The Printed Letter Bookshop

The Printed Letter Bookshop

by Katherine Reay


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“Powerful, enchanting, and spirited, this novel will delight.” —Patti Callahan, bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Love, friendship, and family find a home at the Printed Letter Bookshop

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls.

When Madeline’s professional life falls apart, and a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. Has she been too quick to dismiss her aunt’s beloved shop? And even if she has, the women’s best combined efforts may be too little, too late.

"The Printed Letter Bookshop is a captivating story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings, and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.” —Rachel McMillan, author of Murder in the City of Liberty

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785222002
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 27,006
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily Price, The Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flair. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and isa wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL. You can meet her at; Facebook: KatherineReayBooks; Twitter: @katherine_reay; or Instagram: @katherinereay.

Read an Excerpt



People parted around us in the courtyard. No one stopped to say anything — why would they? No one had ever seen us before. I paused, hearing something about champagne and a celebration. I was sure I was mistaken. Two women slid around me into the sea of black. From behind they appeared an unlikely pair. One stiff, as if held up by a single rod, while the other walked with the grace of a yogini. Black pants swirled around her ankles.

At the close of the service we had walked back down the aisle, heads straight, following Dad's lead. But once we spilled out into the stone entryway, the crowd separated us. I looked around for Mom and found her several feet away, talking to a group of women. One reached out and held her arm, as if Mom needed consolation. Perhaps she did. She was the only one in our family who had kept in touch with Aunt Maddie over the years.

The icy rain had stopped, but the clouds felt no less foreboding. The sleet or snow would soon return. Dad watched the sky for a long time. So long, I tipped my head back as well.

"Almost twenty years." He dropped his gaze and stared at me. "That's how long since I spoke to my sister before last month, but she didn't tell me. She said she was calling to say she loved me." He gripped the back of his neck. It wrinkled white under the pressure. "I wouldn't have answered if I'd recognized the number."

His eyes held a rare hint of vulnerability, so I pressed the advantage. "Well, it was about time. It wasn't your fault. None of it."

He cast me an odd, questioning look. Dad, who never questioned. Who held all the answers. "It was my fault. Every bit of it. And I had never seen her so angry. But I was angry too, and ... ashamed ..." Dad breathed in. And out. "I hated that she judged me, but I don't think she did. I don't think she ever held it against me."

"What? What are you talking about?"

His gaze flickered in alarm or pain before it drifted above and beyond me. He shook his head and walked toward the church's circular drive.

Bits of conversation snagged me as we passed. "Isn't there a reception?"

"What about her house?"

"Her brother should host one. Didn't she have a brother?"

"No ... That was Pete's brother in the front row. Maddie didn't have any family."

I looked to Dad and wondered if he'd heard. If those women had done the same, looked at my dad, they would have seen he could never have been Uncle Pete's brother. He and his sister shared the same deep-set eyes, eyebrows, and nose. Her "Irish twins," Granny Caoimhe called them. They looked alike, walked alike, laughed alike. Both bit the side of their cheek when deep in thought, narrowed their eyes when something didn't sound right, and laughed loudest at their own jokes.

Though, if I remembered correctly, Aunt Maddie's laugh was more of a contagious giggle that held strong until you caught on and joined her. Dad's, I knew from experience, held a slight condescension — you simply hadn't caught the brilliance of his humor.

Mom reached us as their driver pulled to the curb. "Maddie was certainly adored. So many people. Shouldn't we go by her house to make sure it's okay? Houses don't like to be left alone."

Dad opened the car's door. "I haven't heard from her lawyers. Who knows who owns it now? We could be trespassing ... Madeline?"

I shook my head. "I have no idea. No one has contacted me." "That's it then. Until told, it's not our concern." He dropped inside.

Mom pulled me into a hug. "I hate leaving you like this. We hardly saw you this trip." She glanced into the dark car.

"It's okay, Mom. You both are busy. I'm busy."

"It's not okay, but I'll be back in four days."

I nodded.

"I land on the seventh, as I'm sure the firm will host something extravagant on the sixth. And I'll get myself to your apartment." She gestured to the parking lot. "How are you getting back downtown?"

"I took the Metra up."

"In the rain? Let us take you back before it starts again." She leaned into the car. "Do we have time to take —"

"Don't worry about it." I tugged at her shoulder. They didn't have time before their flight back to New York. And Dad would not be happy to veer from his predetermined schedule.

"Charlotte?" he called as if cued.

She waved her hand into the car. "As I said, I'll be here on the seventh." She curled a finger around my ear the way she used to do when I was young, and drew a loose strand of hair forward. She often chided me for being too severe. The gesture made me smile and I leaned into her touch.

