Not sure when I first decided I wanted to own my own bookstore. I do recall that teaching won out over bookstore ownership as a girl because I thought that “three months off” would give me time to write a book every year, and you didn’t get three months off as a bookstore owner.
I set that bookstore dream aside, consoling myself with the fact that at least I would never have to own or try to sell a book that I didn’t love.
Oh, and the fact that I’m a terrible salesperson soothed a little, too.
Still, I read books about people who owned bookstores, watched movies (am I the only one who thinks You’ve Got Mail is more of a tragedy than a rom-com?), and dreamed of a book series with bookstores as the core, tied-in element.
On vacations, I scoured bookstores for new titles (well, old ones, really) and shipped home boxes of books. Oh, how I love media mail.
Have I convinced you of my love for bookstores yet? Snort.
Obviously, with that love, when a chance to review The Printed Letter Bookshop came along, I jumped at it. I mean, what’s not to love. It has a bookstore. It has friends. It takes place in my favorite city… Chicago. I mean, DUH! I requested that thing so fast my own head is still spinning.
Or maybe that’s from the story.
I get ahead of myself sometimes—especially when I’m excited. And yeah, after reading The Printed Letter Bookshop, I’m excited.
Note: Links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Additionally, I requested a review copy of this book and decided to share those thoughts on it with you.
When A Lifelong Dream Gets Fulfilled in a Great Book
I fell in love with Katherine Reay’s writing when I read Dear, Mr. Knightley. That Emma/Daddy-Long-Legs mashup was one of my favorite books of 2017. So, when I had the opportunity to request a review copy of another of her books, it was a no-brainer. Seeing it was about a bookshop, I filled out the form and waited for the day I could crack it open and read.
Reay did something I would never have imagined would work. She wrote the book in tenses that fit the POV character of the page. So, when we’re reading from Madeline’s perspective, we are treated to a simple first-person/past voice that feels authentic and engaged. After it changes to Claire’s perspective, we read in third-person past tense—very much who Claire is. When Janet splashes on the page, we shift to first-person present tense. And get this. I didn’t even mind! (although, if it had been the whole book, I might have—just being honest).
To help us keep track, the heading of each section shows the name of the character who narrates that scene.
The book is seemingly about a friendship forged between three women.
That’s not quite accurate. One woman who is no longer on the scene so permeates the bookstore and the lives of the women who now run it, that she appears as a full-fledged character, nearly on every page. The writing is brilliant in that regard.
Maddie never feels as though she’s intruding on the story. Instead, she’s a bit omnipresent—almost like an allusion to how the Lord is with us always. And yet, I don’t know that the author meant to do that. The subtle imagery just appears naturally.
Which, of course, takes phenomenal writing skills. I’m just sayin’. Okay, so she does not hold a proper appreciation for the Oxford comma in her online writing, but that might be forgivable in light of an amazing book.
This book has everything I love most (and I’m not even including the bookshop). You have deep yet floundering friendships, rich, raw, and flawed characters, subtle but strong spiritual themes, and just a beautiful hint of real romance.
That romance appears, introduces all the feels, and tiptoes away so the characters can enjoy their own love stories without feeling like they’re on display for the world.
I guess you could say the author respected the characters enough not to put their hearts on display and respected us enough to ensure we knew those hearts were entangled at just the right moments.
Seriously, this book has everything!
I don’t know who I wouldn’t recommend this book for. Even lovers of historical fiction might enjoy it simply because of the beautiful setting, the natural description, and the feel that we’ve stepped back into time… all with cellphones, internet, and snow plows. And let me tell you, I’ve never needed one of those suckers here in the desert, but after reading The Printed Letter Bookshop, I consider snow plows to be romantic little suckers and essential to my happiness.
Author: Katherine Reay
Genre: Women’s fiction, romance
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Amid literature and lattes, three women come together and find that sharing one’s journey with best friends makes life richer.
