A Snowstorm. A stranger. A Spark. It should be the perfect start to the perfect love story.
But real life is far messier and more complicated than in the pages of the books in Megan Taylor’s family bookshop – the last few years have left this young widow in no doubt of that. Moving back home to York should have been a fresh start, but all it did was allow her to retreat from the world.
When prize-winning author Xander Stone rams his supermarket trolley into her ankles and then trashes her taste in books, Megan is abruptly awoken from her self-imposed hibernation. It’s time to start living again, and she’s going to start by putting this arrogant, superior – admittedly sexy – stranger in his place.
Just as she is beginning to enjoy life again, the worst happens and Megan begins to wonder if she should have stayed hidden away. Because it turns out that falling in love again is about more than just meeting under the mistletoe…
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via NetGalley in retirn for an honest review.
There is a trend for bookshop romances, and this one has a seasonal twist. Set in York, it’s Megan and Xander’s story, which has a rocky start. Megan is still grieving her husband when she returns home to run the family bookshop. The bookshop is an atmospheric setting, and Megan is a likeable character. Meeting Xander is memorable, but his attitude doesn’t endear him to Megan even though he does have his attractions.
The plot is well-written with quirky supporting characters, vivid imagery and witty dialogue. There is conflict and seasonal events and a well-deserved happy ending.
Rachel Burton has been making up stories for as long as she can remember and always dreamed of being a writer until life somehow got in the way. After reading for a degree in Classics and another in English Literature she accidentally fell into a career in law, but eventually managed to write her first book on her lunch breaks. Now she writes from a small bedroom looking out over hydrangeas, lavender bushes and rambling roses, in a little house in Yorkshire that she shares with her husband and their three cats. She loves words, Shakespeare, tea, The Beatles, dresses with pockets and very tall romantic heroes (not necessarily in that order).
Find her on Instagram as @RachelBWriter or follow her blog at rachelburtonwrites.com.
Extract from A BookShop Christmas – Rachel Burton
Everybody left the bookshop that night hooting with laughter at the fact Trixie had yet another new boyfriend.
“I wonder how long this one will last,” Bella said.
“I wonder how young he is,” Missy replied.
“Come on, you two,” Dot said, ushering the women out of the door. “Leave Trixie alone.” And with a flurry of goodbyes they were gone.
“You go up, Mum,” I said as I locked the door behind them. “I’ll finish off down here.”
“Are you sure?” she asked, and I noticed the flash of worry across her brow.
I smiled. “I’m fine, Mum, really.” I was fine, wasn’t I?
At least a lot closer to fine than I’d been in a long time. I wanted my mother to stop worrying about me; I wanted to stop hearing the note of concern in my father’s voice every time he called. I knew why they worried. I knew what a mess I’d been after Joe died, and Mum and I had always been close, so she was bound to be concerned. But recently their concern had started to make me feel claustrophobic and I’d taken that as a good sign, another step forward, as though I was managing to finally get away from the cotton wool haze of grief I’d been living in for so long.
I listened to my mother’s footsteps on the stairs as she made her way up to the flat above the shop and I sat down for a minute under the lights of the Christmas tree and thought about how much my life had changed in the last three years. I still missed Joe so much and there were times when feelings of guilt and emptiness still completely overtook me, but the times when I didn’t think about him, when I didn’t feel empty and alone, were starting to be more frequent.
When Mum suggested I come back to York for a while I’d been concerned that the memories here would be as bad as the ones in London, but they were different, more distant somehow, less immediate – and I found myself able to remember the time I’d spent with Joe in York in a more gentle way, a way that didn’t feel like a punch in the stomach every time I woke up.
Besides, Taylor’s Bookshop had needed me, or at the very least it had needed me to give it some TLC.
“I don’t know what happened,” Mum had said when I’d been back a few weeks and had started examining the state of the bookshop, and – more importantly – the bookshop’s accounts, in more detail. “I knew something needed doing but time just got away from me somehow.”
But I’d known it wasn’t time that was the problem. When Dad had left for his ‘bigger life’ in London, not only had he abandoned his wife and daughter but the bookshop he’d inherited from his parents as well. Mum had never had very much to do with the bookshop when I was growing up – she’d spent her days in her writing room, so when Dad left she didn’t have any idea what to do to keep the business running and a roof over our heads.
I’d been working part-time in the shop since I was a teenager so I was able to help Mum out, and between me and Fred Bishop – Dad’s friend who’d worked in the bookshop for years – we were able to keep things ticking over. When it had come to choosing a university, I’d chosen York so that I could be nearby and continue to help out at the weekends. But when Joe and I had moved to London, even though Mum and I had spoken on the phone several times a week, I’d stopped thinking about the bookshop every day for the first time in my life and I hadn’t really realised how much it had been spiralling downhill.