The Last Bookshop by Emma Young. (2021).
**4.5 out of 5 stars**
Perth bookshop owner Cait’s best friends have always been books – along with the rare souls who love them as much as she does, like the grandmotherly June. June’s sudden interest in Cait’s lacklustre love life and the appearance of a handsome man force Cait to concede there might be more to happiness than her shop and her cat. The city is transforming, with luxury stores wanting her location. A 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?
Look honestly, just from reading the synopsis I knew this was going to be a book for me. Booklover – tick. Set in Perth – tick. About a bookseller – tick. Cait would rather read than socialise – tick, tick, tick. So it was no surprise to me that I absolutely loved this novel. For me, I felt like in an alternate universe I could have been Cait. Her love of books shone off each page, and I enjoyed all the references to novels throughout the story. The situation with the shop rent increase and Cait feeling pushed out of her prime location was all too believable and you’ll find yourself filled with tension just hoping Cait and her shop can come through this. Not only do we have this issue going on, we have some romantic drama and the exploration of the relationships Cait has with some special mobile customers as well as the physical patrons that frequent her shop. These experiences are combinations of touching, humorous and at times frustrating.
Overall: a fantastic debut for the author that I would happily recommend, especially for those that have a real love of reading.