When attorney Madeline Carter inherits her aunt’s bookstore in a small town north of Chicago, she plans to sell it and add the proceeds to her nonexistent “investment portfolio.” But plans change when Madeline discovers the store isn’t making money and she gets passed over for promotion at her firm. She quits in protest, takes the train north, and decides to work at the store to prep it for sale. Madeline soon finds herself at odds with employees Janet and Claire; when she also finds herself attracted to an affianced man, it only confuses the entire situation.
After blowing up her marriage two years earlier, Janet has found solace working at the bookstore and a kindred spirit within its owner, Maddie Cullen. But when Maddie dies and her niece, Madeline, barges in like a bulldozer, Janet pushes at the new owner in every way-until she trips over common ground. Soon the women are delving into online dating and fashion makeovers, and Janet feels the pull to rediscover her art, a love she thought long behind her.
That’s not all.
After a night of bad decisions leaves the store in peril, Claire arrives and tries to save the day. While she, too, found sanctuary in the little bookstore, she knows it’s under-insured, in the red, and will never survive. When she discovers her teenage daughter has played a part in vandalizing the store, Claire taps into strength she didn’t know existed–or had long forgotten. The quietest of the three, she steps up and finds a way to save her family, the store, and the precious friendships that have grown within it.
The Printed Letter Bookshop is the story of friends who find each other-and themselves-in a place none of them ever expected.
About the Author
Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily Price, The Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flair. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and is a wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer.
After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL. You can meet her at www.katherinereay.com; Facebook: KatherineReayBooks; Twitter: @katherine_reay; or Instagram: @katherinereay.
More from Katherine
Don’t you love bookshops?
Every time I walk into a bookstore, it feels like a rainbow cracked open and rained a kaleidoscope of light, life, and possibilities before me. I find worlds within the world and a call to adventure.
Each bookshop tells a different story. It tells of its loyal beloved customer base, reflects the personality of its owner and staff, carries the aura of the stories it offers to us. (edited)
And it was the perfect place to dig into lives, hearts and book loves of Janet, Claire, and Madeline. These three women, at different stages in life, meet at the Printed Letter Bookshop, with all the romance and wonder it holds, and learn to work through their challenges together. They become the friends that each didn’t know she was missing.
There is also a fourth woman I loved spending time within the Printed Letter Bookshop — its original owner, Maddie Carter. Maddie doesn’t step onto the stage even once, but her presence, her love and her guiding hand are apparent from page one as Janet, Claire, and Madeline grow in friendship and in faith.
The Printed Letter Bookshop is a love letter to books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship. I hope you savor your time with these three women — And, book lovers rejoice, there is a list of all the books they allude to in the back of the book!
The Avid Reader, May 14
Godly Book Reviews, May 14
The Power of Words, May 14
Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 15
Carla Loves To Read, May 15
Pause for Tales, May 15
Maureen’s Musings, May 16
Bigreadersite, May 16
By The Book, May 16
Inspirationally Ever After, May 17
Reading Themes, May 17
For The Love of Books, May 17
Lis Loves Reading, May 18
Emily Yager, May 18
Living Life Free in Christ, May 18
For HIm and My Family, May 19
Retrospective Spines, May 19
Girls Living For God’s Glory, May 20
As He Leads is Joy, May 20
To Everything A Season, May 20
All-Of-a-kind Mom, May 21
Through the Fire Blogs, May 21
Creating Romance, May 21
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 22
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, May 22
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 22
Reader’s Cozy Corner, May 23
Wishful Endings, May 23
Texas Book-aholic, May 23
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 24
Just the Write Escape, May 24
The Christian Fiction Girl, May 25
Lighthouse Academy, May 25
janicesbookreviews, May 25
Inspired by Fiction, May 26
Simple Harvest Reads, May 26 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Inklings and notion, May 26
amandainpa, May 27
A Reader’s Brain, May 27
To celebrate her tour, Katherine is giving away a paperback copy of The Printed Letter Bookshop to one lucky winner!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e4f1/the-printed-letter-bookshop-celebration-tour-giveaway