The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks
By Shauna Robinson
What it’s about?
I, Maggie Banks, solemnly swear to uphold the rules of Cobblestone Books.
If only, I, Maggie Banks, believed in following the rules.
When Maggie Banks arrives in Bell River to run her best friend’s struggling bookstore, she expects to sell bestsellers to her small-town clientele. But running a bookstore in a town with a famously bookish history isn’t easy. Bell River’s literary society insists on keeping the bookstore stuck in the past, and Maggie is banned from selling anything written this century. So, when a series of mishaps suddenly tip the bookstore toward ruin, Maggie will have to get creative to keep the shop afloat.
And in Maggie’s world, book rules are made to be broken.
To help save the store, Maggie starts an underground book club, running a series of events celebrating the books readers actually love. But keeping the club quiet, selling forbidden books, and dodging the literary society is nearly impossible. Especially when Maggie unearths a town secret that could upend everything.
Maggie will have to decide what’s more important: the books that formed a small town’s history, or the stories poised to change it all.
What I think:
If you like a quirky small town romance and a protagonist that needs to find where she belongs. All with added bookish fun. Then this is definitely the book for you.
The town of Bell River is run by the Bell Society. All if the businesses have some connection to the society and everything has a literary theme inspired by legendary local writer Edward Bell.
Maggie is completely lost – unemployed and stuck in a rut – she agrees to help her pregnant friend, Rochelle, run the town bookshop while she plans her next step.
The town is such a strange mixture of suspicious literary sticklers who want to make sure the Maggie sticks to the script and sells the official Bell story, and friendly and fun locals who take the bookish fun for what it is.
Maggie is a fun and generally likeable character. She genuinely wants to make a success of the bookshop but some of her decision are quite thoughtless and she often acts without thinking through the consequences.
I absolutely love the secret literary events that she sets up – they are witty and clever and I would love to go along in real life. I also really enjoyed Maggie’s reading journey. While classics and set texts have turned her off reading she finds a pleasure in romance and rom coms that then open her eyes to the world of books. The Classics so beloved of the Bell Society are both appreciated and mocked that there’s a clear message that all books have worth.
The romance between Maggie and far-too-seriius Malcolm is a sweet slow-burner with lots of witty banter.
Overall, this is an enjoyable, quick-read romance with likeable characters and bookshop dreams.
Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and Netgalley for my advanced digital copy.