Rating: 3.75 stars rounded up to 4 stars out of 5
What happens when a broken man has to trust in the impossible?
Joshua Blakeman is a lost and broken man. It’s been one year since his father died and now Joshua stands in his father’s beloved book store, trying to decide what course to take. Chapter One is an antique book shop nestled in a quiet square a few steps from London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, it is boarded up with whitewashed windows and no new stock. Standing alone amongst the stacked books and loaded shelves, Joshua is lost in his memories of his father and the past. Chapter One is the last tangible thing Joshua Blakeman and his mom have left of his father and his uncle is trying hard to get Joshua to sell the business, especially the building.
Then Michael appears with a welcome cup of coffee and an offer of friendship and suddenly the future appears brighter and Joshua’s choices wider. Michael is the owner of Arts Desire, the shop next door. With his rainbow pride mugs and his sunny outlook, he is the complete opposite of what Joshua thinks he deserves. However, Michael’s constant and supportive presence starts to heal some of the pain that Joshua has carried inside and soon Joshua sees that Chapter One and Michael might very well be his future.
But his uncle is pressing Joshua to sell, and other mysterious things are happening around the bookshop. As the pressures mount, Josh learns that finding true love starts with making big decisions—and that everyone deserves their own Christmas miracle sometimes. Even Joshua and a mystery named Michael.
Released around the holidays, RJ Scott’s Angel in a Book Shop is a delightful, hopeful story for all seasons. It all starts with Joshua Blakeman, one of RJ Scott’s more poignant characters. Our first introduction to Josh shows us a young man wearing his frailties and grief like a winter coat. His thoughts are filled of his father, his love of books and Josh’s own recent breakdown. Between Scott’s vivid descriptions of Joshua and those of the closed up bookstore you can almost smell the mustiness, dust, and the air of abandonment that hovers over them both. The further we get into the story, the more we learn about Joshua’s history and background. He is vulnerable, and very easy for the reader to fall in love with.
For most of the novel, Joshua is our narrator, the story told from his point of view. But Josh is not the only voice heard from. From the beginning there is a mysterious man commenting on the events and Joshua himself. His thoughts and yearnings are dispersed among the chapters and scenes told from Joshua’s perspective. At first who is speaking is unclear, then the identity is revealed. How you feel about this element will pretty much predict how much you will enjoy this story.
The character of Michael, the artist next door, feels less substantial than Joshua. Joshua is such a strong character that it would take an equally impressive persona to offset him and I’m not quite sure that Michael ever got there for me. Perhaps that was intentional. There is so many elements here that require a certain amount of faith and suspension of belief. I needed Michael to have more presence, more force, considering the story and events that take place. But even while I felt that Michael was less than I had hoped, the plot and Joshua were so moving and sweet that I took both Joshua and his story into my heart.
I love RJ Scott and recommend Angel in a Book Shop to all lovers of holiday romance or those who believe in the miracle of love.
Cover Artist Meredith Russell. Sweet cover, perfect for the story.
ebook, 108 pages
Published December 12th 2014 by Love Lane Books Limited
(first published December 10th 2014)