Saturday, July 29, 2023

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay -- Book Review


Book Description: "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. When Madeline’s professional life falls apart, and a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. Has she been too quick to dismiss her aunt’s beloved shop? And even if she has, the women’s best combined efforts may be too little, too late."

My Review: This was a difficult story for me. Reading it over the course of 24 hours, I had to walk away a couple times as it was really stressful. This was NOT a good Shabbat read — I had a lot of anxiety today. Haha! The three women in the story have their own issues to work out, but one in particular hit too close to home. One woman has an affair which wrecks her husband, alienates her children, and destroys her marriage. She has her own redemption story, and I’m thankful for that, but having my own mother do the same thing when I was a child— well, let’s just say it was very difficult to have sympathy for this character or to rejoice in her growth. All the attempts to make me feel compassion for this woman… My thoughts went to: “but has she apologized to her daughter?” “This is what she deserves for leaving.“ “Your choices have consequences." “How dare you feel jealousy when he tries to move on when you’re the one who left him?” All thoughts I’ve thought and words I’ve said to my own mother over the years. (We have a great relationship now, by the grace of God). 

 This line from pg. 157 sums up the epitome of the thinking that gets dissatisfied women to the place of having an affair: ”Seth shone whenever I came near, and the adoration made me glow too. … When did feeling that glow, chasing that adoration, become more than loving that man?” Water your own grass, ladies. Then it will be green on your side too. 

 This book is about taking responsibility for our actions and trusting God’s plan for refinement. It’s a great story — I just had to get far enough in to see it. I did struggle early on because I felt there were way too many characters to keep straight so early. At about 20 pages in, I went back and started over so I could get everyone straight. It was also difficult because there was a lot of alluding to peoples’ issues but it took a long time to get to any backstory for context. I liked this book better the more I got into it, but it’s definitely not something I could have put down and come back to. Way too much going on with too many similar characters. 

This book fulfills the Alphabet Soup Challenge

No comments:

Post a Comment