"My daughter is about to make partner, the youngest partner I might add, at one of Chicago's top law firms. That's worth celebrating." She pulled me close and kissed my cheek. "It's important to celebrate, to mark occasions, dear. Don't forget that."

"Thanks, Mom."

One more squeeze and she, too, dropped into the car. I was left standing alone, with a sea of black behind me all consoling one another over their loss, and an empty street in front of me. No one knew me. I knew no one. And I wasn't sure what I'd lost.

Rather than turn into the crowd, I let memories of Aunt Maddie wash past as I stepped across the church's driveway and headed toward the train station. Past the small village square. Past the gas station that had served soft swirls so long ago. I tripped over a shift in the sidewalk and found myself at the edge of the small park I had sat in before the service. I swiped at the bench and dropped onto it again. There was time before the train.

Madeline Cullen Carter. Same name as me, minus the Carter. I'd been named after her and, until that summer, my dad had only spoken of her in glowing terms. He worshiped her. Only thirteen months older, his "crazy" brilliant sister was everything he wasn't. And crazy was his highest compliment. I could hear it in his voice. My crazy sister went skydiving. Skydiving at forty-five ... She's up to more craziness; she and Pete want to open a bookstore ... She and Pete are headed to Haiti next month to help with relief efforts from Hurricane Dennis ...

Crazy meant bold, daring, fearless. It was a radiant word, endowed with virtue and supernatural strength. For years, I wanted to be called crazy too. But after my last trip, nineteen years ago, the same word, previously laden with excitement, adoration, and a hint of envy, emerged with snarled derision and disgust.

Their retirement savings caused the rift and divided us all. She and Uncle Pete had invested in Dad's Millennium Tech Fund — and, like practically every other tech fund in the spring and summer of 2000 — it vanished.

But shouldn't she have been more understanding? More forgiving? Shouldn't family have meant more than money? Everyone was hurt when the tech bubble burst. Everyone lost money. Yes, some more than others, but it wasn't the managers' faults. That was like blaming Hurricane Dennis on the meteorologists.

But anger can be as irrational as it is visceral. I felt it at school as my best friends avoided, then shunned me, sure my dad had caused all their parents' troubles. And after we returned from Aunt Maddie's house that summer, the apartment felt as silent and somber as school. Mom and Dad retreated to separate corners to heal. They never laughed, never went out to parties or dinners; they hardly spoke. In my most honest moments, I admit I chose Northwestern Law School in an attempt to push reconciliation. Maybe I was trying to rewrite history and prove people could be forgiving and kind. Maybe I wanted assurance that money, gained or lost, didn't rule the world. New York had taught me otherwise, but Chicago? Maybe ...

It never happened.

Aunt Maddie occasionally called and invited me to Eagle Valley for dinner, or volunteered to come visit me downtown, but she never mentioned my father, never said it was all okay, never let him off the hook, and never forgave him. And I never pushed it — I shouldn't have had to.

I leaned back against the bench. It was my fault. Every bit of it ... Dad said those very words. How was that true? Aunt Maddie had spent years blaming him for something out of his control.

"Are you okay?"

I bolted upright. Somehow I had missed a bright red Patagonia fleece standing feet from my face. "I — How long have you been standing there?"

The face above the fleece flashed straight white teeth. The straight teeth led to a slightly bumped nose and remarkable green eyes. His whole face lit with a smile.

"The length of that question. I just came from there." He pointed across the street to the Catholic church's rectory. "The church maintains the park and I was working earlier, but needed to take a break." He used the same hand to sweep behind him. I noted a pile of burlap and a wheelbarrow. As he turned back, he pulled his other hand from his jeans pocket and offered a white handkerchief. I then felt what he must have noticed — my eyes were sticky and most likely red. He jiggled the handkerchief in front of me until I reached for it.

"I haven't seen one of these since my grandfather died."

"My granddad left me all his. They feel old-fashioned, but I find comfort in that."

"Me too."

"And damsels in distress love them." His eyes were an extraordinary color. They danced with laughter. His voice dripped with innuendo.

"Damsels?" I gave a barkish laugh before I could choke it back, and felt myself grow red. I waved toward the rectory. "You're a priest. How is that appropriate?"

He followed my hand, and his smiling face blanched. It had held a hint of tan that I only noticed as it washed away. "Where'd you get that — I'm — I'm the yardman."

He stumbled over his job title as if surprised — or lying.

"Are you?" The lawyer in me awoke.

He leveled his gaze on me, and the eyes glittered again as if he knew exactly what I was doing and found it amusing. But people don't deal straight unless pushed.

