Title: Aria's Travelling Book Shop
Author: Rebecca Raisin
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication date: 8th April 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Review copy via NetGalley
Aria Summers knows what she wants. A life on the road with best friend Rosie and her beloved camper-van-cum-book-shop, and definitely, definitely, no romance. But when Aria finds herself falling – after one too many glasses of wine, from a karaoke stage – into the arms of Jonathan, a part of her comes back to life for the first time in years.
Since her beloved husband died Aria has sworn off love, unless it’s the kind you can find in the pages of a book. One love of her life is quite enough. And so Aria tries to forget Jonathan and sets off for a summer to remember in France. But could this trip change Aria’s life forever…?
On the one hand, this was a light, enjoyable read and a bit of travel escapism while we were all stuck at home during the pandemic. It's a delightful look at some French villages, as the bookshop van travels along. There's a lovely little community of several travelling shops who move along together, including Aria's friend Rosie (who stars in the first book of the series), and there's a really nice friendship between Aria and Rosie.
On the other, I don't think it holds up to other contemporary romance I've read & enjoyed in the last couple of years; I won't be going back to reread it. The encounters between Aria and Jonathan felt a bit awkward more often than not, and there's a lot of focus on the troubled relationship between Aria and the mother of her late husband. And maybe it's because I was pregnant while I read this, but there's a plotline I found particularly frustrating: one character, who's in a relationship, has some of the stereotypical signs of pregnancy and it takes everyone a long time to realise that's what's happening. Then, once it's confirmed, people try to wrap the woman in cotton wool and comment on what she's doing & what's "safe". I wanted to yell at these 'friends' and tell them she's pregnant not ill.
So, a light read with some travel escapism, but there are a whole bunch of other contemporary romance books I'd point you to before this one. 5/10.