Friday, August 05, 2022

Blog Tour: Elodie's Library of Second Chances by Rebecca Raisin


Ellie Astor is living the dream. She is part of a wealthy family who owns Astor Publishing, she goes to glamorous red carpet premieres, and is being groomed to take on the family company. Her future is golden.

Except, it's not what she wants at all. She doesn't want to fill the role that her mother has planned for her. She doesn't want the media spotlight, the pressure. She doesn't want any of it.

What she does want is to find out what it is like to live the life she dreams of. When she sees a news story about a town whose local library is about to close, she sees it as a chance to finally use her librarian studies and to see what her life could be like if she could start again.

Using her real name, Elodie Halifax, she moves to the village of Willow Grove. But saving the library is not going to be easy. There are no funds, there are no new books, there are very few members and Elodie only has a few short months to recruit 507 new members or the library will close for good. Her reception is somewhat cool. Her assistant librarian, Maisie is sullen and hostile. Thankfully local journalist Finn is more welcoming.

Whilst Elodie tries really hard to recruit new members, she realises that there are some very entrenched ideas in the town, and not just about the library. There are numerous people in the town who live on the edges. There is Homeless Harry who is not even allowed to enter the library before Elodie arrives. Most people in the town know who he is but not many deign to speak to him.  There is 9 year old Alfie who is now being home schooled after many years of being bullied at school due to his autism. His single mum, Jo, obviously wants the best for Alfie but is the best just to keep him away from other kids for his own protection? There are also Pilfering Pete and Sofia, the ex-wife of a man who fraudulently stole money from the local council....and more.

Elodie knows that traditional library activities are not going to get the necessary numbers without coming up with something special, and that something is human books. The idea being that people can borrow the 'book', to find out who those previously invisible people are, and what their story is.  And yet, Elodie is not quite being honest about her own story, and she is having to balance the work that she is doing in Willow Grove, against the familial demands that she can only hide from for so long.

I have to say, I loved the idea of a human book. I am sure that I have been guilty of assuming that I know someone's story without actually talking to them. And I know that there have been many times when I have felt invisible, or judged, or both by strangers and acquaintances alike.  And yet we all have stories from our life and how what has happened in our lives shapes us to form who we are now.

I have read a number of Rebecca Raisin books now. I always love the way that the writes about the subjects that she is passionate about - books and food in particular. Given that this a book about a librarian there is plenty of book talk which is a bonus.

It is a cliche to say that an authorwrites 'feel good' books, but to me that is exactly what Rebecca Raisin's books are. I know when I pick up one of her books I am going to find plenty of passages that make me smile and this book is no exception. I enjoyed how the group of previously socially isolated books are drawn together around the library and soon form a friendship group that you can see going from strength to strength into the future.

I have a number of books from this author's backlist still to read. Lucky me!

Rating 4/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Rachel's Random Resource for a review copy

About the book

An uplifting story about fresh starts, new beginnings and the power of stories, from the bestselling author of Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop!

When Elodie applies for the job of librarian in peaceful Willow Grove, she’s looking forward to a new start. As the daughter of a media empire, her every move has been watched for years, and she longs to work with the thing she loves most: books.

It’s a chance to make a real difference too, because she soon realises that there are other people in Willow Grove who might need a fresh start – like the homeless man everyone walks past without seeing, or the divorcée who can’t seem to escape her former husband’s misdeeds.

Together with local journalist Finn, Elodie decides these people have stories that need sharing. What if instead of borrowing books readers could ‘borrow’ a person, and hear the life stories of those they’ve overlooked?

But Elodie isn’t quite sharing her whole story either. As the story of the library’s new success grows, will her own secret be revealed?

About the Author

Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She's been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.

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  1. I like the idea of fresh starts and rethinking libraries. This book sounds delightful.

    1. I really enjoyed the human library idea Deb.

  2. I love the cover and it's cover art that gets me to pick a book up sometimes. What a cool story, I will look for that on Netgalley.

    1. I have enjoyed a number of other books by this author too Tina!

  3. Hi there Marg! I've never heard of Rebecca Raisin, but now I am very curious about her books. I think this one will be right up my alley. Will take a look.

    Thanks for the review and recommendation!

    1. I hope you can find some of her books!