The Bookshop on the Corner by Rebecca Raisin

In brief: Sarah Smith lives a quiet life amongst the shelves of her bookshop. Will a real-life romance ever happen to her, or will she be left to read about it?

The good: Love being back in Ashford with Lil and CeeCee (the Gingerbread Café series).

The not-so-good: When’s the next instalment?

Why I chose it: Really enjoy Rebecca Raisin’s stories – they’re heart-warming and cosy, like a hot chocolate on a winter’s day. Thank you Rebecca and Carina UK for the eARC.

Year: 2014

Pages: eARC – not sure (but can comfortably read in a day as it’s a novella)

Publisher: Carina UK

Setting: Ashford, Connecticut

My rating: 9 out of 10

Rebecca Raisin has done it again! With the third instalment of the Gingerbread Café series of novellas, the reader is transported to the cosy setting of Ashford, Connecticut. Ashford is one of those towns that is truly special with its community spirit and wonderful range of niche shops (including Lil and CeeCee’s gingerbread concoctions). It’s a place I’d really love to visit, if only it existed!

It seems that Ashford is becoming more popular in the fictional world as the quiet, romance-book filled life of Sarah Smith, owner of the bookshop near the Gingerbread Café (on the corner in fact) collides with New York City journalist Ridge. Ridge has come from the big city to do an article of Ashford. After the chocolate festival (portrayed in the previous book, Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café), New Yorkers have been taking notice of this tiny town full of delectable treats and gorgeous items. Sarah’s bookshop is no exception. It’s a cosy place where one can curl up and read or feel the draw as a book picks you as its next reader. Sarah supplements her income with online orders and a thriving book blog, but her life is quieter than a library. She’s never had that dramatic romance and when Ridge enters her life, she’s sceptical of his plans. Sarah lacks confidence in herself – can her friends help her to see that she deserves her happily ever after?

Once again, Raisin’s writing talent is evident in this story. The character of Sarah is perfectly drawn – her fears, concerns and happiness are all very realistic. Plus, Sarah’s imagination was lovely to read – about the books dancing off the shelves at night, the pull of the book that’s just right for you…it’s just magical. Her ability to turn the mundane into something special with a dusting of sparkle makes this book a read full of hope, happiness and beauty. There are elements of Cecelia Ahern here – Raisin has the same touch with making the characters feel real, almost as if they were sitting beside you, telling their story.

Ridge is the classic hero with a dollop of extra sweetness – it’s clear that he’s willing to go the extra mile (or more) for Sarah. I would have loved to read more of his adventures in the Aussie Outback – perhaps there’s room for a sequel? (Hint hint!) I also liked meeting Sarah’s best friend Missy – she’s not quite CeeCee (who holds a special place in my reading heart) but she’s definitely dynamic, warm-hearted but with a secret pain. She’s a great contrast to shy Sarah, who is someone I’m sure most readers can relate to.

Although a quick read, The Bookshop on the Corner will leave lasting memories. It’s a perfect book to snuggle up with in winter or to read on a lazy beach day.

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