"Yes. My brother lives there. Father Luke, he's the priest. You can go ask him who stole half his roast beef on rye if you'd like."

"I believe you." I remembered why I was holding the handkerchief and dried my eyes. I then forgot it was a handkerchief and blew my nose.

He caught my shocked expression and smiled again.

"I think I should keep it now. I can wash it and get it back to you."

He flapped his hand. "That's what you were supposed to do with it. And I have plenty."

I scanned the park. We were the only ones out.

"It's not a nice day for yard work." I gestured to the burlap.

He twisted to follow my gaze. "It's not, but it's my job. And if I don't get all these covered today, we might lose some. We weren't supposed to get really cold for another week, but we're dipping to the single digits tonight and snow is coming. Shows what the meteorologists know."

"I didn't know it would be so bad when I left downtown. I came for a funeral." I waved my hand in the general direction of the Presbyterian church.

"Madeline Carter?" At my nod, he added. "I was there too."

"I'm not surprised. It was packed. She was well known, wasn't she?"

I heard the lift in my question even if he didn't. Who was she? Really? After seeing Dad, hearing him, feeling his shame — for that's what had layered him like a thick coat this morning — I wondered if I knew her, or him, at all.

"Well loved, that's for sure." The man pulled pruning shears from his other back pocket and tipped them across the street. "She met me at Luke's about a year ago. She brought me soup, and books. Always books. You?"

"She was my aunt."

His brow furrowed. Years of watching clients had taught me well. My comment either confused or bothered him. Before I could ask, he cleared the emotion from his face. "You sit and I'll leave you be."

Irritation tempered by disappointment.

I shook my head and stood. "I can't." I found myself eye to chin, thinking his was a nice chin. A little stubble, but not too much, a good firm jaw and straight lines. I liked straight lines. Clear facts. Strong foundations. My gaze drifted north again and, despite his obvious displeasure in me, I found kind eyes — and ears that stuck out a little. That made me smile. Dumbo's ears stuck out too.

I noted that he caught the change in my smile. His eyes flickered a question.

"The train," I blurted. "I have to catch the 12:11 back downtown."

"I'm sorry for your loss." He turned and walked away.

I hesitated, not long enough to get his attention, but long enough to feel silly staring at his back.

Then I did the same; I turned on my heel and walked away, booking it double-time to the train station.

* * *


Ten forty and the church is packed. It should make me happy that everyone feels about Maddie as I do, that everyone loves her and will miss her, but it only ticks me off. I spent every day for the past two years with the woman, and now I can't find a seat from which to send her off. Who are all these people? Where were they these past months? Or these past weeks when hospice came and her house grew quiet with that warm, sticky scent of death?

I can't blame them. I want to, believe me I do. But I can't. Maddie never let anyone know how bad it was. I only found out because I trampled on her privacy, for my own purposes. I had nowhere else to go so I forced her to let me in.

Each night as we closed up the bookshop I'd ask her, "What are you up to tonight?" She was my employer, and more than ten years my senior, but I secretly hoped that one night she might hear my loneliness and maybe suggest we go out to dinner.

Despite being a widow, Maddie was never alone. "It's bridge night at Suzie's house ... My prayer group is meeting for dinner at Valley Landing ... My book club, the former squash players, not the library group, is meeting to discuss In the Midst of Winter ... I'm volunteering at the soup kitchen on Waukegan ... I'm ..."

There was always something or someone filling her days — and her evenings.

Until one day I couldn't take it any longer. "Can I come?"

She stared at me, a long smile building until it burst out. It made all the wrinkles in her face dig deep. Maddie's wrinkles were born of a million smiles. She was all horizontal lines, stairstepping into her salt-and-pepper crown.

"That wasn't so hard, was it? I wondered when you were going to ask to join."

"You could've invited me," I fired back.

"And you could stop playing the victim." The words shot out staccato and seemed to startle her as much as they did me. She followed with a quick, "Let me grab my keys," and fled the room.

By the time she returned, her bright smile was back in place and the moment had passed. And though my surprise and anger lingered, to revisit her sharp reply felt petty and beyond pathetic. I kept my mouth shut.

I only remember that exchange because it was one of the rare times I did keep my mouth shut. Maddie used to tease me about "living in the present tense" — allowing no time for reflection or a heartbeat of pause to separate my will and my actions.

She was right. I do live in the present. But I don't see how it's wrong. The past only brings regret, and the future holds nothing bright.

