Author Feature, Book List, Staff Picks

A Highlands Escape with Jenny Colgan

A few years ago I discovered a fairly unknown author to me here at the store, Jenny Colgan. I spotted a book called The Bookshop on the Corner, a delightful tale of Nina and her bus bookshop in Scotland, and I knew I had to read it. I wasn’t reading a lot of fiction at the time, so to set aside my nonfiction reading list for it, it had to be something special.

Flash forward a few years and Jenny is now a beloved author here at Towne. After telling my coworker Mary how much I loved The Bookshop on the Corner, she put it forth as a potential title for her book club, the Original Towne Book Center Book Club, and they read it and enjoyed it tremendously as well. Here at the store it now sits, almost permanently on any one of a number of staff members recommendation shelves and we’ve been delighted to see increased interest in Jenny’s titles! Here we’ll share our favorites, the Bookshop Series, and if you click the button below, you’ll see the ones that we always make sure to feature on our shelves!

The Bookshop on the Corner

Nina is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.
Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile — a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. 
From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

As a long time bookseller, I related to Nina on so many levels: from living with way too many books in her home, to wanting one job-to find the right book for the right person, and believing that there is one out there for everyone. After losing her library job in England, Nina takes a risk and moves to Scotland to transform a van into a bookmobile. She learns to live in the real world instead of through her books. The romance that develops between Nina and her landlord is touching. This is a feel good story to read with a warm beverage in front of a fire, while dreaming of being in the Scottish Highlands.


The Bookshop on the Corner is the perfect lighthearted read. I love reading books about books and bookstores and booksellers. Nina, our protagonist, is certainly a new favorite heroine with a distinct air of Austen about her. And a bonus! There’s an homage to Pride & Prejudice in the book and characterizations, and it’s a tear-free read!


The Bookshop on the Shore

Desperate to escape from London, single mother Zoe wants to build a new life for herself and her four year old son Hari. She can barely afford the crammed studio apartment on a busy street where shouting football fans keep them awake all night. Hari’s dad, Jaz, a charismatic but perpetually broke DJ, is no help at all. But his sister Surinder comes to Zoe’s aid, hooking her up with a job as far away from the urban crush as possible: a bookshop on the banks of Loch Ness. And there’s a second job to cover housing: Zoe will be an au pair for three children at a genuine castle in the Scottish Highlands. 
But while Scotland is everything Zoe dreamed of—clear skies, brisk fresh air, blessed quiet—everything else is a bit of a mess. The Urquart family castle is grand, but crumbling, the childrens’ single dad is a wreck, and the kids have been kicked out of school and left to their own devices. Zoe has her work cut out for her, and is determined to rise to the challenge, especially when she sees how happily Hari has taken to their new home.
With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Zoe begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family—and her own…?

500 Miles From You

Lissa, is a nurse in a gritty, hectic London neighborhood. Always terribly competent and good at keeping it all together, she’s been suffering quietly with PTSD after helping to save the victim of a shocking crime. Her supervisor quietly arranges for Lissa to spend a few months doing a much less demanding job in the little town of Kirrinfeif in the Scottish Highlands, hoping that the change of scenery will help her heal. Lissa will be swapping places with Cormack, an Army veteran who’s Kirrinfeif’s easygoing nurse/paramedic/all-purpose medical man. Lissa’s never experienced small-town life, and Cormack’s never spent more than a day in a big city, but it seems like a swap that would do them both some good.
In London, the gentle Cormack is a fish out of the water; in Kirrinfief, the dynamic Lissa finds it hard to adjust to the quiet. But these two strangers are now in constant contact, taking over each other’s patients, endlessly emailing about anything and everything. Lissa and Cormack discover a new depth of feeling…for their profession and for each other.

Jenny Colgan has become practically a cult Towne Book Center favorite author. I’ve rarely seen so many of her books on other stores’ shelves and since I brought The Bookshop on the Corner into the store, I’ve seen her popularity increase her in leaps and bounds. This is her most recent, and most serious work yet, but is full of her trademark wit and showcases some amazing friendships, as well as a sweet romance – all the things one wants in a great summer read!


While the bookshop series is our favorite here at the store, we’ve featured many more of Jenny’s books on the website, just click the button above to see them all! And stay tuned for the next round of the Summer Staff Picks competition tomorrow!

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