My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 5 days
Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton
Pages - 493
Blurb from Goodreads
Michelle doesn’t believe in fairy tales. She’s a hard-headed businesswoman, making a fresh start in a new town. And when she decides to take over a neglected book shop, she knows the perfect manager.
For book-loving Anna, it’s a dream come true—and not just because it gives her an escape from her three demanding step-children and their adorable but hyperactive Dalmatian. Although she’s been thinking that her own fairytale ending hasn’t really turned out the way she hoped, Anna’s passion for the classics is transforming the shop. The customers, and even Michelle, are falling under the spell of the magical stories of romance, adventure, and lost dogs.
But when secrets from her past threaten Michelle’s new beginnings, and trouble strikes at the heart of Anna’s household, can the wisdom and courage of the stories in the bookshop help the two friends—and those they love—find their happy ever after?
The book opens with Michelle, she has just moved to a new town, opening her new shop and knows no one in town. She is befriended by the lovely Anna and her mischievous dalmatian dog, Pongo. We skip on to two and a half years later and Michelle is well established in the town, her friendship with Michelle is cemented and business is booming. Michelle is looking to expand her business but will the small town object to her plans for their local bookshop? Despite things looking up, Michelle is about to find out that her past isn't quite willing to stay in the past and things might not go as she had planned!
Michelle has some control issues, her flat is meticulous, she has lists for her lists, she likes everything to run to plan. When she wants to change the book shop into an extension of her existing shop however Anna, and the solicitor dealing with the shop lease, won't let it go so easily. Anna is a huge lover of books, Michelle has provided her with her dream job and she won't let go without a fight.
There are a few levels to this book, Michelle gives small flashes to her past which gives the reader an insight into why she behaves as she does. It is in snippets though and it isn't until later you have some general idea as to what actually happened. Anna is lovely, she tries to be a good wife, step mum and friend (it also helps she is a huge bookworm) however she is so nice you want to scream at her to stand up for herself. There was a few things that annoyed and irritated me about both Michelle and Anna and I felt you were left hanging a bit, especially in regards to Michelle's history with Harvey.
It is still an enjoyable read, despite the irritations with the characters. I loved reading about the dogs, Anna's love of books and the titles that came up. I would read this author again but won't be actively seeking her out, 3/5 for me this time.