Saturday, June 10, 2023

Review: The Bookshop by the Bay by Pamela Kelley


About the Book

Fiction, Chick Lit


St. Martin’s Griffin

Release Date
June 6, 2023

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The Bookshop by the Bay is a breezy, escapist beach read from powerhouse bestselling women’s fiction author Pamela Kelley.

Two lifelong friends. One bookshop by the beach. And the summer that could change everything.

Jess loves her work as a high-profile lawyer in the respectable and austere city of Charleston. But when she finds her husband, Parker, has been cheating on her with his assistant, she retreats, with her thirty year-old daughter Caitlin for support, to her childhood home on Cape Cod, in Chatham. Caitlin has always been bright but directionless, looking for her passion but keeps coming up blank. And Jess needs to regroup with the help of good food and wine, the company of her best friend, Allison, and come up with a plan for the future.

Allison’s career has hit a low. After twenty years as an editor for the Chatham magazine, circulation is dwindling and though her boss and long-time friend, Jim, does everything to keep her, she has no choice but to take a step back. With a career on hiatus and her main relationship being with Chris, her ex-husband who is still a good friend, Allison is at a pivotal point in life. Her daughter Julia opened her own artisanal jewelry shop a year prior, and she has the kind of day-to-day fulfillment Allison yearns for.

When Allison stops into her beloved local bookstore one day and learns that the owner wants to sell, a long-held dream turns into a reality, thanks to Jess. Allison and Jess set a plan in motion and what was once a place that held warm childhood memories is now theirs to run. As the two friends, along with the help of their daughters, reopen the doors of the cherished bookstore and adjacent coffee shop to the community, they also open themselves up to the possibility of romance, the bonds of mothers and daughters, and the magic of second chances.

My Review

Attorney Jessica Coleman is stunned when she finds out her husband has been cheating on her with a much younger woman.  She quickly leaves their home in Charleston and heads to Cape Cod to spend the summer with her mother.  It’s the perfect escape to clear her head and visit with her best friend, Allison Page.

Allison Page is going through her own difficulties when her job as a magazine editor is threatened with financial trouble.  Allison’s dream job is to open a bookshop but financially it’s not possible.  She’s thrilled when Jess arrives for a summer holiday.

Jess doesn’t arrive alone.  Her thirty-year old daughter, Caitlin, tags along.  She’s been jumping from job to job.  She needs a break from job hunting and Cape Cod is just the place to get it.

Allison’s daughter, Julia, is also going through a few things.  She’s trying to build her jewelry shop while her relationship isn’t working out as she’d hoped it would.  

The four women put their heads together and come up with a plan to purchase a bookstore and run it themselves.  They get much more than they bargained for including some romance thrown into the mix.

This book is a huge slice of life.  There are so many emotions running through this book for the four major characters.  They are all likeable, even if there were a couple of instances that I wanted to shake some sense into them, but mostly I felt for them.  They are realistic personalities with realistic life situations.

It’s a fast-paced book that actually left me both smiling and teary-eyed.  I really enjoyed the author’s writing style.  This is the perfect book to read at the beach.  I’ll be looking for more books by this author.

For reading challenges:
Literary Escapes Reading Challenge 2023 (Massachusetts)
NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2023

FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.


  1. This sounds lovely and this is just the kind of book I've been wanting to read lately.


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