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A beautiful, heart-warming story of self-confidence and love. With so many books coming out under the blurb of ‘feel-good novel’ each year and some of them being mixed bags, this one, The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts certainly did the blurb justice, I felt really good when I closed the book.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty, I must confess that I did have mixed feelings especially in the early part of the book. The writing is solid and easy to follow, and the premise showed a lot of promise. Yet then again, I didn’t find myself drawn to the book as strongly as I would have liked, I was just gliding through the book letting my eyes follow the words in the book, waiting for things to develop and take me by surprise.
I speculate my initial niggle lay with the overall trend or manner of the story-telling in this particular ‘feel-good novel’ genre. I generally prefer stories building up steadily and slowly rather than rushed or developing in a hasty manner. I like to have a story develop on its own course rather than having all the cards laid out in front of my eyes and told where the story goes. In a nutshell, I had some issues with the way Amber and the other main characters’ backgrounds or circumstances were summarized in a few sentences and are then thrown in the book. I didn’t feel comfortable about being fed with how Amber and Josh feel toward each other. I would have liked to have them wove into the story rather than be told like, ‘this is how Josh feels toward Amber,’ or ‘this is what’s going on in Amber’s mind.’ The whole ‘telling rather than showing’ stuff put a damper on my interest here and there. Regardless of what’s been explained regarding their feelings, I wasn’t particularly convinced because I didn’t feel much of sparks flying around between them. Obviously I found the execution a bit lacking.
That being said though, my petty grievances started to disintegrate as the story progressed. Granted, I did find some other niggles and gripes throughout the story, there were some things that didn’t sit very well with me, but once I was past halfway through the book, I found myself drawn to the story more and more - as Amber finds her feet over the course of refurbishing the shop and gains her self-confidence as well as how the sense of community and belonging start to build up. How the once dilapidated shop comes back to life and thrives by Amber’s decoration skills and Josh’s expertise in sustainability planning. It was delightful and glorious to witness how things turn for the better once they take charge. The first half was indeed a bit iffy as far as I am concerned but the latter half went strong and proved to live up to the expectations.
As I previously mentioned, I did have some beef with the way the romance developed and executed, but the rom-com moment awaits in the end sufficed to make up for it and delighted me in the end. This story concluded with a beautiful little bow.
Overall, I found this book very endearing and delightful. I adored the small-village vibe accentuated by autumnal descriptions and I cherished the strong sense of community built amongst the villagers. I enjoyed the process of both Amber and Josh finding their home and gaining self-confidence by stepping out of their safety net and proving themselves that they are capable of much more than they think.
A strong story of family, friendship, community, and last but definitely not least, love. I can vouch this story will fill your heart to the brim with warm, cozy feelings and this would make a perfect book to bury yourself in with a steaming mug of coffee, tea, or whatever beverage of your choice. Highly recommended.
A delightful heart warming story about Hope, friendship, and community. Alison Sherlock this was such a treat! Amber is returning home to a small rural town in the UK after losing her job in NYC. The situation is only temporary because after she spends some time with her godmother she is heading to New Zealand to live with her parents who have just relocated there. Josh has returned home after his father‘s death to help in the family’s village shop. Now Amber and Josh both find themselves working in this quaint village shop in need of a lot of TLC both not necessarily wanting to be there. A tractor. A pub. A bridge. A flood. A coffee maker. Locally sourced produce and cheese. A Christmas market. A sweet tale. Loved reading this so much! I so enjoyed Amber and Josh transforming the shop. Loved all the charming quirky villagers who dropped by the shop for a cup of coffee or the newspaper. Loved the wonderful sense of community (I’m betting all these people would wear masks if they were in the middle of a pandemic, just saying). The perfect book to escape into while the world around me seems to get a little crazier every day.
The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts is a lovely story about loneliness, friendship, and community.
Amber was a British expatriate in New York, working as a window designer for Saks 5th Avenue. She is very lonely in the big city but finds comfort in her creative work.
When she is fired, and her working visa is revoked, she realizes she has no home to go back to, as her parents had moved to New Zealand.
Lost and a little hurt by the situation, she ends up going to visit her godmother Cathy in Cranbridge, a small and deserted English town. She planned to stay for a few weeks to get herself together before following her parents to New Zealand.
But plans changed when she started to help Cathy and her son Josh to take care of their dilapidated and near-bankrupt shop.
Amber was so talented and yet so full of doubts about herself. Josh was in turmoil, trying to shield his mother from the problems and, at the same time, having a hard time to convince her that things had to change.
The story is lovely. All characters were facing challenges and trying to cope with change. They were good, honorable, relatable, and I was immediately invested in their happiness.
The author inserted some relevant themes throughout the story without overdoing it: senility, grief, illness, bullying, loneliness, and even environmental concerns.
Overall, a romantic and engrossing read.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Village Shop For Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock is a delightful, sweet, love story that put me in such a good mood. The plot was easy to follow and I was invested from the beginning.
The characters are very likable. Their struggles were relatable and it was inspiring to see how they managed their issues. I loved the humorous banter which brought a bit of a smile when there was family drama.
The romance is realistic. Slow-burn and definitely believable. I enjoyed that very much. Sometimes authors jump right to the lovey-dovey, but this is wonderfully real.
A great, feel good read for the times right now. Check it out.
Rating: 4/5☆ *I received a free copy of this book from Rachel’s Random Resources in exchange for an honest review on the blog tour. All opinions are my own and unbiased.*
I really enjoyed this book and how Amber finally realized how talented she really was and found her love for self, Josh and many others. So happy she finally stood up to Kate and licked her out of the store. Loved the ending of how she helped reunite the community.
This book isn't just about love between two people. It is a love for community, belonging, and strengthening the character of the village itself through one little shop. I loved this read with wonderful characters that you can't help but love them.
This story makes you laugh and cry and identify with the very real characters Alison created. I became so invested in the community that I really did not want the book to end. I look forward to reading more of Alison's books!!!