The Little Shop Of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan, which is also known as The Bookshop On The Corner, is a story of love, hope, independence, and courage that will render readers unable to put the book down from the minute they start reading!
The Little Shop of Happy Ever After follows twenty-nine year old Nina Redmond who, following the closure of her beloved library, is left jobless and at a loss as to what she should do next. Her luck changes when she sees the opportunity to own her very own van which she plans to turn into a mobile library. Leaving her old life in Birmingham, Nina moves to the Scottish Highlands in an attempt to pursue her dream. However, reality is no fairy-tale and Nina encounters very real struggles in her attempts to create a new life in the middle-of-nowhere. Luckily for her, whilst this may be the real world, Knights-In-Shining-Armour could very well exist…
Perhaps you’re still not convinced that this is the book for you… Well, here’s a few reasons that may convince you otherwise!
The thing about reading is that most people use books as a means of escaping their own everyday lives, which can be forgotten about with every turn of a page. Usually, the books they choose as a refuge are ones which take place in some far off land. Well, why not just choose one that offers that same sense of escapism but is set within the same reality? The Little Shop of Happy Ever After provides just that for its readers and it has a strange ability to reawaken the magic and wonder which exists within the reality in which we all live. Colgan’s writing throughout the novel, and though the use of Nina’s character, lets the story offer a fresh perspective on a country whose beauty is often dulled, allowing it to shine.
The tale of Nina’s adventure and the chance to witness her gain both independence and confidence gives the story a ‘coming-of-age’ feel to it, despite how the main character is already an adult. However, even this alone has something comforting in it, especially when now-a-days within reality, people are expected to have settled by that time and their time for adventure is deemed over.
Whilst many characters are mentioned throughout this novel and play a part in the tale, there are four whom stand out more so than all others: Nina, Surinder, Marek, and Lennox. Kudos must be given to the author for her creation of such relatable and realistic characters. All four are completely lovable despite their individual flaws and even the side characters within the story are likely to hold a place in your heart by the time you finish the book!
The thing about love is that the concept itself is a complicated one: there are so many types of love and, even more importantly, love is unpredictable. That is a theme which is quite prominent throughout the course of this story and if that wasn’t enough to get you racing to the library to borrow a copy or the nearest shop to purchase your own then don’t worry, there’s more. For who doesn’t love a story in which the main character is torn between two others. Of course, it’s something which occurs in nearly every romance novel, but the question of whom Nina chooses really is one which is asked throughout the story, even when you think you know the answer!
What is a good story unless it successfully teaches valuable life lessons? In The Little Shop Of Happy Ever After, many valuable lessons can be learned. Throughout the book, readers journey alongside Nina and share with her the experiences she has and the consequences she faces. Along with Nina, readers are able to learn the importance of always being yourself, witness how it one should always dare to dream and follow those dreams… More importantly, Nina and the readers alike are able to come to terms with how love is never where you may originally look and that everyone has a story. For, as stated in chapter 24:
There was a universe inside every human being every bit as big as the universe outside them.
A solemn reminder that each and every one of us is as different as we are the same, and that is something which we should all respect.
Curious about reading the novel now? Then why not give it a try, then maybe even have a read at Jenny Colgan’s other novels – all of which can be found on her website.