Blurb: This summer will change everything!
Aria Summers knows what she wants.
A life on the road with best friend Rosie and her beloved camper-van-cum-book-shop, and definitely, definitely, no romance.
But when Aria finds herself falling – after one too many glasses of wine, from a karaoke stage – into the arms of Jonathan, a part of her comes back to life for the first time in years.
Since her beloved husband died Aria has sworn off love, unless it’s the kind you can find in the pages of a book. One love of her life is quite enough.
And so Aria tries to forget Jonathan and sets off for a summer to remember in France. But could this trip change Aria’s life forever…?
A heartwarming, uplifting and hilarious novel of friendship, love and adventure! Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Holly Martin.
Let me first get it out of the way and say that I would like a travelling bookshop too, please!
Aria’s Travelling Bookshop is a standalone sequel to Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop, in which Rosie found romance and Aria featured as a side character. Here they switch roles, with the main focus on Aria, and Rosie’s relationship forms a lovely sub-plot. I can confirm that you don’t need to have read Rosie’s story to fully appreciate and understand Aria’s story, but am sure it is an equally delightful read, so can’t think of a reason not to go ahead and get them both!
I found the ‘Van Lifer’ lifestyle completely fascinating and very appealing, and thoroughly enjoyed the travel aspect of the story, as Aria and Rosie and the gang tour France with their various mobile businesses. While Aria’s bookshop is right up my street, I did find myself salivating at Rosie and Max’s concoctions. Honestly, I just wanted to take to the road with them all and join in the fun.
There’s a sadder element to the story too though. I felt deeply sympathetic towards Aria’s grief over the loss of her husband and felt it completely understandable that she would feel guilt at moving on without him. To me, this felt like one of the most real and reasonable obstacles I have read in a romance novel, as there is no way to resolve the issue with the loved one who has died… you have to be ready to find the solution within yourself. Luckily, Aria has her friends, a certain journal, and a handsome fellow book-lover to help her address her feelings about TJ and find a path to her future.
This isn’t just a sob-fest either! Aria’s little ‘stories’ (about lost contact lenses etc) are pure ridiculous comedy, and her friendships with the other Van Lifers – especially Rosie – are full of warmth, camaraderie and entertaining banter.
The one relationship I wasn’t quite sold on at first was, unfortunately, the one with Aria’s potential love interest. Their initial meet-cute happens before the book starts, and it feels like the reader misses the chance to see that bond form, so when she falls into his arms (literally, from a stage) it feels like a bit of a shallow infatuation, rather than a meaningful relationship. This feeling faded as the book progressed and they eventually got to spend more time sharing interests and backstories, and by the end of the book I was with Aria all the way.
This story is lovely comfort reading for romance fans and book lovers, and I would definitely read more from Rebecca Raisin and her Van Lifers in future!
Whenever I’m conflicted, I picture myself the heroine in a love story to make sense of it all. That’s the problem with being obsessed with romance novels, you see everything play out as one, including your very own life.
Hopeless romantic Aria vowed never to love again after losing her husband, TJ, but fate seems to have other ideas and keeps throwing mysterious Jonathan in her path. Is this a test of her commitment to her husband, or is it a sign she should open her heart and her mind to the possibility of falling in love once more? Nomadic by nature, Aria can’t see the point when home is always at the end of a new patch of road…
– Rebecca Raisin, Aria’s Travelling Book Shop
Aria’s Travelling Book Shop is available on Amazon right now!