Book Review: The True Love Bookshop by Annie Rains

About the Book:

Title: the True Love Bookshop

Author: Annie Rains

Series: Somerset Lake #3

Page Length: 352

Publication Date: July 5, 2022

Publisher: Forever

Synopsis: She’s ready to start a new chapter in her life…
 For Tess Lane, owning Lakeside Books is a dream come true, but it’s the weekly book club she hosts for the women in town that Tess enjoys the most. The gatherings have been her lifeline over the past three years since her husband’s mysterious death. Tess has tried to move on, but when River Harrison shows up on her doorstep, all her lingering questions come rushing back.…

River, a former marine turned private investigator, was her husband’s best friend, and seeing him again is a reminder of everything Tess lost. At first, she tries to ignore him, but Tess comes to realize that this is her chance, once and for all, to find the answers that have troubled her for years.

With the support of her friends, Tess joins River on a journey of discovery that leads them to the edges of Somerset Lake and on a road trip down the Carolina coast. Although their adventure isn’t always easy, Tess starts to find the joy in life again. But when secrets surrounding her husband’s death are finally revealed, can Tess find it in her heart to forgive the mistakes of the past … and maybe even open herself up to love again? 

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

Tess Lane is a widowed bookshop owner struggling to move on after the loss of her husband. When her husband’s ex-best friend shows up at her shop injured, Tess does what any decent person would do. She calls an ambulance and helps him. However, she hasn’t forgiven him for ruining her wedding years ago.

Once in the military with Tess’s husband, River is now a private investigator, and when Tess approaches him to find out about her husband’s mysterious past, River begrudgingly agrees. However, the more River and Tess unravel about her husband, the more Tess realizes that she didn’t know him as well as she thought she did. She also learns that River isn’t as terrible as she once believed, and there were justifiable reasons for his actions.

Tess is such a strong character, and she goes through a lot throughout the story. She learns as much about herself as she does about her husband. It’s difficult to move on after the loss of a loved one, and losing her husband has stagnated Tess. However, as things are revealed about him, Tess must look back on her marriage and face some hard truths – truths she didn’t want to see before. I felt for Tess and her struggles throughout the story. She deals with some heavy situations, and several shocking revelations change everything for her. Her story is emotional and messy and so much more than she expected. Luckily, she has the support of River and her friends to help her through.

Oh my word, the chemistry between Tess and River is so good, and I adored their enemies-to-lovers romance. Tess has reason to hate the man who almost ruined her wedding, but the more time they spend together, the more she realizes why she liked him so much in the first place. I love how River shows Tess in little ways how much he cares and always cared for her. They have the potential to have a love story for the ages, but so much stands in their way, and Tess really needs to resolve the mystery surrounding her husband before she can give herself fully to another. Their journey as a couple is challenging, emotional, and lovely all at the same time.

The book club that Tess hosts at her store is one I’d love to join! These women make such a great team, and they are incredible supports to each other. Stories that highlight the bonds of friendship and women supporting women are always a win for me, and this club where they read romance novels and talk about their lives sounds like the perfect balance of fun, bonding time. As the women are in their book club, many of the male citizens of this charming, small town, including several of their partners, hang out at the local bar. The male friendships parallel the women’s connection in their support and acceptance of each other, and the scenes when these friends are together are great!

I always enjoy books by Annie Rains. The characters are compelling, the stories are interesting, and the romances are wonderful. A story of lies, secrets, friendship, healing, forgiveness, and learning to love again, The True Love Bookshop is no exception. Thanks so much to Forever Publishing for sending me a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance.
  • The friendships.
  • The small town charm.


I would definitely recommend this book to readers of contemporary romance!

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