The Bookshop On Primrose Hill – Sarah Jio

Published By: Orion
Pages: 336
Released On: 28/04/2022

Valentina Baker was only 12 years old when her mother, Eloise, suddenly fled to London, leaving Val and her father on their own in California. Now a librarian in her thirties, Val is fresh out of a failed marriage and utterly disenchanted with life.

One day, Val receives word that Eloise has died, leaving Val the deed to both her mother’s Primrose Hill apartment and the bookshop she opened twenty years ago. As Val jets across the Atlantic, she wonders – could this be her chance at a new beginning?

In London, Val finds herself falling in love with the pastel-coloured flat and the cosy, treasure-filled bookshop. When she stumbles across a series of intriguing notes left in a beloved old novel, it’s the start of a scavenger hunt that will take her all over London and back in time…but most of all, bring her closer to the mother she lost twice.

*****

Thanks to NetGalley and Orion for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a book about books will always get a favourable review from me, even before I’ve started reading it. I’ve been to Primrose Hill before, and whilst I’m not a great lover of London in general, there are some of the quaintest shops there and I can see how it could feel magical for a lot of people.

The way Sarah describes books and the power they have just hits the nail on the head – everything she says is absolutely perfect. She doesn’t stray into corny territory, she’s very real about how reading can help us during joyful and positive times in our life such as when we’re in love, when we have a family, when we lose people, when we grieve. It all feels very real and I can identify with it so strongly.

I like the use of dual narratives to show the stories of mother (Eloise) and daughter (Valentina). They are separate entities but flow together so well, the past providing clues for the future, and the present exploring the reasoning and the emotions of the past.

This is my first foray into Sarah Jio’s world and it’s a really enjoyable place to be.

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