The Last Bookshop by Emma Young, Review: Bookish love

The Last Bookshop by Emma Young is a heartwarming debut novel celebrating books, those who love them, and the power of community. Read my full review.

The Last Bookshop, Review - Emma Young

The Last Bookshop Synopsis

Cait Copper’s best friends have always been books – along with the rare souls who love them as much as she does, like the grandmotherly June. When Cait set up her shop, Book Fiend, right in the heart of the city, she thought she’d skipped straight to ‘happily ever after’. But things are changing, and fast.

June’s sudden interest in Cait’s lacklustre love life and the appearance of the handsome ‘Mystery Shopper’ force her to concede there might be more to happiness than her shop and her cat. The city is transforming, with luxury chain stores circling Book Fiend’s prime location. And meanwhile, a far more personal tragedy is brewing.

Soon Cait is questioning not only the viability of the shop, but the life she’s shaped around it. An unlikely band of allies is determined she won’t face these questions alone; but is a love of books enough to halt the march of progress and time?

(Fremantle Press, March 2021)

Genre: Romance, Drama, Literature

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The Last Bookshop Review

This unassuming new release is something special. Much like the fictional bookstore this story revolves around and the characters to be found within it, The Last Bookshop is not slick and highly stylized. It has far more substance than that. At its beating heart shines a quiet perceptiveness, a gentle honesty and authenticity, that really struck a chord with me. And, I suspect all book lovers will feel similarly.

Yes, The Last Bookshop is a celebration of books, those who write them and those who read them; even the beauty of the physical objects themselves. Bookworms will delight in all the bookish banter between Cait and her band of quirky regular customers… everything from vampire YA, to new genre crime thrillers to The Chronicles of Narnia gets a mention. But in this quietly confident debut, Emma Young’s resonant theme of ‘not judging a book by its cover’ runs far deeper.

Several broader societal issues like the value of diversity, inclusivity and shared cultural experiences, the need to support the public amenities and local businesses that cultivate community spirit and connectedness, and the positive role technology can play in helping those physically isolated feel much less so, are highlighted.

Ultimately though, The Last Bookshop celebrates the power of kindness – of polite words and listening ‘between the lines’, of quiet observation, loyalty and companionship – while reminding us to plan for tomorrow but live for today. Tissues may be required, but this novel will undoubtedly leave your heart warmed and inspired.

I look forward to reading whatever comes next from this talented author.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5

Get your copy of The Last Bookshop from:

Amazon Book Depository Booktopia AU
and of course, from your favourite local bookstore!

More The Last Bookshop Reviews

‘An entertaining, heartwarming story that captures our love of books
and bookshops.’ – Liz Byrski

‘There is a little bit of something for everyone in The Last Bookshop, from romance to pathos … it is a delight.’ – The AU Review

‘… a gently optimistic novel that celebrates both the joys of reading and the ways it can bring people together.’  – The Weekend West

‘Emma Young does a great job of bringing attention to the finer details of what it takes to make a relationship—whether it be between a romantic partner or a profession—truly work. ‘ – Underground Writers

More Book Resources

About the Author, Emma Young

After five years in bookselling, Emma Young retrained as a journalist and has been reporting since 2011: first for community papers, then as a statewide digital journalist for WAtoday. Her work also regularly appears in sister publications the Age and the Sydney Morning HeraldThe Last Bookshop was shortlisted for the inaugural Fogarty Literary Award in 2019. Check out her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

This review counts toward my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2021 and the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge.

* My receiving a review copy of The Last Bookshop from the publisher did not impact the expression of my honest opinions above.