Libby Quinn is sick and tired of being sensible.
After years of slogging her guts out for nothing at a PR company, she finds herself redundant and about to plough every last penny of her savings into refurbishing a ramshackle shop and making her dream of owning her own bookshop become a reality.
She hopes opening ‘Once Upon A Book’ on Ivy Lane will be the perfect tribute to her beloved grandfather who instilled a love of reading and books in her from an early age.
When her love life and friendships become even more complicated – will Libby have the courage to follow her dreams? Or has she bitten off more than she can chew?
I have reviewed the book below but first, Libby and Boldwood Books have shared an extract today. I hope you enjoy.
*****beginning of extract*****
Libby knew the bag for life at her feet, crammed with cleaning products, would be just as woefully inadequate for the task ahead as a spoonful of Calpol would be to a woman in labour, but still she insisted on bringing it with her. She’d use everything in it, and more – much more – over the coming months, but bringing it with her gave her a sense of making the place her own before she even picked up the keys. Her plan, after all, was to move into the flat upstairs as quickly as possible so that she could work on the refurb morning, noon and night. A teeny, tiny, hopelessly optimistic part of her held on to a glimmer of hope that the flat would be a stylish time capsule of a home, ready to move in to bar the flick of a duster and a quick spray of Zoflora.
‘Are you sure we can’t come with you?’ her dad asked as they sat around the breakfast table. Just like Libby, both Jim and Linda Quinn had been unable to lay on in their beds and had been fizzing with a sense of shared excitement.
‘I need to put on my big-girl knickers and do this myself,’ she told them. Which wasn’t exactly true. Her boyfriend of eight months, Ant O’Neill, was going with her to pick up the keys from her solicitor’s office. An accounts manager for a nationwide banking chain, he exuded an air of calm and professionalism which none of the Quinn family seemed to be in possession of at that moment. He would be able to help her keep her emotions in check and not sob all over the young solicitor who had finalised the paperwork for her. ‘You can meet us there in a bit,’ she said. ‘When I’ve had a moment to adjust. Maybe eleven or so?’
Jim nodded. ‘Of course, pet,’ he said. ‘Your grandad would be very proud, you know,’ he said, his voice cracking, and Libby was forced to wave him away, unable to say anything else for fear of her own floodgates opening.
Thankfully any chance of an emotional breakdown was tempered by the sound of a car pulling up outside and the loud beep of a horn.
‘My chariot awaits,’ Libby said as butterflies danced in her stomach.
‘Before you go,’ her mother replied, ‘we have a little something for you.’
Libby knew by the look on her mother’s face that she was about to endure an emotional ambush and she placed her hand softly on her stomach as if to settle it.
‘It’s just something small, for the shop,’ her mother said, handing over a small paper bag folded over on itself.
Libby carefully unfolded the bag, and shook the contents out into her hand. Through tears, she glanced down at the picture of her and Grandad Ernie encased in a plastic keyring looking back up at her. She was, maybe, eight or nine in the picture and they were both grinning at the camera. Her heart constricted with love and loss.
‘I love it,’ she croaked, just as another loud beep grabbed her attention.
‘You’d better go,’ her dad said as she kissed them both on the cheek.
‘I’ll see you soon.’
*****end of extract*****
About Freya Kennedy…
Freya Kennedy lives in Derry, Northern Ireland, with her husband, two children, two cats and a mad dog called Izzy. She worked as a journalist for eighteen years before deciding to write full time. When not writing, she can be found reading, hanging out with her nieces and nephews, cleaning up after her children (a lot) and telling her dog that she loves her.
She believes in happy ever afters.
Freya Kennedy is a pen name for Claire Allan, who also writes psychological thrillers.
For more information, visit http://www.claireallan.com/.
You can also sign up for Freya Kennedy’s newsletter here.
The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn by Freya Kennedy was released by Boldwood Books was released on 5th may 2020. Click to view on Amazon UK.
Be sure to join in with the Libby Quinn Bing on social media with #LibbyQuinnBingo
My verdict on The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn…
Libby is throwing caution to the wind and finally following her dream of opening a book shop. As she begins to renovate her shop, she soon meets the other residents of Ivy Lane.
Harry is the elderly, charming man who runs the shop down the road. Jo is the fiery assistant manager of the Ivy Inn. There’s also handsome Noah.
As complications begin to arise in both the renovations and her personal life, Libby starts to question whether she’s done the right thing.
I adored the premise of this novel. Opening a book shop with coffee and a writing nook is my dream. All I’d need to do is add kittens.
I loved seeing Libby try to navigate her way through opening this shop. I lived vicariously through her a little. Is it possible to feel jealous of a fictional character?
The plot had enough twist and turns to keep me very interested and the end was unexpected in some aspects of the story.
I loved how Libby was welcomed with open arms by the residents of Ivy Lane and it made me want to go visit. Most of the characters are endearing and lovely. There was one in particular I had trouble having sympathy with but, as the story progressed and the characters developed, I gained more of an understanding of them.
I am not going to say anymore as I don’t want to give too much away.
This book is an uplifting tale, full of love, warmth and laugh out loud moments. It’s about having the courage to go for your dreams. It’s a perfect fictional world to visit.