“But as our eyes adjust to the gloom, lit by a solitary light bulb in each room, Lucy and I gasp, because the only thing this place is, it could ever have been, is a bookshop.” (Quotation page 70)
They are friends since University: Cath, Si (Simon), Josh and stunning Portia. While Portia has left to find her own way, Lucy, married to Josh, perfectly fits into the circle. Cath, successfully working for a London advertising agency, has an almost lifelong dream, to open a bookshop including a café and Lucy loves to cook and bake. Together they find a shop that had been empty for a long time, but is just perfect for them. Soon Bookends is open and running. Cath is very close to Si, her best friend, but while Si is trying everything to finally find the man of his life, Cath is sure that she definitely is not made for relationships. Maybe meeting kind, understanding James, their estate agent and a very talented painter, could make her rethink the advantages of her single life. Then Portia is back and with her exciting times.
Theme and genre:
This is not a book about literature and bookshops, but about friendship that lasts from the lighthearted student’s life to the different circle of life of adults who have to earn money, start a family and want to live their dreams. It is about misunderstandings and the fact that dealing with problems is easier if one has friends for support.
Cath, the main character, is single and happy with it, a little bit messy, but really cares for her friends, especially for Si, as he needs her. She just has to learn to trust herself and take care for her own happiness. Si is the perfect best friend as he loves to go shopping and is very good company. Lucy is an optimistic, loveable person and every character, such as Babysitter Ingrid, is special and well developed.
Plot and writing:
This romantic story is written in the first person and told by Cath and is located in Hampstead, London, with interesting, precise descriptions of the surroundings and the urban lifestyle in busy London. There are some foreseeable and some unexpected twists as serious topics are entwined in the story.
A romantic, easy to read story about friendship, love, dreams and life – and about a bookshop. Entertaining, but with some lengths, because main protagonist Cath is just too indecisive in her behavior, with her thoughts circling almost endlessly around her fear to fall on love. I would have enjoyed to read a little bit more about the bookshop, café and its customers.