How it begins: "Only the sharp clang of a bell above the door and lopsided towers of books greeted Hope Sparrow as she entered Dusty Jackets bookshop. She breathed in their ancient paper dust, their gentle decay. Between pages like these, she'd always found her refuge. Her Lucy Maud, Jane, the sisters Brontë, dear Louisa--all whispered the words she'd pored over in the dead of night and now fortified her strength for what she hoped was the last leg in a long journey."
The plot in brief: Hope's come to Wanishin Falls, Minnesota, in search of several books her mom left to her. They're her only family legacy, and they just might be the key to finding a rumored family treasure. And Hope could really use a little extra money right now, both to help her leave her traumatic past behind, and to make her dream of owning her own food truck come true.
The owners of Dusty Jackets, Mags and Ulysses Barrick, offer to help her search for her mother's books if she'll work in their bookstore for a few months in return. Their handsome grandson, Ronan, is willing to help, too. But Hope isn't big on trust, and would rather not get too close to anyone in Wanishin Falls. Only the people around her are too kind and generous to just give up on her.
My thoughts: There's a lot to like about this one: a charming small town setting, a dusty old bookshop, family secrets and a lost treasure. And I liked Ronan and Hope. But there are several side characters and small side stories that never felt fully developed, and that sometimes detracted from the main plotline. And when you combine Hope's complicated past with Ronan's complicated past along with their families's history there's almost too much going on; I felt like it forced the author to do more telling than showing, which slowed the pacing and kept the characters at a distance. And I really wish that the mystery itself, and Hope's and Ronan's search for the treasure, had unfolded a little faster. While the overall story has heartwarming and uplifting moments, for me this ended up only being a 3-star read.
P.S. This book counts towards Susan's Bookish Books Reading Challenge.