The Vintage Shop of Second Chances – Libby Page

Published By: Orion
Pages: 368
Released On: 16/02/2023

Among the cobbled streets of the Somerset town of Frome, Lou is embarking on the start of something new. After the death of her beloved mother, she takes a deep breath into the unknown and is opening her own vintage clothes shop.

In upstate New York, Donna has just found out some news about her family which has called into question her whole upbringing. The only clue she has to unlock her past is a picture of a yellow dress, and the fact it is currently on display in a shop in England.

For Maggy, she is facing life as a 70-something divorcee and while she got the house, she’s not sure what to fill it with now her family have moved out. The new vintage shop in town sparks memories of her past and reignites a passion she’s been missing.

Together, can these three women find the answers they are searching for and unlock a second chance at a new life? It’s never too late to start again…

*****

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

I was aware of Libby’s work but this was the first book I actually picked up to read, and it grabbed me instantly.

The characters are gorgeous. I won’t name them all, but I will focus on the three POVs we have. Firstly there’s Lou – who I suppose is the main character as the vintage shop in question is hers – in her 30s, vibrant and very passionate. Then we have Maggy, in her 70s, feeling a bit lonely but hiding an exciting past. And lastly there’s Donna who comes with a hard shell but has a soft centre. I’d say Maggy was definitely my favourite character and Donna my least, with Lou sat in the middle. But I was fully invested in all three women and their stories.

It was so much more moving than I thought it would be. The description of grief is gorgeous. And again, it’s layered. There’s physical grief from losing a loved one, grief in terms of being unable to raise a child, grief in losing a love, a job or a home. That sounds like a lot of grief, but it’s so well done that you can empathise but you’re not overwhelmed.

It really hits you with the emotion. The highs are high and the lows are low. You’ll find yourself laughing and crying at the same page. You’ll definitely be needing a tissue to hand. But I spent the whole thing with a smile on my face, even if tears were streaming down at the same time.

I loved the description of vintage clothes. It may sound frivolous in a story with so much more depth, but it’s not. This shop and it’s contents mean so much to the community. It’s so much more than “just” clothes. You can feel the stories in these clothes and you have the same passion Lou has for them.

It is a real story of love. First loves, lost loves, wrong loves, love for family and for friends and for strangers, love for things and places, and love for yourself. It shows that the term “family” is multi layered. We have our related family, our friends, new friends and old friends, our community, and even strangers, can make up your family.

I read it in December, and it comes out in a February, notoriously quite dark, cold, damp, sad months (winter happens to be my favourite time of the year), but it’s so heartwarming and uplifting that it’ll bring sunshine to any long evening.

It is so gorgeous that I just wanted to keep reading it forever.

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