I survey the church. There are two pews in the front draped with red velvet Reserved signs. For family, I assume. They are empty. Figures. When Pete died ten years ago, I didn't hear much about family. I didn't know Maddie back then, but I still attended the funeral. Half of Eagle Valley showed up, and all those groups of women came in hordes to help her. Every book club, volunteer organization, church group, and the town's business association banded together to make sure all her needs were met — well, not all her needs, her husband had just died.

But they brought enough food that Maddie didn't cook for almost a year. My husband — my ex-husband — Seth was close to Pete, and to her. It was his idea to give her a trunk-style freezer for her garage. At the time, I balked — I balked at most things in those days. But over the past few months, that freezer came in very handy.

Back then, no family came to honor Pete. And it looks like no family has come today. Not that Maddie didn't call us all family. I can't name a single person in Eagle Valley who didn't love her. The letters framed all over the shop attest to that. They're from kids Maddie taught and tutored, and from friends who were excited about the new bookstore. They are letters of love, which Pete framed and hung when they opened their doors. She could recite each by heart.


Excerpted from "The Printed Letter Bookshop"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Katherine Reay.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Printed Letter Bookshop 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
DragonNimbus 4 days ago
As a librarian I'm drawn to books about books, libraries, bookshops so of course I asked for an ARC of The Printed Letter Bookshop. I was delighted! The Bookshop is owned by Maddie and operated with the help of Janet and Claire in a small village outside Chicago. Maddie dies from cancer after keeping her illness hidden from the rest of her estranged family. She leaves the Bookshop, her house and everything else to her niece Madeline, who used to come stay with her during summer but hasn't been back since a big blow-up between her father (Maddie's brother). Madeline was shocked to learn of Maddie's death and her subsequent inheritance. At first, Madeline wants nothing to do with anything that will interfere with her plans to climb the corporate ladder within her Chicago law firm. As often happens in life, things don't turn out as she planned and Madeline finds herself trying to get the shop and Maddie's house in shape to sell to relieve the large debt that was also part of her inheritance. A she familiarizes herself with the shop and the people, Madeline gets to know Claire and Janet as well as more about her aunt, She learns more about herself, too, as she discovers the reason for her family's estrangement from Maddie and takes another look at her life. The story is told from alternating points of view and goes into the lives of the three main characters: Madeline's, Janet's ( a lonely, divorced, gifted artist in her 40's), and Claire's ( happily married, mother of teenagers who are growing away from her). The three very different women find family in the quirky customers who visit the store and the people who Maddie loved and helped. Maddie left them each a letter including a list of books she recommended for each of them. As they work through their lists, they find common ground, and a new understanding of the woman who loved them. I really enjoyed this book and the opportunity to read an advanced copy! It was a little slower paced then some, but the characters are well-developed. I found myself wanting to be a part of the Bookshop family and friends with the ladies in spite of their self-realiized flaws (also well-developed). Many will be drawn by the title, but the writing and story will keep them !
PrincessGlor 6 days ago
This book ended up being a charming read! The storyline intrigued me from the first time I heard about it and I immediately wanted to read it. Once I started it, I was drawn in to the lives of the three women. As the book progressed, it did get a little heavy with all the ladies were going through but the story wove together beautifully. By the end I had connected with a couple characters in particular and I ended up loving the book. A great read! It’s not a sunshine and flowers book but it’s real and good. I received this book from NetGalley and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
auditor2 9 days ago
One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care. I want to work in this bookshop. I loved the book. While the book was primarily about family relationships, there was a tiny bit of mystery, albeit easily figured out, and some romance. But it had a feel goodness about it. It took a while for the thee ladies to really like each other. And it was so exciting to see each other find themselves. As far as faith elements of the book, the author references the Proverbs. She also allows Father Luke to counsel at least one of the ladies. She also cites some very famous Christian books including one about Corrie Ten Boon. I received a copy of the book for reading and performing my review. The thoughts are my own.
Veronicess 10 days ago
I loved this book so much :) It felt a bit like a love letter to all bookish people. The writing was amazing, and Janet, Claire and Madeline’s stories were exactly what I needed in my life right now. It was about friendship, love, loss and basically just life. It was so charmingly written, I didn't want the book to end. I will definitely go and read some more books from this author.
BBulow 11 days ago
