The Secret of Happy Ever After
Summary (from Goodreads): When story-lover Anna takes over Longhampton's bookshop, it's her dream come true. And not just because it gets her away from her three rowdy stepchildren and their hyperactive Dalmatian.
Unpacking boxes filled with childhood classics, Anna can't shake the feeling that maybe her own fairytale ending isn't all that she'd hoped for. But, as the stories of love, adventure, secret gardens, lost dogs, wicked witches and giant peaches breathe new life into the neglected shop, Anna and her customers get swept up in the magic too.
Even Anna's best friend Michelle - who categorically doesn't believe in true love and handsome princes - isn't immune.
But when secrets from Michelle's own childhood come back to haunt her, and disaster threatens Anna's home, will the wisdom and charm of the stories in the bookshop help the two friends - and those they love - find their own happy ever afters?
Review: A cozy, heartwarming story of the friendship between two very different women; it's the kind of book that would be just perfect to curl up with in front of a fire during a winter snowstorm. It's light and easy to read, yet deals with marital issues, step-parenting, pregnancy, and childhood traumas in a realistic way. I am a sucker for books about women trying to revitalize bookstores, and enjoyed all the references to classic children's novels, but I could not understand why Anna kept trying to push books like Little Women on her angsty, anti-reading teenage daughter. I felt her efforts would have been more well-received if she had tried some current young adult fiction first, and as a librarian and bookstore owner, Anna ought to have known that herself. But other than that small complaint, I really enjoyed this book.
Rating: 3.5 stars