Friday, November 3, 2023

Review & Giveaway - - Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop

Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop
by Jenny Colgan
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: October 10, 2023
Reviewed by PJ

Christmas comes early—far too early—to McCredie’s little Old Town bookshop in Edinburgh. It’s summer, but an American production company has decided that McCredie’s is the perfect location to film a very cheesy Christmas movie. After all, who can resist the charmingly narrow historic street with its Victorian grey stone buildings and warmly lit shop windows?

Carmen Hogan, the bookshop’s manager, is amused and a bit horrified by the goings-on, but the money the studio is paying is too good to pass up. She uses the little windfall from filming to create new displays and fend off a buyout offer from an obnoxious millionaire who wants to turn McCredie’s into a souvenir shop selling kilts made in China and plastic Nessies. Still reeling slightly from a breakup, Carmen’s not particularly looking forward to the holidays. But just as snow begins to fall and the lights of Christmas blink on, all sorts of lovely new possibilities present themselves…for McCredie’s bookstore, and for Carmen herself. 

PJ's Thoughts:

Jenny Colgan takes readers back to Edinburgh, Scotland for part two of the story that began in her 2021 holiday novel, The Christmas Bookshop (read my review). Picking up where book one ended, this new novel follows Carmen and Oke (pronounced okay) through the next year as they navigate life's challenges together and then apart. 

I would describe Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop as women's fiction, or possibly contemporary fiction, though it also has strong romantic elements. The primary focus, however, is definitely on Carmen and her journey of growth which is filled with peaks, valleys, hilarity, and a fair share of awkward moments. I love the relationship that has developed between Carmen and Mr. McCredie, the quirky, elderly owner of the bookshop where she works. There's frustration, exasperation, gratitude, and a boatload of affection between these two. There are, in fact, a whole group of quirky characters who populate the quiet street in old Edinburgh where the bookshop resides. Colgan really brings them, and their street, to life in vivid detail, immersing me into their daily lives as they navigate the ups and downs of a changing landscape as a greedy purveyor of tacky tourist shops slowly worms his way into their neighborhood.

The tenuous and tricky relationship between Carmen and her sister is again front and center. Things are changing at her sister's house, where Carmen came to stay for a few months while getting back on her feet and has now been there a year. Family dynamics are another area where Colgan excels with realistic and complex tension between the sisters, children who steal every single scene they're in, and a new "manny" who provides laugh-out-loud humor along with surprisingly wise advice and more than a few temptations. 

The one area where I felt a bit let down in this second novel is the romantic relationship between Carmen and Oke. They break up at the beginning of this book, with Oke returning to his native Brazil for a six-month scientific expedition in the Amazon. We follow them individually through Carmen's POV in the majority of the book with Oke's POV popping up in an occasional chapter here and there and no communication between the two until the end of the book. Though I understand the importance of Carmen's individual growth, I enjoyed their scenes together in book one and really missed that in book two. 

Overall, I enjoyed Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop. It was engaging, gave me a taste of the holidays in Edinburgh, made me laugh in places, cringe in others, and brought home the happy ending I was hoping for. This is a book that I strongly recommend reading after you have read The Christmas Bookshop

Have you read Jenny Colgan?

Did you read The Christmas Bookshop?

What holiday books are you looking forward to reading this year?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, November 5 will receive a print copy of Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop

*U.S. only

*Must be 18

Thanks to Avon for the giveaway copy! 



  1. I believe I have read a book by Ms Colgan, but for the life of me have no idea what it was about. It has been awhile. I am a huge fan of Christmas books. I love a lot of the Signet books from very long ago. I have a ton of them and they bring me joy. Sometimes I use them to get joy even when it is not near Christmas. As for which books I will enjoy in the future, not sure. I can't seem to focus, but I am sure if nothing else those Signet books will be fun for me. Thanks for this review. It does sound like a charming story.

  2. Yes and yes!!!
    I could read Christmas books all
    And the book I want that's Christmas is RaeAnne Thayne newest book.

  3. Jenny is a new author to me, but what can be better than Christmas plus a book store!

  4. I have read all of Jenny Colgan's wonderful novels. They are captivating and special. I look forward to enjoying Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop. I have several Christmas books which I plan to read soon. The Book Club Hotel by Sarah Morgan, A Christmas Vanishing, The Wishing Bridge and many more.

  5. I've read many books by Jenny Colgan. They're comforting reads. I love the bookshop books. I haven't read The Christmas Bookshop. I have it marked as wanting to read. The most recent Christmas themed book I've read was Kate Carlisle's The Twelve Books of Christmas. I'm hoping to get Sarah Morgan's The Book Club Hotel soon to read this holiday season.

  6. Yes I have read some of her books. They are great

  7. I've meant to read her books, but haven't yet. I've heard wonderful things about them from you and others, so I definitely need to.

  8. I did read The Christmas Bookshop, and I enjoyed it very much. I have quite a few Christmas books waiting for me. In fact, I just started one. I am currently reading The Duke Deal by Valerie Bowman.

  9. I haven't read anything by her yet. I have a stack of Christmas books I hope to get you. One I can think of at the top of my head is Read and Gone by Allison Brook.

  10. I have not read Jenny. Reading the first book sounds like it is a necessity. For some series it doesn't matter much, but the way this seems to be set up, it does need to be done. It sounds like it is unfortunate that the POV is so one-sided in this one.
    I am looking forward to reading Sheila Roberts new Christmas book, THE TWELVE MONTHS OF CHRISTMAS. Thanks to you, I discovered her books and am loving them.

  11. I would love to read it. I haven't read any books by her.

    Rose Ward

  12. Happy to have seen this post before the deadline because I've loved Jenny Colgan's books. I particularly enjoyed The Christmas Bookshop and loved the time given to Carmen's relationship with her sister's family. And since I haven't picked out a holiday read for this year yet . . .