I told you in my last few posts that I’d been reading, a lot. I beat my Goodreads reading challenge last year by a dozen books. I had set it low (twenty books), but I’m proud that I not only finished it, but surpassed it significantly.
The first book I’ve completed in my 2020 Goodreads challenge, in which I upped myself to 25 books, is The Bookshop of Yesterdays, by Amy Meyerson. I had mixed feelings about this book, but overall, I really enjoyed it. The qualms I had outnumbered the positives in this novel, but the positives were of such importance that I did end up giving it a four-star rating on Goodreads.
The Bookshop of Yesterdays had many strong points. The relationships between characters, their emotions, and the dialogue were positives. The protagonist, Miranda, and her reactions and realizations were all appropriate and realistic because of their complexity and believability. I was surprised by the twists and turns, and happy that this novel was a suspenseful one without being too dark. The relationships between characters were multidimensional and complex, which made each character believable also. The anger, guilt, grief, and insecurity of the characters were well-captured.
There were, however, a few elements to this novel that kept me from adoration. First, the romance between two of the characters was so slow-moving that when it finally culminated in a kiss, it was a surprise – a pleasant one, but a surprise. I found myself thinking, “They’re barely friends! He’s shown no interest! Why is this happening?” Which are never good things to think about a romance. The romance was superfluous and seemed as if it were added only to increase tension in a novel that already had enough tension. Adding a subplot for the sake of tension is not necessarily a flaw, but it is when it seems out of character, unexpected, and random.
Another thing that kept me from loving this novel was that one of the major characters had little to no personality. To be fair, she is dead, and has been a long time. However, a dead character does not have to be a flat one, as seen in another character in the same predicament. I wanted to know more about her, as she was so central to the plot, but I got next to nothing, and so cared a lot less than I otherwise might have about the story overall. Knowing next to nothing about this character decreased the stakes and dulled the suspense, so that was a bit of a letdown.
In addition to this, there are a few typos scattered throughout the novel, which made my English-grammar-nerd heart sad. It led me to wonder if the editor didn’t care or was lazy, and the typos did detract a little from my enjoyment of the book. The writing was not brilliant, special, or gorgeous, but it was good. It was definitely not bad, other than the typos, and kept me engaged for extended periods of time.
All in all, I would recommend this book. It was charming, suspenseful, and engaging. The best parts of it were the suspense and the relationships between the characters (with one exception, mentioned earlier).