2021 Book Reviews · Favourite Books

The Village Green Bookshop by Rachael Lucas

‘Frustrated that she spends all her time as either a mum to a football-obsessed teenager or a wife to a workaholic husband, Hannah wants something for herself. When the chance comes to take over the Post Office in Little Maudley, a charming Cotswold village, Hannah grabs it with both hands.

But village life is not so picture-perfect after all: Hannah finds herself an outsider in this tight-knit community where the height of your hedge is a gossip-worthy subject. Even her idea to introduce a small bookshop to the Post Office causes a stir. At least Ben seems to have found his place as he joins the local football team, coached by ex-professional Jake Lovatt. But a shocking secret from their past threatens to uproot the new life they’ve made for themselves, and has drastic consequences . . .

It has been a while since I posted a review on here, but sometimes you read a book so utterly perfect, that you NEED to shout about it, wherever and however you can. So here I am to shout at you, about why Rachael Lucas should without a doubt be one of your go-to authors.

The Village Green Bookshop is the second novel based in Little Maudley. (The first book featuring Little Maudley is The Telephone Box Library) You don’t need to read them in order, both can be read as stand alone novels, but I urge to read both, like now. Right now!

The story is told from two perspectives, Hannah a tired mum of a football crazed teen, struggling to keep his nose clean and wife of a husband who is never home, but when he is, he is very distant. Although married she almost lives her life as a single parent.

Then we have Jake, an ex professional football player. Retired at a young age due to an injury and at a loss of what to do with his life now. He loved playing football but not the fame that came with it, so he is enjoying the anonymity that comes with village life, even if the locals do get starry eyed, at least here is isn’t hounded by press.

The book starts with Hannah attending a family funeral, alone. Where she catches up with her cousin Beth, she confesses to the trouble she is having with her son, Ben. Beth confesses she is over village life and craves being back in a busy city, whereas Hannah finds the idea of village life idyllic. So Beth suggests that Hannah move into her home and runs the village shop, that way she can get Ben away from his new gang of friends and the trouble that seems to follow them. Hannah thinks it a crazy idea but also thinks it is brilliant. So she goes back with Beth to check it all out, telling herself she is JUST looking. But of course she falls ,all in love with the village shop and in her head can already see the changes she plans to make, like a corner dedicated to books…

Before she knows it Hannah is agreeing to talk to Phil and discuss the possibility of moving to Little Maudley. You see she has spent her entire life following Phil around the country for his career and she has never asked for anything. When she approaches Phil, he is on board with the entire idea, only he wants to stay in their current house for 6months, to get it ready for renting and finishing up some projects at work. So off Hannah and Ben set, for a fresh start!

Hannah and Ben very quickly settle into village life, but Hannah finds the villagers a different story all together. Many seem, almost wary of her. Hannah is sure it is because of her cousin Beth, who earned herself the title of village gossip. She has her work set out but is determined to make it work! The village does the perfect job of keeping Ben out of trouble, he makes new friends and gets onto the local football team which gives him the drive and determination to sort himself out once and for all. But whilst village life and Ben seem to be getting under control, Hannah finds her relationship with Phil and the gaping hole in their marriage, widening more than ever.

As for Jake, newly single in his huge house, he soon finds out he has a long lost sister, when she turns up on his doorstep one evening, wet and cold having runaway from an abusive relationship. The pair of them are still awkward around each other and still trying to get to know one another. Jake having came from nothing and brought up by his aunt, suddenly found fame and money almost over night. Thanks to his football skills. Now retired with no interest in being on TV as a pundit, he finds himself searching for what happens next. With no interest in participation of village life/gossip he sets about making himself involved in the local football club.

Hannah and Jake bump into each other and both form a friendship. Hannah has no idea who he is and Jake loves that about her, she genuinely likes him for who he is rather that what he is. Jake also kind of crushes on Hannah! Jake becomes a firm friend and takes on Ben because he truly believes Ben is talented with the potential to play professional football. So becomes a bit of a mentor, something that Hannah really appreciates. Hannah has a lot to change within the shop and much to prove to the villagers, who seem to have made their mind up about her sight unseen. As for Jake, he has a lot going on with his personal life and needs to discover who he is now his dream is over. Maybe the village is exactly the fresh start they both need.

I absolutely LOVED being back in Little Maudley, I loved the stories in both Hannah and Jakes perspective. Both are such lovely characters and you instantly warm to them and want only the best for them. Which makes it absolutely impossible to put the book down! I also really enjoyed that we saw snippets of what’s happening with past characters, (from The Telephone Box Library) that was a really nice touch. I really liked Ben, although he was struggling to find his place in life and found himself in the hands of the police at times, he was a genuinely good kid. Hannah was a perfect lead character, she was so kind natured and only wanted the best for Ben. You definitely have her back early on and want to shake her telling her that she deserves better. Jake is dreamy, there I’ve said it! I mean I’m probably old enough to be his mother, but even so he is SUCH A GOOD GUY! It is impossible to not fall a little in love with him. He has an absolute heart of gold and watching him become a part of the village is genuinely heart soaring, especially when you learn about his start in life.

Rachael writes with such warmth and beauty, you will be left wishing that Little Maudley was a real place to escape to. Her characters are so likeable, even the full on ones, like Helen (who needs her own book please). I cannot recommend this book enough, I genuinely want to shove it into the hands of everyone I come across. As soon I picked it up, I was drawn in instantly and found myself finishing it the same day!

The Village Green Bookshop is warm, full of love, friendship and utterly perfect! Rachael writes with absolute a beauty that will leave you forever wanting more. Why she can’t write a book a month for me, I will never know. Absolutely divine from beginning to end.

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