A bookshop, lists of books, and friendship - what more could a bibliophile want out of a story? A book about books and bookshops and bookish things is a delight to be sure because "that's what books do...they are a conversation, and introduce us to ourselves and to others," as the beloved Maddie of this book says. These are just the base elements that blend together to make the rich, layered tale that is The Printed Letter Bookshop. More than "just" books, this story is about making peace with life and those in it and choosing to be in charge of your own story: "It's like you live in those classics you love, in some odd third-person narration, as if you aren't in charge of your own story. Who is, if not you, for goodness' sake?" The story is about three women, Madeline, Claire, and Janet, and also one person and place around which their lives meet: Maddie, the owner of a bookshop, and the bookshop itself. Though at first I was taken aback by the three different narrators, I ended up liking all three of them quite a bit. While I typically prefer only one or two narrators, I felt equally interested in the lives of all three women. I enjoyed watching the relationship between them unfold. I loved the realness of each one, their struggles and their triumphs, and the often messy yet wonderful nature of life shines throughout the entire story. Reay has written another charming yet deep story that is sure to meet a lot of readers right where they are in life. I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not require to give a positive review, and the opinions expressed here are my own.
JennyLibrarian 13 days ago
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a free Advanced Reading Copy in exchange for my honest review. I enjoyed this book immensely. Other reviewers mentioned not liking the characters, especially Janet. I found them all to be interesting and realistic and felt that the changes over the course of the book were also realistic. Apparently, the author is a Christian writer. This did not become evident until more than half-way through the book, and it was done fairly subtly. There was an odd device that the author used that I'm not sure worked well. There are three narrators (the three women who work together in the bookshop). Two of the characters spoke in the first person, while the last character (Claire)'s narrative was done in the third person. The reasoning for this is explained half-way through the book, but it didn't do much for me. All-in-all a thoroughly enjoyable, light read. I would not characterize this as a romance novel in the traditional sense.
Heidi_Reads 14 days ago
I can't think of a cozier setting than a bookshop! The Printed Letter Bookshop is a beloved community haven just outside Chicago, and the person who makes it that way, Aunt Maddie, has just died at the beginning of the book- it opens with her funeral. Even though she is not alive during the story, she is very much a presence and influence throughout, thanks to Claire, Janet, Madeline, and several others whose lives were touched by her. I always enjoy this author's lovely manner of using words as she brings her characters and setting to life, they are both grounding and lifting. The way the details of the lives of these three women- four, including Maddie- were slowly revealed peaked my curiosity and kept me interested in their struggles and successes, even though romance was not a main focus of the plot. It was more about the relationships they had with Maddie, each other, and themselves, becoming self-aware and changing as they realized the direction they want their lives to take. The literary references are fun and I wish the bookshop was a real place I could visit! (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
rendezvous_with_reading 14 days ago
The book lover in me really enjoyed this one! Thank you TLC Book Tours, Thomas Nelson and Katherine Reay for this free copy to review! The book lover in me really enjoyed this one! Each of the three women tied to the bookshop are dealing with internal struggles about the direction their lives have taken and the stress in their family relationships. The deceased, Aunt Maddie, left Madeline, Janet and Claire each a letter with a personalized list of books she suggests they read. As the women work through their lists, they find insight that helps them work through their individual turmoil. I really enjoyed all the literary references scattered throughout the plot. The Printed Letter Bookshop shows how integral independent bookshops are to the spirit of the communities they serve. This is a perfect, lighthearted, cozy read and an ode to independent bookshops everywhere.
SallyH 15 days ago
This kind of writing lets you see everything in both the settings and the characters, and this bookshop is adorable. Reay was clever in giving us three characters to follow, as getting their perspective is important at times in how the story plays out and how the bookshop tackles its problems. Three women with different issues and ways of dealing with life. Three women determined to keep the bookshop not just afloat but thriving. Three women who have to not only talk to each other and strategize together, but who can't really do a great job until they find peace within themselves first. Yes, there's a handsome hunk of burning love in the picture too, but he isn't the center of this lovely story of courage and the ability to find your compass and start traveling to your own true north.
MitBrooks 17 days ago
I absolutely LOVED this book. I loved the characters - I loved the format - I loved the overall writing. I sincerely hope to see more of this story in future books. Katherine Reay is a new favorite. She has such a wonderful way of weaving a story from each characters perspective - without stepping over each other. I truly can't wait to read more from this author!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! *book provided by publisher for honest review*
5643437 20 days ago
The Printed Letter Bookshop looks at life, death, family relationships and more. When families become estranged from one another, it provides the basis for numerous unexpected paths to be taken. Divorce, estrangement, and difficult family relationships all play a role in this book, but my favorite part is the bookstore itself. It seems to be the type of place to build community in its heyday while being the stuff heartbreak comes from in later years. When Madeline inherits her estranged aunt’s bookstore, she initially wants only to sell it. As a high-powered attorney, she only has dreams of making partner. But when she is passed over for that promotion, she decides to manage the bookstore while preparing it to sell. Jessica has faced divorce and more. Courtney has her own family problems as well. But can these three women save the bookstore? Read the story to find out for yourself. I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.
