Books · Read in 2022 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Christmas Bookshop (Jenny Colgan)

A light read about family, a bit of love and of course… Christmas


Title: The Christmas Bookshop
Author: Jenny Colgan
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary / Chick Lit / Christmas
First published: 2021
Edition: E-book

When the department store she works in closes for good, Carmen has perilously little cash and few options. She doesn’t want to move in with her perfect sister Sofia, in Sofia’s perfect house with her perfect children and her perfectly ordered Edinburgh life.

Frankly, Sofia doesn’t exactly want Carmen there either. Her sister has always been sarcastic and difficult. But Sofia has yet another baby on the way, a mother desperate to see her daughters get along, and a client who needs a retail assistant for his ailing bookshop, so welcoming Carmen might still have some benefits for everyone


First line(s):

‘But it’s August!’ said Carmen into the phone, putting down her book.


It is that time of year that I tend to read some of these Christmassy chick lit /romance type of books. They can be such a joy this time of year. Just a cozy light read that gets you in the Christmas mood. I think this one just about managed to do that. I had some issues with it, but overall it was ok.

The main character starts out being very unlikable, but she did grow on me throughout the novel. I think her character arc is written a little heavy handed, but this is a Christmas read. I am not nit picking. At least, I will try not to.

What I will nit pick about is the romance element in this story. I understand that a large part of this story dealt with the relationship between Carmen and her sister Sofia, which I actually quite liked. It was not romance heavy and I think I appreciated that. However, we get so little on-page time with the main character and her love interest that I could not really get invested in their relationship. I did not really feel any chemistry. Throw in a very unlikable second potential love interest and it feels a bit… shrug.

The family dynamics, though a little strange and with regards to some of it inexplicable, I actually quite enjoyed. The scenes set in bookshop itself were my favourite bits and I really enjoyed those. I wish that the whole bookshop business was tied up in a neat little bow at the end, but it kind of wasn’t, which I was disappointed with.

The writing was ok. The author has this odd habit of being in someone else’s head for just a paragraph and I found that a little jarring, but overall it was fine.

As a Christmas read it does the job. It’s an easy read, nothing spicy. It’s festive enough to get into the Christmas spirit.

5 out of 7 stars



  • Characters: 7
  • Ambience: 7.5
  • Language: 7
  • Story: 6
  • Pacing: 7
  • Interest: 6.5
  • Enjoyment: 7

4 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: The Christmas Bookshop (Jenny Colgan)

  1. I have read and liked a few of Colgan’s books; this is one I will pick up if I see it but won’t make a special effort to track down, I think. I have two light Christmas reads to do, one the British Library Women Writers’ short story collection and the other The Christmas Castle in Scotland by Julie Caplin from NetGalley.

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