Friday, July 5, 2013

The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

My taste in books is varied, preferring literary fiction most of the time, but I do partake in reading two or three chick-lit books a year. Sometimes I find them shallow and silly, but every once in awhile I find a character I fall in love with… Esme, the 23-year-old, British transplant seeking her PhD in art history at Columbia, is definitely one of those characters. She’s intelligent (she would have to be to capture a full scholarship at Columbia), but young and terribly na├»ve in the ways of the world, particularly the ways of love. It’s this combination of personality traits that won my heart in The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler.

The story begins with Esme coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy. Soon she seeks employment at The Owl, a used bookstore, barely holding its head above water in the current world of the e-commerce and e-readers. It’s here that Esme finds an odd mix of friends and co-workers who will ground her during this unexpected turn her life has taken.

The cast of characters is lovable as well. I’d even go so far as to say there’s not a bad one in the bunch… Oh, except for Esme’s boyfriend and his wealthy, entitled family. They will turn your heart cold, and for good reason.

New York City, the setting of The Bookstore, is a character in this story as well. The energy and diversity of Manhattan will make you yearn to visit the city with fresh, young eyes.

The Bookstore is a modern story. Esme finds herself unexpectedly pregnant early in the novel. Because of this you should expect a good bit of reflection on whether she should have the baby. If this sort of rumination is difficult for you to handle, I suggest you skip The Bookstore completely. For those who venture in, this story offers many scenes that sparkle and shine... You’ll also get to see these characters grow, as life and its challenges mold them. What more can you ask from a novel.

Highly Recommended. 4****

Note: I received an advance copy of The Bookstore from Gallery Books for review, but my thoughts here are an honest expression of my reaction to this novel.