A bundle of mysterious letters. A trip to Venice. A journey she’ll never forget.
When Luna loses her beloved mother, she’s bereft: her mother was her only family, and without her Luna feels rootless. Then the chance discovery of a collection of letters in her mother’s belongings sends her on an unexpected journey.
Following a clue in the letters, Luna packs her bags and heads to Venice, to a gorgeous but faded bookshop overlooking the canals, hoping to uncover the truth about her mother’s mysterious past.
Will Luna find the answers she’s looking for – and finally find the place she belongs?
The Little Venice Bookshop was published by HQ Digital on 30 March 2023 in ebook, audio and paperback. My thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite and to the publisher for the Netgalley copy to review. I haven’t read anything by Rebecca Raisin before but when given the opportunity to take part in the blog tour, I jumped straight away. I adore Venice, it’s about a bookshop – what’s not to like.
Well, I have to be honest and say that initially I wasn’t sure if this was a book for me. Not because of the writing, that was so good all the way through, but the spiritual side is not really something I’m into and this together with an alternative lifestyle featured rather heavily to begin with. However as soon as it moved to Venice, everything changed for me and it became a book that I didn’t want to put down.
Luna and her mother Ruby have lived an unconventional life. After years of travelling, Ruby has settled in Montana, in a commune setting with other like minded women and Luna finds herself with an extended unofficial family. Whilst dealing with the shock of her mother’s death, Luna discovers a pile of letters written to Ruby hinting at a past of which Luna has no idea. The connection is Venice, somewhere Luna has a brief memory of and the need to discover what secrets her mother was hiding takes her and her best friend Gigi from the US to Venice and to a rather disorganised bookshop on the canal.
Luna and Gigi were wonderfully drawn characters. Although still grieving for her mother, Luna is determined to track down the bookshop. She has her reasons for looking for a connection with the shop and its owner, who turns out to be an introverted and gruff Italian – Giancarlo, who prefers books and cats to people (I can understand this!). However along the way she finds romanic encounters, several bookshop cats, and discovers not only a job that she is actually rather good at but pride in her own achievements and with the possibility of a whole new world of opportunities.
Luna may have been the central character but her BFF Gigi was an outstanding addition to the story. Everyone needs a friend like Gigi. With her open and vivacious personality, plus her talent for always finding an Instagram opportunity, she understands Luna and knows exactly what she needs by way of friendship – by being supportive and encouraging but also sensitive to Luna’s change of mood. This isn’t just Luna’s story but Gigi’s too. There were so many other characters that made the book for me – Oscar, whose standoffish manner was rather off-putting at first, Giancarlo, and there are the bookshop cats with their own personalities – Madam Bovary, Oscar Wilde and the aloof and at times downright unfriendly Dante. Cat lovers will find much here to smile about.
The Little Venice Bookshop was a lovely hug of a book. With its underlying themes, it’s a story of someone trying to find their place in the world and coming to terms with grief and loss and hoping for new beginnings. Venice is one of my favourite places and the atmospheric location was superbly described, I loved spending time there – and actually the story as a film would be perfect. As well as the romance element, there was sufficient intrigue about Ruby’s past to keep my interest – all the way through I was hoping that Luna would be successful in her quest to discover the truth and, more importantly, find happiness and contentment after such sadness.
Currently on offer at a steal of just 99p to download from Amazon UK, this is a lovely book to while away your time.
Rebecca Raisin writes heartwarming romance from her home in sunny Perth, Australia. Her heroines tend to be on the quirky side and her books are usually set in exotic locations so her readers can armchair travel any day of the week. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous heroes who have brains as well as brawn, is falling in love with them – just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true, once in a lifetime love. Her bestselling novel Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop has been optioned for film with MRC studios and Frolic Media.