“She breathed in their ancient paper dust, their gentle decay. Between pages like these, she’d always found her refuge.”
The Bookshop of Secrets is an emotional and heart-warming book about family, friends, and forgiveness.
Hope Sparrow has mastered the art of outrunning her tragic past, learning never to stay anywhere too long and never to allow anyone control over her life again. Coming to Wanishin Falls in search of her family’s history already feels too risky. But somewhere in the towering stacks of this dusty old bookshop are the books that hold Hope’s last ties to her late mother—and to a rumored family treasure that could help her start over.
Only, the bookshop is in shambles, and the elderly owner is in the beginning stages of dementia and can’t remember where the books lie. To find the last links to the loved ones she’s lost, Hope must stay and accept help from the townsfolk to locate the treasured volumes. Each secret she uncovers brings her closer to understanding where she came from. But the longer she stays in the quaint town, the more people find their way into the cracks in her heart. And letting them in may be the greatest risk of all…
As many of you know by now, I am a sucker for any book that takes place in a bookshop. I stumbled upon this book on NetGalley and knew I needed to read it. I hadn’t realized that this book was a romance with a focus on faith and God. Not something you would know from its description. I didn’t mind all the religious references in this book; I felt it fit really nicely with the story. But I should let readers know that if you don’t like books that deal with religion, then, The Bookshops of Secrets isn’t for you.
Overall, I loved this story, it tugs at your heartstrings at just those right moments, and the romance between Hope and Ronan is slow and sweet. Mollie’s writing has tremendous emotional depth, and the characters in this book feel so real and raw. I just felt connected to them and wanted to learn more about them. Even though this is a religious romance, the story and the characters are far from that stereotypical idealistic charming image that often graces romance stories. They all have backstories that are tragic or horrific. The story itself has some dark moments that just stay with you. On that note, I should let you know that there are some triggers around abuse, both sexual and physical, in this story. There is nothing graphic in this book, but the topic of abuse is talked about quite a bit.
Please don’t think this book is all doom and gloom because it isn’t. There are plenty of those charming and heartwarming moments, moments of emotional and spiritual healing, and plenty of literary references that any bookworm will love. I found everything was well-balanced, and I loved the mystery around this hidden treasure.
Hope is one of the characters that just sticks with you. There is a quiet strength to her character that you can’t help but be drawn to. I loved watching Hope interact and slowly open up to the people living in Wasishin Falls. Her journey isn’t easy, and it takes a lot of support from friends, Ronan, and God to help her heal. Ronan has plenty of the qualities that many main male romance characters have, but there is this uniqueness to him that makes him stand out. I don’t know if it’s his past experiences or his faith, but I really just like him. He fit just so well with Hope and the story.
The Bookshop of Secrets is a story that will touch your heart.
Thank you, Harlequin and Love Inspired Trade for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.