Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Review - - The Christmas Bookshop

The Christmas Bookshop
by Jenny Colgan
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: November 16, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

Laid off from her department store job, Carmen has perilously little cash and few options. The prospect of spending Christmas with her perfect sister Sofia, in Sofia’s perfect house with her perfect children and her perfectly ordered yuppie life does not appeal.

Frankly, Sofia doesn’t exactly want her prickly sister Carmen there either. But Sofia has yet another baby on the way, a mother desperate to see her daughters get along, and a client who needs help revitalizing his shabby old bookshop. So Carmen moves in and takes the job.

Thrown rather suddenly into the inner workings of Mr. McCredie’s ancient bookshop on the picturesque streets of historic Edinburgh, Carmen is intrigued despite herself. The store is dusty and disorganized but undeniably charming. Can she breathe some new life into it in time for Christmas shopping? What will happen when a famous and charismatic author takes a sudden interest in the bookshop—and Carmen? And will the Christmas spirit be enough to help heal her fractured family?

PJ's Thoughts:

What a lovely, humorous, and heartwarming story. I was thoroughly immersed in Colgan's vividly-portrayed characters, her enchanting descriptions of Edinburgh with its historic architecture, lively festivals, and quiet beauty, and the trials and tribulations of the Hogan sisters. I have to admit, I wasn't overly fond of either Carmen or Sofia at the start of the book. Colgan digs deep into each character as she guides them on their journey through animosity and jealousy into genuine friendship. There's plenty of growth for each of them along the way and it wasn't long before I was invested in both of them and cheering them on.

The characters in this book - both primary and secondary - are so fully developed and vibrantly depicted. I'm firmly convinced they are all real people and I want to spend time with them. Well...some of them. Definitely Mr. McCredie. He's such an endearing man. I loved seeing him blossom under Carmen's influence while also enjoying the impact he had on her. Sofia's children are a large part of the story, especially as it pertains to Carmen's evolution. Each of them is unique, fully crafted, and pertinent to the story, but it was little Phoebe, in particular, who captured my heart. Her scenes with Carmen were some of my favorites in the book. 

As for romance, there's a fair sprinkling of that as well along with a bit of an emotional triangle (nothing beyond kisses and only after her decision was made). Though I knew which direction I wanted Carmen to go, the author kept me wondering until close to the end. Her ultimate decision though was what I was hoping for and I was happily satisfied with the choice.

If you're looking for a heartwarming tale, set in Edinburgh, Scotland, with a focus on family, self-discovery, and a friendship that just might turn into the love of your life, all wrapped up in a big Christmas bow, pick up a copy of The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan. It has my enthusiastic and heartfelt recommendation. 


  1. There are so many Christmas books out and this is another on my list.

  2. Great review! I'll be looking for this one.

    1. I was thoroughly charmed. I hope you enjoy it too!

  3. Replies
    1. It made me want to book a flight to Edinburgh. :)

  4. P.J., Your comment above describes my only reservations in hunting down this book: it will make me want so desperately to get on a plane and fly to Edinburgh! I think I'll go look for it, anyway. Thanks for the review.

  5. Great review PJ! I have so many Christmas books and I just added this to my wishlist.

  6. I am a Jenny Colgan fan. Her stories really are heartwarming and lovely.

  7. What could be better than an old bookstore in historic Edinburgh? Family issues that need working out, old book store to organize and enjoy, an elderly owner to get to know, and a special person to learn more about - this sounds like a perfect Christmas read for me. Thanks for the review and recommendation.
    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.