TarynLee 20 days ago
This was a lovely step into the relationships that we have as children and how they grow as we become adults. The happiness that childhood usually brings can change into a bitterness as we become adults. The author takes us on a journey into a young woman's life and how as the years have passed her life changes into something that isn't what she expected. A place she once held dear turns into something she can't wait to get rid of. The Printed Letter Shop was owned by Madeline's Aunt but now that she has passed is left in the hands of Madeline. An albatross around her neck she can't wait to get rid of the shop and move forward with her life. When her life unexpectedly changes she starts looking for a life line to grab hold. As life grabs her and pushes her toward a different road she begins to wonder if the shop and owning it is such a bad thing after all. I loved the emotions that the author pulled from me as I turned from page to page. This was a fantastic read that showed the good and bad side that relationships can bring and that dealing with them is never easy but in the end we can find peace by letting things go.
YayaReadsalot 20 days ago
I received an advanced digital copy of this book from and the publisher. My thanks to both for the opportunity to read Ms. Reay's newest work. This is a book for the bookish. A fun read, interesting characters and story. A bit of mystery and romance and a lot of the relationships between women. Highly recommend.
amandainpa 23 days ago
I, like most book lovers, gravitate towards "books about books" so this was definitely a story that I wanted to pick up. The story follows 3 women, all dealing with different things in their personal (and sometimes professional) lives and how they work together (figuratively and literally) to save their beloved bookstore.  The characters in the story were very real, none of them were perfect, they all had many flaws and their growth was very natural and beautiful to witness. The setting of this book was simply delightful...I wish The Printed Letter Bookshop was a real store that I could visit in real life because visiting it in my mind was so much fun.  I related a lot to some of the struggles that the characters faced, there are many issues addressed in the book...parenting teenagers, forgiveness, pride, infidelity, grudges.  Some of the scenes in this book brought tears to my eyes. The author truly made the characters come to life. My only issue with the book was that the book was told from 3 perspectives (of the 3 main characters)...for 2 of the characters, the story is written in first person, but for the third character, it's written in third person. It was always a bit jarring and confusing when the narrative changed in that way. I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves books. It was such a fun and fulfilling read! I received this book from the publisher/ author to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
amandainpa 23 days ago
I, like most book lovers, gravitate towards "books about books" so this was definitely a story that I wanted to pick up. The story follows 3 women, all dealing with different things in their personal (and sometimes professional) lives and how they work together (figuratively and literally) to save their beloved bookstore.  The characters in the story were very real, none of them were perfect, they all had many flaws and their growth was very natural and beautiful to witness. The setting of this book was simply delightful...I wish The Printed Letter Bookshop was a real store that I could visit in real life because visiting it in my mind was so much fun.  I related a lot to some of the struggles that the characters faced, there are many issues addressed in the book...parenting teenagers, forgiveness, pride, infidelity, grudges.  Some of the scenes in this book brought tears to my eyes. The author truly made the characters come to life. My only issue with the book was that the book was told from 3 perspectives (of the 3 main characters)...for 2 of the characters, the story is written in first person, but for the third character, it's written in third person. It was always a bit jarring and confusing when the narrative changed in that way. I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves books. It was such a fun and fulfilling read! I received this book from the publisher/ author to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
Ourpugs 24 days ago
The printed letter bookshop Madeline aunt passes away and leaves her everything. Including the printed letter bookshop. I love books about bookstores. Mainly this one was where they were trying to be able to keep it. Since finances weren’t actually that good. Will they be able to get things straightened out. This book did have a lot of characters. I do have a hard time trying to keep them all straight in my mind. Must be my age. I did manage to mostly figure them out. One character named Janet definitely had a lot of emotional issues. It was a fast reading book that I enjoyed very much. I received a advanced copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write an positive review. This is my own opinion.
4GranJan 24 days ago
Wonderful Story of Women This is the best piece of Women's Fiction that I have read in a long time. Quality fiction about women in the different stages of life, written without sex, is a rare find. Not to say that there isn't romance and love in this tale, because there is plenty of that. This story is heart-warming, haunting, realistic and worth savoring. It is the story of finding oneself, of moving on and forgiving ourselves. This story is so good that I am recommending it to friends and know I will re-read it. I also plan on checking out this author's other work. I received the ARC book from Net Galley at not cost. This is my honest opinion.
WishEnd 25 days ago
