I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock
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After losing her job in New York, Amber Green isn't looking forward to visiting her godmother in the sleepy village of Cranbridge. With its empty lanes and rundown shops, it's hardly a place to mend her lonely heart.
But when Amber discovers that Cranbridge Stores, owned by her godmother Cathy and son Josh, is under threat of financial ruin, she realises that her skills as a window dresser might just be able to help save the struggling shop.
When disaster strikes, Amber and Josh must unite to save both the shop and the village from flooding.
Can Cranbridge Stores become the heart of the village once more?
And as the village begins to come back to life, perhaps Amber will discover a reason to stay...
Sometimes you just need a cozy book. A book that will make you smile. That will help you forget all your present worries, commitments, and problems, and just enjoy. When I am in one of these moods, I turn towards books are light-hearted and cute. Books that portray the world in a glowing manner; there are no harsh realities here, and most of the struggles are relatively minor. These light-hearted, happy books never fail to put a smile on my face, and The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock is no exception.
There is no denying it: the world is a stressful place right now. While it is important to take the time to reflect and educate ourselves on what is going on around us, it is also essential to lay back and relax. To just try to enjoy the present moment, perhaps with a drink of choice, your comfiest sweatpants (or pyjamas), and a light-hearted book. When I’m feeling stressed out or aggravated, I tend to gravitate towards stories with a cute romantic element.
And that is exactly what the The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts is – cute. The setting, the characters, the romance – it is all just so lovely and sweet. This book is a real mood lifter.
One of my favourite aspects of The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts is the setting. The book is set in a fictional English village called Cranbridge. If you were to ask someone to describe a small English village, they would likely describe somewhere very similar to Cranbridge. There is a local pub, a local shop, and the village only comprises a few roads. The nearest town is miles away, but there are plenty of farms nearby. Most of the residents have known each other their whole lives. Cranbridge is a happy place. Cranbridge reminded me of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls in a lot of ways.
However, the family that has always run the local shop Cranbridge Stores has lost their way a bit. When his father dies and his mother Cathy is diagnosed with cancer, Josh moves back to Cranbridge to run the shop. He soon discovers that all is not as perfect as it seems. Cranbridge Stores faces foreclosure if they cannot turn things around. The situation is not at all helped by his mother who refuses to let him change anything, and the fact that his father has been hoarding unnecessary stock for years (including an old tractor that no one seems able to move). The shop is run down, cold, and uncared for.
All is lost, or at least that is how it seems until Amber arrives fresh off the plane from New York. Josh has not seen Amber since they were children. Amber is stopping in Cranbridge on a pit stop before going to join her parents who have just moved to New Zealand. Amber was recently fired from her job in New York, and with nowhere to live and no job, she decides to visit her godmother Cathy in Cranbridge.
Lucky for Cranbridge Stores, Amber has experience in retail. Her expertise is making shops look appealing to customers, which is exactly what Cranbridge Stores needs. As Amber and Josh work together to save the store, things start to improve for both of them as they learn to let people into their hearts. Something that I really enjoyed is that the author does not focus entirely on the blossoming romance between Amber and Josh. She also emphasises the importance of friendships. Although Amber lived in New York, a city known to be full of life, she is lonely. She does not have any true friends and lacks self-confidence. It was wonderful to see her blossom as she makes new friends and becomes more confident in her skills.
The only aspect of this book that I didn’t really enjoy was the romance itself. I honestly just didn’t feel much chemistry between the two. The romance just didn’t seem like a key aspect of the book. A lot more time was dedicated to the renovation of the shop and getting to know the various villagers, which I actually prefer. While I love a romantic element, I don’t want a story to be pure romance either. However, I do prefer to see some chemistry between the characters. Amber and Josh spent a lot of time together as part of their work, and the banter between them was fun. The romantic chemistry was lacking though, at least in my opinion.
Despite the lack of chemistry, The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts is a really cute novel that is perfect for when you are looking for something to put a smile on your face.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review. If you would like to check out the other stops on the tour, the information is included in the blog tour banner. I would like to thank Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this tour, and Boldwood Books for providing me with an advance copy.
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Thanks for reading!