The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

Sharing Stories, Sharing Lives

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay is the most delightful contemporary novel about love and friendship and life. It is an exploration of what it means to be a woman as described in Proverbs 31.

Once in a while there comes along a life that touches everyone and leaves them smiling. “Maddie left her mark on the heart of everyone.” The reader never meets Maddie but we feel that we know her because we see her through the eyes of others.

The novel is about good hearts. Some good hearts are present at the start. Others are revealed layer by layer.

Following the death of the owner of the Printed Letter Bookshop three women’s lives intersect and interact. They are all unique with their needs and personalities but they have a common goal – to keep the bookshop open.

The bookshop stands at the heart of a community. It is so important that it takes on the role of a character in its own right. The bookshop is a place where people meet and lives are healed and hope is found.

God is important. We see the effect of knowing Him on the lives of the characters. “There was no fear, only warmth as I was drawn deeper.” We cannot second guess God. “Don’t assume God’s role or presume you understand His ways.” God’s ways are not our ways. We must let God be God and we will play our part in life as directed by Him. We see God at work in the lives of the characters.

There is the theme of forgiveness. Sometimes it is instant. At other times it is a process.

The woman in Proverbs 31 is the perfect woman. She is hard to live up to but we can work towards her qualities.

Although there are male characters, on the whole this is a book that celebrates and explores female relationships and dynamics. It is beautiful to witness friendships budding and blossoming.

Many actual novels are mentioned within the tale. These awaken individual memories for the reader as we remember where and when we read the books and how they made us feel. I was pleased to see the inclusion of a list of all the books mentioned at the back of the book.

The Printed Letter Bookshop was such a delightful and charming read. It warmed my heart and soul as I ‘lived’ through the action. Sometimes the legacy we leave behind is far more valuable than money and property it is a legacy of love. “She never took, she gave, all the way to the end.”

I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

JULIA WILSON

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