Title: Angel in a Book Shop
Author: RJ Scott
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Pages/Word Count: 108 Pages
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Blurb: What happens when a broken man has to trust in the impossible?
Chapter One is an antique book shop and is the last tangible thing Josh and his mom have left of his dad. 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. The place is a sad reminder of loss and it has to go, but destroying a business that has been in his family for generations is not a role Josh is looking forward to.
Michael is the owner of Arts Desire, the shop next door. With his rainbow pride mugs and his sunny positive outlook he is the complete opposite to what Joshua thinks he needs in his life.
But, when Josh and Michael become friends, Josh learns that finding true love starts with making big decisions, and that everyone deserves their own Christmas miracle sometimes.
Review: When it comes to her Christmas novels/novellas, RJ Scott has a way of skirting the sparkling veneer of the holiday season and getting right to the contrasts of real life woes that become all the more glaring during what is supposed to be a time of cheer and peace and goodwill toward men.
Josh Blakeman is having a horrible go of it after his father’s passing, and then a skeezy ex takes him for a ride into financial ruin, which leaves him broke in the psychological sense too. The family book shop, Chapter One, has fallen into a state of disregard while he and his mother have grieved Andrew Blakeman’s death, and Josh has coped with (barely) the overwhelming guilt that the money he’d lost wasn’t his to lose to begin with. The dusty and ignored shop filled with rare treasures becomes the backdrop for Josh to begin to put his life back into some sort of order, and to find the strength and courage to put himself back together again, to have faith in himself and to take back control of his life and of his family’s legacy. He is a man who has lost his self-respect, perhaps the greatest loss of all, but it’s amidst the books which reconnect him to his father, and to his childhood, that Josh himself discovers his own treasure.
Introducing Michael into the story, the man who has an art shop next door to Chapter One, Angel in a Book Shop takes a turn toward Christmas magic. Michael is the light in this story—kind, attentive, a bit of a mystery, and it’s through passages of his first person narrative that we, the reader, learn that Michael is more than simply an art dealer who always seems to know when Josh needs a cup of coffee and someone to talk to.
Their friendship grows simply as their attraction plays out somewhat in the background at first, but emerges believably as we witness both Josh’s and Michael’s inner turmoil—they both have secrets to tell, but Michael’s may well be more than Josh is capable of handling, which brings the rising action in the story to its full climax when Michael confesses who he truly is. By the time this takes place in the story, I was so invested in them and their building on the connection they’d made that I was more than ready for their happy ending.
Angel in a Book Shop is a holiday romance that forgoes the garland and baubles, portrays pain and sadness, and tells a story of love and hope, and, perhaps most of all, miracles. Leave it to RJ Scott to go straight for the heart. She hits her target with this heartwarming story.
You can buy Angel in a Book Shop here: