Friday, July 30

Book Review: The Bookshop

Title: The Bookshop

Author:Penelope Fitzgerald

Pages: 123

Summary:This, Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel, was her first to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It is set in a small East Anglian coastal town, where Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop. 'She had a kind heart, but that is not much use when it comes to the matter of self-preservation.'

Hardborough becomes a battleground, as small town so easily do. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result she has to take on no only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. This is a story for anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This novella was fairly good, but not my favourite read, the overall story was well done, and it is a quick little read. A good choice if you’re looking for a book about books themed read, or just a quick read on a rainy day.

My overall impressions are mixed; the author is good story teller, and the concept of the story interested me, but the cast of characters weren’t the most interesting. And some of them I despised for their actions. I liked the idea of the woman setting out, reaching for a goal and accomplishing it on her own (during this time 1959-1960, this was somewhat of a feat) which was creating her own little bookshop, (a dream I myself have), but there was just something missing, a little piece that would have made this a good book go to a fantastic book. It might have been because it was so short, so not a lot can happen, especially character wise, but I felt something was missing.

The author is a good writer. I don’t have anything bad to say about the writing style/storytelling. She managed to create a well rounded story, in such a short book. I’ll have to check out more of her books, and see if they are also novellas, because she seems to have a knack for it. Character development set aside, the book won’t be a disappointing story without it, but if you’re looking for a more character based book, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a well written novella, than this is the book.

The ending was good, bad and sad all at once. I wasn’t disappointed with the ending, I think it worked well with the book, but I wasn’t happy with it, or more so the characters involved. I wanted to yell at them. And I’ve already said too much, if you want to know what I mean, read the book. It’s a great choice for the Bibliophilic Challenge.

Overall, it’s a good choice for a quick read, and a good book about books, and a woman who dared to open a bookstore.

Would I recommend it to read: If you're looking for a novella, or a book about books theme book then yes. It has strengths in both of those areas. If you're a person who enjoys character based/heavy books, than it isn't the best choice. Worth a try especially if you have an hour or two to kill.

What to read next: Hmm. I'm not sure. I'd say more books by the author.

Challenges: Read 'n' Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, Bibliophilic Challenge, RYOB Challenge


  1. I have never read any Fitzgerald, but this might make a nice book for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me, I appreciated your opinion on the book!

  2. I think this one is on my library list already. I'll double check and then put a note that the ending might make me emotional. :)

  3. Zibilee - This was my first time with the author too, and it's a perfect book for a lazy Sunday I hope you get the chance to read it soon.

    Kristen M - It's a good ending, even if it's slightly emotional, especially for book lovers. I hope I haven't said too much :)