her time with a job in the local bookshop owned by the surly Edward. Only, he's far kinder to her than she heard he might be and alongside him she discovers she has room for so much more in her life.

Reading Jackie Fraser's novel is like taking a stroll down a scenic path. It's full of descriptive writing, fantastic Scottish dialect, and a romance that is just the right amount of slow. Thea discovering herself at forty-ish and after 20 years of marriage is so authentic, I loved her rediscovery of her own personal joys, hobbies, and friendships. Plus, it helps that Ed, for all his grumpiness, truly is a charmer. Their interactions are funny, flirtatious, and downright adorable. I know, funny word for romance, but this isn't the in your face angsty, heart pounding you're used to, this just feels almost normal. I loved the naturalness of it all, the pacing is just perfect, and while there are some small plot holes, they're forgettable, allowing me to just relax and read.

The Bookshop of Second Chances is the kind of book you can loll about with by the pool, bake in the sun with on the beach, or snuggle up into a warm blanket with as it rains outside. It's a lazy read that delivers on its promise of second chances and following your heart.

ARC provided.
Profile Image for Deacon Tom F.
1,698 reviews129 followers
September 10, 2021
Nice Story

I was pleased with the book. The characters were extremely well developed, maybe over developed, if that is even possible.

After her divorce our main character realizes that a surprise inheritance and a change of scenery were exactly what she’d needed to overcome the dissatisfaction with her life.

Then a very complicated love story evolves.

I think that overall the book was good but not great. It seemed about 100 pages too long.

Profile Image for Kendra.
Author 13 books38 followers
September 9, 2020
In this fairy tale, when a middle-aged woman is left by her husband, she discovers that she has inherited a house and its valuable contents in Scotland from a distant family member. Off she goes, Cinderella to the ball! Once in the house, she makes friends in the town and begins a friendship with the local bookseller, who happens to be rich and handsome, albeit emotionally very, very screwed up. The heroine wins him over and makes him want to be a better person, although why, I don't know--he's emotionally abusive and violent at times. But it's a fairy tale, so apparently that doesn't matter. And he promises to be better. Then he gets into a fistfight with his brother, but the heroine helps t hem reconcile. Did I mention it's a fairy tale? In the end, everyone is happy. There's a token Sassy Black Friend and Devoted Lesbian Couple, in place apparently to make the story more diverse than it really is: it's about white, financially comfortable people having mid-life crises and overlooking really serious issues in other people in order to convince themselves that they are still sexy, still desirable, still valuable in a society that values those attributes. It was all kind of sad to read.
Profile Image for Stacie Lauren.
194 reviews11 followers
March 20, 2021
Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for granting me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Love the premise of this book! Separated woman inherits a free lodge and ends up working in the small town bookstore. That all sounds great, but the book did not live up to my expectations.

It is considered a romantic book, but I did not believe the chemistry between the characters. It felt very forced, and there wasn’t anything that happened to really tie them together.

The male lead, Edward, is not a desirable dude. I understand the trope of the quiet brooding guy who has never found love and pushes people away. This is a common trope, but Edward is not a likable version. He literally won’t speak to anyone in his family and slept with every single one of his brother’s exs, girlfriends, and wives! Hated him as a love interested, and my feelings for Thea weren’t that much better.

The start of the book was there and they idea was great, just felt lackluster and underwhelming.
Profile Image for Nadine Schrott.
378 reviews30 followers
October 27, 2022
Naja....wie gesagt lese ich gerne hin und wieder etwas triviales für "zwischendurch "....Frasers LiebesSchnulzen Roman um eine kleine schottische Buchhandlung war mir dann allerdings doch etwas zu trivial....

Rosamunde Pilcher hätte das Setting nicht besser erschaffen können....

Ein kleines Cottege wird vererbt...die gerade von ihrem langjährigen Ehemann verlassene Thea beschließt, hier im schottischen nirgendwo neu anzufangen.
Doch der gutaussehende Lord, auf dessen Grund ihr neues Zuhause steht, rückt ihr wegen des Verkaufs auf die Pelle ....und da gibt es ja auch noch den miesepetrigen neuen Boss...denn Thea hat begonnen, in der örtlichen Buchhandlung zu arbeiten....
Und ausgerechnet ihr Chef ist der ungeliebte Bruder des Lords....

Streckenweise sogar humorvoll und flüssig geschrieben konnte mich die flache Geschichte um die taffe Thea nicht wirklich mitnehmen....

Klarer Fall von: kann man lesen....muss man aber nicht
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,124 reviews724 followers
April 17, 2021
(free review copy) Bookshop ☑️ 40 + romance ☑️ Atmospheric setting (rural Scotland) ☑️ This book was perfect for me! One of the main characters is pretty gruff, which can put some readers off, but I fell in love with him too. I also loved that the bookshop was a HUGE part of the story, not just a side thing that allowed the author to use “Bookshop” in the title to trick people like me (ahem, Bookshop of the Broken Hearted 😡). I adored the Scottish town and cast of locals as well!
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