THE PRINTED LETTER BOOKSHOP is one of those stories that easily resonates and will leave readers contemplating long after they've read the last page. Full of laughter, heartbreak, friendship, faith, and love, it's a book that is an emotional journey with a very sweet and satisfying ending. Highly recommended. I was a little worried at first about having three points of view in this story. I should have known better. Reay handled each switch between voices perfectly. The characters were layered and richly drawn. Not only could I relate to each of them, their stories constantly tugged on my heart. There were so many things that I personally could relate to as a wife and mother, but even more so as a woman. There were some definite tear-jerking moments and some really sad, depressing parts. However, those were countered by the wonderful lady who's legacy The Printed Letter Bookshop was, as well as the friendships formed, the laughter shared, the trust in faith, the truth sought, and the forgiveness given. And through it all, these women who have lost themselves, found their paths again. There are so many nuggets of wisdom and things I will be thinking about for some time. A story with all the feels that left me with hope and happily-ever-after content. In the end, was it what I wished for? I loved this story, every single page! The characters were perfectly flawed and each had their own struggles and redemption. It was full of so much heart, friendship, and a bit of sweet romance. I can not recommend it enough. Content: Clean Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review nor affect my review in any way.
Deana0326 25 days ago
I enjoyed my time getting to know the three women featured in this book. They all came from different backgrounds, but they had more in common than they knew. I felt like I spent everyday at the bookstore as customers came in, browsed, read and made friends. The bookstore is the focal point of the story as rumors abound that the new owner will sale. Madeline is very smart and loyal which has caused her to lose touch with her Aunt Maddie. What a shock she had when her aunt's will was read. The timing could not have been more perfect since it was time for a change of scenery for Madeline. What does a respected lawyer do when she inherits a bookstore? The beauty of this story is getting to know each character and watch them struggle, feel remorse, look for forgiveness and find themselves. I loved all the books mentioned in the story and the list of books each woman receives from Maddie. They don't understand the list at first, but Maddie knew just what each one needed to read. I would love to have an Aunt Maddie in my life. She was the glue that held this story together. She touched so many lives and gave her time and wisdom unconditionally. Janet is unsure of herself and my heart broke for her as she longingly wanted to be part of her grandchild's life. There seems to be a theme going throughout the book of bitterness and pride in families . Janet loves working at the bookstore and finds peace there. I think she was looking for acceptance and longed to feel needed. Claire was easy to relate to for me. She seems to feel like a failure when it comes to her teenage daughter. it is hard for them to connect with Claire working at the bookstore and Brittany pulling away from her guidance. There will be a crisis that will have Claire examining her purpose and wanting to protect her daughter. The story is easy to read and I loved watching each woman grow, depend on each other and watch their dreams blossom. There are times when Madeline isn't sure she can save the store and wonders why her aunt left it to her. It was wonderful to see how each woman discovers something about themselves and how they grow as friends. Come join them as they find true friendship and trust in a bookstore. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
NKBookReviewer 26 days ago
As a former Christian Bookstore owner I was delighted when I heard about this book. I actually got a bit giddy when I received it in the mail. This contemporary Christian romance is centered around books, a bookstore, and three women friends. How could it be anything other than fabulous? Katherine Reay is a new to me author. I enjoyed her style of writing. The point of view changes for each of the three main characters, but it was done flawlessly. I actually enjoyed it. The story flowed at an even, natural pace. It didn’t lag or feel rushed. Conversations sounded genuine. There were some twists and turns to make it interesting. The characters were easy to become engaged with and were identifiable. They were well rounded with quirks and all. The author vividly describes them and they become new friends. At times I felt their sadness, pain, and joy. I was immediately invested since it was about a bookshop. However, the book opens with a funeral and takes a bit before it gets to a happy place. I was getting impatient and wanted to hurry through the story to get to the bookshop! Madeline inherits her Aunt Maddie’s bookshop where she helped as a girl. Then something happened between her father and aunt making them estranged. We meet Janet and Claire. They are her friends or ladies working for her and are unique in their own ways. It is a very realistic tale. Author Reay has done her research well. This book is well planned, well organized, and written exceptionally well. It was light on the spirit content for me, but it had great life lessons for hope, forgiveness, friendship, mercy, grace, and love. All in all it was an encouraging book. I definitely recommend this book to all women. It has an entertaining story. Any reader should enjoy a book about books and a bookstore. It is a cozy, quick read that made me giggle a time or two. The romance is sweet. I rated it a 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided from Celebrate Lit, but I was under no obligation to write a review.
csmmom 27 days ago
This was a beautiful story of coming to realize one’s true potential and challenging the things you once thought to be true. This is a book about women, friends, mothers, family and books. The perfect combination and a must read for any book lover.
