Thursday, June 2, 2022

Book Review: The Book Haters' Book Club

All it takes is the right book to turn a Book Hater into a Book Lover…

That was Elliott’s belief and the reason why he started The Book Haters’ Book Club—a newsletter of reading recommendations for the self-proclaimed “nonreader.” As the beloved co-owner of Over the Rainbow Bookshop, Elliot was passionate about and gifted in recommending books to customers. Now, after his sudden death, his grief-ridden business partner, Irma, has agreed to sell Over the Rainbow to a developer who will turn the cozy bookshop into high-rise condos.

But others won’t give up the bookshop without a fight. When Irma breaks the news to her daughters, Bree and Laney, and Elliott’s romantic partner, Thom, they are aghast. Over the Rainbow has been Bree and Laney’s sanctuary since childhood, and Thom would do anything to preserve Elliott’s legacy. Together, Thom, Bree and Laney conspire to save the bookshop, even if it takes some snooping, gossip and minor sabotage.

The Book Haters' Book Club is the next novel from Gretchen Anthony. Prior to its September 13th 2022 release date, Harlequin Trade Publishing has allowed me to read an early galley in exchange for this review.

What drew me to this one was the title (very interesting) as well as the cover. As a librarian, a lifelong reader and an amateur writer, books that revolve around books are a natural draw for me. I honestly was not sure what this one was going to be about, but I was eager to find out.

I have to admit that I found this one a little bit different than my normal reading fare. The first standout are the interludes from the main story (I won't spoil the source of them, but the reader is tuned into from whose viewpoint they come right away). They have a very distinct voice and a pop to them, and they offset directly to the standard narrative revolving around the rest of the cast. Oddly, it sort of works. Definitely not a writing choice I would have considered ever employing.

Another interesting element are the interspersed newsletters that give actual book recommendations. While these are supposed to have been penned by Elliot, I appreciated where the author actually pulled these recommendations from (as told in the book's afterwards). This is the kind of readers advisory that we librarians do all of the time. Again, this is an unexpected writing choice that seems right at home within this particular story.

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