The Printed Letter Bookshop [Book Review]

February 6, 2020

 The Printed Letter Bookshop: by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop (cover) by Katherine Reay

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Books About Books, Women’s Fiction, Small Town, Bookshop

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

friendship…forgiveness…second chances…new beginnings

Madeleine’s happiest childhood memory is spending time at her Aunt Maddie’s house and her beloved bookshop. Suddenly, the families become estranged and Madeleine hasn’t seen her aunt in twenty years. After her aunt dies, Madeleine discovers she has inherited everything: the bookshop, the house, the car, and all the debt. At the same time, Madeleine’s career plans are in jeopardy and she begins to seriously investigate what saving the bookshop, moving, and a new plan for her life might involve.

My Thoughts:

Themes: Most of all, I loved the themes in this heartfelt story! A few of the thoughtful themes include women supporting women, sacrificial and supportive friendships, second chances, mother/daughter reconciliation, forgiveness, and new beginnings. The story is told from a Christian perspective and includes a few references to faith and Scripture as the characters grapple with the complexities and challenges of their lives. Don’t let this deter you from reading! As an extra bonus, it includes a hint of romance!

Characters: I also love that the main characters are a decade or more apart in age. Madeleine, the main character, is in her early thirties, and the two bookshop employees are older and in different stages of life. I appreciate the perspectives they add to the story as each of the three characters deals with her own challenges. In the beginning, I found it helpful to take notes to fully connect with the two bookshop employees and remember which one was which. Given time, they became real and fully developed. I love that the characters learn to appreciate, trust, and support each other throughout the story, and true friendships are formed. I enjoy getting to know Aunt Maddie alongside Madeleine as she discovers the unique and special person her aunt was to the community and her employees. Additional characters include Madeleine’s mother and a teenage daughter of one of the employees. As you can see, The Printed Letter Bookshop includes women of varied ages and stages of life. I love that they each embrace the importance of friendship and forgiveness.

Overall: more than chic lit…more than romance… The Printed Letter Bookshop might be shelved as “chic lit,” but it includes more ambitious themes than most of the chic lit I’ve read. I’d categorize it as Women’s Fiction because it’s a story about women and women’s issues. Men are present in the story but are background characters. I love books about books and The Printed Letter Bookshop can be adored for that reason alone! It’s a lovely tribute to women entrepreneurs, friendship and forgiveness, independent bookshops, their staff, and the meaning of books in our lives. The story also reminds me a great deal of How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry in the way that the main character comes in to save the book store, makes friends, and finds out how important the owner (her father in this case) had been to the community.

Recommended: As you might predict, The Printed Letter Bookshop is a 5 star read for me (4.5 rounded up) due mainly to the enjoyment factor and poignant themes. It’s a great choice for a lighter but thoughtful read and for fans of books about books! It would make a lovely gift for a friend or an excellent vacation or relaxing weekend read. For fans of How to Find Love in a Bookshop and The Lost For Words Bookshop. Of Literature and Lattes is a spinoff of The Printed Letter Bookshop.

Thanks, Genie in a Novel for the rec!

My Rating:  4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 stars on Goodreads)

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The Printed Letter Bookshop (cover)

The Printed Letter Bookshop Information

Meet the Author, Katherine Reay

Author Katherine Reay

Katherine Reay is a national bestselling and award-winning author of several novels and one work of nonfiction.

For her fiction, Katherine writes love letters to books, and her novels are saturated with what she calls the “world of books.” They are character driven stories that examine the past as a way to find one’s best way forward. In the words of The Bronte Plot’s Lucy Alling, Katherine writes of “that time when you don’t know where you’ll be, but you can’t stay as you are.”

Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, and after several moves across the globe, lives outside Chicago.

Please visit Katherine on social media, on FB at Katherinereaybooks, Instagram @katherinereay, or visit her website at


Is The Printed Letter Bookshop on your TBR?

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  1. I loved this book as well Carol. I agree, this is not chick-lit. Wonderful review. It is one of the finalists in the Savvy Readers HCC March Madness. It is up against The Huntress. The voting ends April 3rd.

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