PreppyBookQueen 28 days ago
Katherine Reay's newest novel is a beautiful story about friendship, fresh starts, healing, and second chances, and a beloved bookshop becomes the perfect setting for three women beginning this journey. Katherine Reay has a beautiful way with words that feels like she was able to incorporate a style reminiscent with the classics into her own unique contemporary setting. I don't think she could write a bad book if she tried, and The Printed Letter Bookshop may just be her best work yet. I tend to really enjoy books that have a bookstore setting, especially when the bookstore plays an integral role in the story. That's definitely the case here, as the bookstore becomes interwoven with each women's story, and plays a central role in the friendship that eventually forms between them. Often when you're reading a novel with three different main characters, one or two will stand out above the rest. I'm happy to say that with this one I actually enjoyed each woman's story equally, and never found myself bored or confused with who's point of view I was currently reading. Madeline's beloved aunt Maddie owned the bookstore, but thanks to familial issues, she never had the chance to know her aunt the way she truly wanted to. When Madeline is left the bookstore, her first thought is to sell it, but when she's passed over for promotion at her big time law firm, she decides to take a step back to reevaluate her life, and decides to spend some time working at the bookstore. Janet has been working at the bookstore for quite awhile, and thanks to a huge mistake she made, the bookstore and Maddie were all she really had left in her life. She's bitter about the way her life's gone, and she can't imagine what will happen if Maddie's niece decides to sell the bookstore. Lastly, Claire has come to feel like her family no longer appreciates or needs her in their lives, and she's begun spending more and more time at the bookstore. She's determined to help Madeline make a go of The Printed Letter bookshop, but they may have bitten off more than they're able to chew. This is the type of Christian fiction novel I really love. It's about real people facing real problems, and learning that only by turning to God, and truly letting yourself heal that you can move forward and overcome past hurts. The bookstore setting is perfect in this novel, and makes an already amazing story even more of a stand out. I especially enjoyed the way many popular book titles are featured throughout, and the way that Maddie uses many of these books to help the three main characters deal with their grief. I couldn't have enjoyed this one more, and I gave it five out of five stars. I think it would be a perfect book club read, and it'll be one that get the highest recommendation from me. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I was not required to give a positive review.
SBMC 28 days ago
“If I’ve learned anything in the past six weeks, it’s that simply not looking to the past is not the same as living in the present. I need not dwell there, but I do need to learn from it.” What a beautifully written book by a master storyteller! And Katherine Reay really knows how to use different points of view and verb tenses to bring the story and characters to full life. Reading this book is like sitting down to a rich, warm soup that is enticing at first bite and bursts into delectable fulfillment on a cold, bitter wintery day. If you enjoy contemporary women’s fiction/romance, you will love this well-crafted work of art that is sure to satisfy. The story is a life journey of three women - Madeline who is in her early thirties, Claire who is in her forties, and Janet who is in her fifties. All three women are so different in their personalities, gifts, and current walks in life but are held together by having known and loved Madeline’s aunt Maddie. They are drawn together to Aunt Maddie’s bookshop where they realize they’re actually quite similar in their struggle to find who they really are. Each of the women’s faith journey is amazing and heart-warming. The men in their lives - Chris, Brian, and Seth - are great characters who are definitely each swoon-worthy in different ways. Another home-run for Katherine Reay! I received a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
Erin_Slocum 29 days ago
My thoughts: I love bookstores or libraries. Something about being surrounded by books just makes me so happy and content. Add a point or two if the old book smell is prevalent. I love a good new book too but older books are just a treasure. Something I've never found in a bookstore though is someone who doesn't love books. I've been in several and the people are always helpful even if they're not employees. If you're in a bookstore wandering around chances are you love books. Therefore, anyone who you meet up with is an instant friend. This is not the case for the employees of The Printed Letter Bookshop and their new owner/boss. They are not instant friends. There is tension and so much uncertainty. Each woman has to let her guard down and open herself up before they can become a team. As Madeline, Courtney, and Jessica find common ground and bond disaster strikes. Someone or someones vandalize the bookstore over Valentine's Day. What a great way to show love? As they go about setting the bookstore to rights many decisions must be made and new relationships are formed. Not only do the women become friends but they also find help with their problems and new and interesting men enter their lives. Will they find the vandalizing culprit? What about finding love? Will their broken hearts mend? Can all wounds be healed? And finally, will the bookstore be sold? I received an ebook copy of this book in order to read and review the title. All thoughts and opinions are my own. No one coerced me to read the book or to give positive feedback.
Annette5151 29 days ago
The cover and description is the first thing that drew me to this book. It sounds like my kind of bookstore! I enjoyed the characters and how they all grew. I loved the story!!