THE BEACON STREET BOOKSHOP by Carla Laureano
SERIES: Haven Ridge #2
GENRE: Contemporary Romance (Clean)
PUBLISHER: Laureano Creative Media
RELEASE DATE: September 4, 2023
Ever since Olivia Quinn lost her husband to a freak plane crash, she’s been focused on one thing—making a stable life for her teen stepdaughter, Taylor, of whom she’s the sole guardian. But when she loses her job as a children’s book editor because she refuses to relocate from Colorado to New York, all her hard-won stability is shattered.
Then the opportunity arises to open Liv’s dream bookshop in Haven Ridge, offering not only the solution to her financial problems, but a chance to bond with her stepdaughter and become a real family for the first time. Soon, the wild idea transforms into a thriving nonprofit, thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of the town—and a handsome contractor who stirs feelings in Liv she’d thought might be gone forever.
But just as she begins to lean into the new life she’s made for herself, a figure from her late husband’s past puts the life she’s been building with Taylor in jeopardy. And Liv must face the possibility that following her heart might just cost her a daughter.
Other Books In This Series
I first met Liv & Taylor in The Broken Hearts Bakery, and though they weren’t the focus of that book we do get to know them quite a bit through Gemma’s story. I found this young widow-stepdaughter duo to be very compelling, and I was delighted to find out that The Beacon Street Bookshop would be Liv’s story – and Taylor’s too.
Liv is my kind of people – she has always loved books and dreams of one day opening a bookstore. She’s the kind of relatable and friendly character I’d love to sit down with and just chat about books for a while. But since her husband’s tragic death, Liv’s sole focus has been on providing stability for his teenage daughter Taylor and navigating the transition from fun stepparent to sole guardian. A change that has certainly had its bumpy moments. I really love how Laureano writes Taylor as the uniquely complicated mix of little girl and young woman that is adolescence, along with the even more complex layers that go along with essentially losing both parents. The author has really nailed teenage-girl mood swings while also making Taylor endearing and smart and really likable.
And then there’s Charlie who is all kinds of wowza. The chemistry between Liv and Charlie sizzles off the charts right from their very first meeting and it only gets sizzlier from there. Attraction and desire are definitely not lacking in this relationship but don’t worry it doesn’t go beyond some very charged kisses. Just as an aside, this is a ‘clean read’ series, which differs from the author’s previous Christian fiction novels, so the discussions about Liv not being ready ‘yet’ to move things into the bedroom may seem a bit jarring to some readers. Given that these characters aren’t living out of a Biblical worldview, though, I appreciated even more that she still does choose to wait – especially with all the temptation to do otherwise – and that Charlie respects her decision. And oh goodness, Charlie is so swoonilicious and it’s no wonder that the spark between them threatens to ignite into an inferno any time they share a page. I also loved the steady support he gives her, his help in making her dream a reality, and his understanding of her need to care for Taylor even when the latter doesn’t make it easy.
Bottom Line: The Beacon Street Bookshop is just about every booklover’s dream come true. The town of Haven Ridge is something special, and Liv’s chance to open a bookstore in this quaint locale is only made more wonderful by how the town – and its people – rally around her until the end result exceeds her wildest imaginings. I of course loved the romance between Liv and Charlie (swoon!) but I also really enjoyed watching Liv & Taylor grow closer over the course of this book. Their relationship is complicated, to be sure, but it’s so worth the effort – as everything worthwhile is – and I loved that Taylor’s talents and gifts get a chance to shine. This latest novel by Carla Laureano is a sweet and uplifting story, with a spark-filled romance, a delightful dash of magical realism, and books!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 4+ / keep a fan and fainting couch handy!
Carla Laureano could never decide what she wanted to be when she grew up, so she decided to become a novelist–and she must be kinda okay at it because she’s won two RWA RITA® Awards. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking and trying to read through her TBR shelf, which she estimates will be finished in 2054. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, two teen sons, and an opinionated cat named Willow. Connect with Carla online at her website.
Other Recently Featured Books by Carla Laureano
What about you? What makes you want to read The Beacon Street Bookshop by Carla Laureano?