By: Sarah Jio
Publication Date: 02/08/2022
My Rating: 5 Stars +++ (ARC)
When a woman inherits her estranged mother’s bookstore in London’s Primrose Hill, she finds herself thrust into the pages of a new story—hers—filled with long-held family secrets, the possibility of new love, and, perhaps, the single greatest challenge of her life.
When Valentina Baker was only eleven years old, her mother, Eloise, unexpectedly fled to her native London, leaving Val and her father on their own in California. Now a librarian in her thirties, fresh out of a failed marriage and still at odds with her mother’s abandonment, Val feels disenchanted with her life.
In a bittersweet twist of fate, she receives word that Eloise has died, leaving Val the deed to her mother’s Primrose Hill apartment and the Book Garden, the storied bookshop she opened almost two decades prior. Though the news is devastating, Val jumps at the chance for a new beginning and jets across the Atlantic, hoping to learn who her mother truly was while mourning the relationship they never had.
As Val begins to piece together Eloise’s life in the U.K., she finds herself falling in love with the pastel-colored third-floor flat and the cozy, treasure-filled bookshop, soon realizing that her mother’s life was much more complicated than she ever imagined. When Val stumbles across a series of intriguing notes left in a beloved old novel, she sets out to locate the book’s mysterious former owner, though her efforts are challenged from the start, as is the Book Garden’s future. In order to save the store from financial ruin and preserve her mother’s legacy, she must rally its eccentric staff and journey deep into her mother’s secrets.
With Love from London is a story about healing and loss, revealing the emotional, relatable truths about love, family, and forgiveness.
"[A]uthor Jio has taken a well-worn trope—American woman inherits property and a life in London—and made it her own, full of warmth, love, happiness, and books. Two storylines unwind as readers follow Valentina’s efforts to save the bookstore and explore dating and Eloise's life as a young woman who falls in love, becomes a mother, returns to London despite her unwavering love for her daughter, and opens the bookstore she’s been dreaming of her entire life.
A cozy bit of escapism that will leave many readers dreaming of true love and the bookstores they might one day open."
"An extraordinary and heartfelt tale that will stay with readers long after the final page is turned." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A Literary Work of Art!"
Master storyteller Sarah Jio's latest enchanting masterpiece, WITH LOVE FROM LONDON, is exquisite!
If you are a lover of books, handwritten letters, literature, quaint bookshops, vintage, and the charm of London, this magical treasure is a "must-read."
5 Stars +++ and my favorite of the year. An ideal book club pick from a journey of love, loss, hope, and forgiveness! This novel would make a fabulous movie or TV series.
Told from POV: We meet Valentina (daughter-2013) and Eloise (mother-1968) with dual timelines from California/Seattle to London, England.
Eloise is living in London in the sixties. A dreamer, a lover of literature and life. She and Millie are best friends living in London, and both dream of opening a bookstore one day.
Valentine, a librarian, and lover of books (like her mom), is currently getting a divorce from her attorney husband in Seattle (his affair). She experiences two sudden tragedies: Her marriage is over, and the mother who abandoned her has died.
She receives the news her mother has passed away and left her property in the charming Primrose Hill, London (who doesn't love this area)? Two flats and a quaint bookstore, The Book Garden.
New beginnings sometimes come with facing the past.
When Val was twelve years old, Eloise left California. Valentine has not seen her since. However, Valentine has no idea how much her mother loved her and what happened.
She decides she will move to London for a new start; however, she has no idea how this will change her life in so many ways. From getting to know her real mom, what happened, new friendships, and a new love interest.
Eloise takes Val on a creative, fun, and mysterious scavenger (handwritten letters and cards) hunt to London's favorite spots. Along the way, she shares her story hoping that Val will understand her better.
There is also another scavenger hunt trying to locate a mystery book lover with two separate journeys and the importance of each for Val.
Her mother had met a wonderful man Edward in the past and immediately is smitten and he will ultimately change her life. However, it was not their time due to circumstances you will discover later in the book.
Instead, she marries a man she does not love and leaves London for California. She longs for London and her friends and life. She finds joy in estate sales and finding rare book collections and beautiful vintage jewelry and imagines the lives of its former owners.
When she gets pregnant with Valentine, a baby girl, she decides she will make sure her little girl is loved and teaches her about the love of books. Eloise still dreams of that book store, and Frank refuses.
Frank is a wealthy man, very controlling, and does not have anything in common with sweet Eloise. Later, he forces her to leave and go back to London, gives her nothing, and does not allow her to see her daughter again. The letters she writes daily have been intercepted.
There is mystery and intrigue as the author keeps you glued to the pages to see what will happen on this adventure of life. I read this one in two sittings and was glued to this story. I could not wait to return.
I have told so many people about this book. Bittersweet, words cannot adequately express my sincere love for this book. Heartfelt and thought-provoking WITH LOVE FROM LONDON is one which you will bookmark many pages and refer to often. This gem is one you will repeatedly read when you need a smile and a little hope.
Mesmerizing & spellbinding!
It is a love letter to the literary world, booksellers, mothers/daughters, friendships, and lost loves just in time for Valentine's. If you love London, quaint villages, bookshops, flower shops, vintage shops, and rare collections and believe in dreams and second chances, it has it all.
What a great cast of fully developed characters! My favorite guys: Edward and Eric!
Since her first book, I have been an avid Sarah Jio fan and have read all her books. This is my absolute favorite. Highly recommend to anyone no matter the genre. Thank me later.
A special thank you to #randomhouse for an ARC. I also purchased the beautiful paperback copy and the audiobook narrated by my (favorite-Brittany Pressley) and Gabrielle Glaister.
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
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My Rating: 5 hearts 💙💙💙💙💙
Pub Date: Feb 8, 2022
About the Author
Photo Credit: Brandon Ebel
Sarah Jio is the #1 international, New York Times, and USA Today bestselling author of eleven novels. She is the host of the ModAboutYou podcast and also a longtime journalist who has contributed to Glamour, The New York Times, Redbook, Real Simple, O: The Oprah Magazine, Bon Appétit, Marie Claire, Self, and many other outlets, including NPR's Morning Edition. Jio's books have been published in more than twenty-five countries. She lives in Seattle with her husband, three young boys, three stepchildren, and two puppies. WEBSITE