Wednesday, May 25, 2022

ARC Review: The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery

The Boardwalk Bookshop

Susan Mallery
Publication: MIRA; Original edition (May 31, 2022)

Description: When fate brings three strangers to a charming space for lease on the California coast, the Boardwalk Bookshop is born. Part bookstore, part gift shop, part bakery, it's a dream come true for Bree, Mikki and Ashley. But while their business is thriving, their personal lives are…not.

Bree, wounded by brilliant but cold parents and her late husband's ultimate betrayal, has sworn to protect her heart at all costs. Even from Ashley's brother, a writer and adventurer who has inspired millions. He's the first man to see past Bree's barricades to her true self, which terrifies her. Mikki has this divorce thing all figured out—somehow, she's stayed friends with her ex and her in-laws…until a new man changes how everyone looks at her, and how she sees herself. Meanwhile, Ashley discovers that the love of her life never intends to marry. Can she live without being a wife if it means she can have everything else she's ever wanted?

At sunset every Friday on the beach in front of the Boardwalk Bookshop, the three friends share a champagne toast. As their bond grows closer, they challenge one another to become the best versions of themselves in this heartachingly beautiful story of friendship, sisterhood and the transformative power of love.

My Thoughts: This book is packed with relationships. Bree, Mikki, and Ashley met when they all looked at a building on the beach for their businesses. It was too big for any one of them, but they decide to lease it together. Bree will run the Boardwalk Bookshop. Micki will have her gift shop. And Ashley will run her muffin and cupcake bakery. 

Meanwhile, Mikki who has been divorced for three years is getting into the dating game again by joining a dating app. She has a great relationship with her ex and likes him much better now that they are divorced, but she's looking for a man who matches her own current interests.

Ashley is in a relationship and is very happy until she realizes that her boyfriend never wants to get married. He wants a long-term committed relationship with a house and children but doesn't want a wedding or a marriage. While Ashley isn't the sort of woman who began planning her future wedding as a teen, she can't get over the fact that her boyfriend never wants to make the final commitment of marriage.

Bree is widowed and lives her life with a series of one-night stands. She doesn't want any sort of emotional commitment. She was neglected and emotionally abused by her distant parents who are also famous literary authors. And her marriage was also emotionally a failure since she was the only one who loved and he was just using her. She knows she's damaged and afraid to take a chance again.

When Ashley's brother Harding, who suffered a very severe accident as a teen and who is now an author, is scheduled for a book signing at Bree's store, Ashley asks her not to start a relationship with her brother. Even though she is younger, Ashley feels very protective of her brother and his heart. 

Harding isn't in agreement. He wants a relationship with Bree and has the love and patience to wait her out. 

It was nice that all three women managed to find happy relationships, but the journey for each of them was traumatic and heart-wrenching. I enjoyed getting to know all three of the women and rejoiced when things finally worked out for all of them.

Fans of women's fiction will enjoy this emotional story. 

Favorite Quote:
Because love didn't transform a person into someone else, she thought as she parked in her spot. Love wasn't a cure or a solution. Love might make a person want to be their best self but it didn't fundamentally alter beliefs.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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