Book Review: Bookshop by The Sea

31 Aug

Bookshop by The Sea is a great choice for a summer-y read. It has romance, endearing characters, and a quaint seaside town. If you are looking for a quick read with plenty of sparks, then this contemporary romance by Denise Hunter is for you. Recommended.

Sophie Lawson should be enjoying her sister’s wedding day. But nothing could have prepared her to see the best man again.

After her mother became bedridden and her father bailed on the family, Sophie found herself serving as a second mother to her twin brother, Seth, and younger sister, Jenna. Sophie supported her siblings through their college years, putting aside her own dream of opening a bookshop in Piper’s Cove—the quaint North Carolina beach town they frequented as children.

Now it’s finally time for Sophie to follow her own pursuits. Seth has a new job, and Jenna is set to marry her college beau in Piper’s Cove. But the destination wedding reunites Sophie with best man Aiden Maddox, her high school sweetheart who left her without a backward glance.

When an advancing hurricane strands Aiden in Piper’s Cove after the wedding, he finds the hotels booked to capacity and has to ask Sophie to put him up until the storm passes. As the two ride out the weather, old feelings rise to the surface. The delay also leaves Sophie with mere days to get her bookshop up and running. Can she trust Aiden to stick around? And will he find the courage to risk his heart?

Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than forty novels, three of which have been adapted into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on the The 700 Club and been featured in Southern Living and Woman’s World.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories, peopled with layered characters who have real-life issues. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books. 

In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling, drinking chai lattes, hiking, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband raised three boys and are currently enjoying an empty nest and two beautiful granddaughters. 

You can learn more about Denise through her website or by visiting her FaceBook page at

My Impressions:

For fans of contemporary romance, Bookshop by The Sea by Denise Hunter checks all the right boxes. Charming characters with a second chance at love is always a favorite trope. But this book isn’t just fluff. There are deep themes of fear of abandonment and finding worth in others’ opinions. More than a hurricane and a bookstore opening cause Sophie and Aiden to second-guess a new relationship. I have to say I found Sophie infuriating at first. She finally has a chance to realize her own hopes and ambitions following her mother’s death. She has sacrificed and put her life on hold for far too long. But she falls into old patterns with her family, and her life doesn’t really seem her own. And while Aiden has baggage of his own, he plays a crucial role in helping Sophie recognize her need for boundaries. The sizzling chemistry between the two is great for romance readers, but their growth as individuals was heartwarming as well. My book club read this book for our August selection. The beach setting and the bookshop appealed to our bookish, ready for vacay hearts. 😉 A quick read, Bookshop by The Sea was just what I needed!


Audience: adults.

(I purchased the Kindle version of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)