This 2019 publication was one I listened to on Hoopla, provided by my local Brazoria County Library system. I finally got the skill of listening down as I listened while I chopped vegetables, just rested with the lights low,. or opened and cut up junk mail. Reay, now one of my favorite writers, opens with the funeral of Aunt Maddie, the owner of The Printed Letter Bookshop. When Madeline Cullen, her niece attends the funeral, she finds the church packed. Her parents have flown in to pay respects to her father’s older sister, and they leave immediately after the funeral.
Shortly thereafter, Madeline receives a call saying Aunt Maddie has left her house, the bookshop, and even her car to her niece. At first, Madeline, a high-powered lawyer, with a business-driven fiancee want to sell the shop asap. Until she meets the employees of The Printed Letter on her assessment trip to the bookshop. Janet, a recent divorcee, and Claire, a quiet wife and mother are praying Madeline will try to pull the bookshop “out of the red” and continue their livelihoods.
Described as “powerful” and “spirited” and called an “enchanted story” by the cover and the critics, The Painted Letter Bookstore involves a family mystery, relationships between women, and romance. It is “a story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings, and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.” I loved this contemporary read, which points out the existence of second chances and the redemption and forgiveness of things not understood in the past. It is a “darned good read.”