Spotlight & Giveaway: The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan

Posted December 6th, 2021 by in Blog, Spotlight / 42 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Jenny Colgan to HJ!

Hi Jenny and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, The Christmas Bookshop!

Hello! Love to you from Scotland!

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

The Christmas Bookshop is the story of Carmen, who leaves her failing department store job to go live with her uptight sister Sofia in Edinburgh, and work in a dilapidated old bookshop. Can she save it in time for Christmas?

Please share the opening lines of this book:

Sofia d’Angelo née Hogan eyed up the wreath on the shiny black front door, narrowed her eyes and adjusted it again, then stood back to admire the perfectly symmetrical effect.
She couldn’t help it. As soon as she’d seen the house, she’d just known. She’d fallen in love with it right away. Okay, so the basement was a little damp. It was an old house. Love was love. Nobody was perfect. Although today, number 10 Walker Street looked as close to it as made no odds


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

I wrote this book during last winter’s lockdown in Edinburgh. It snowed a lot and the city was so empty and so beautiful but I really missed the gorgeous bustle of tourists and Christmas markets and all the jolly parties that normally happen during this time of year, so it was my way of making up for it. It is so lovely to see everyone back!


Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?

I wanted to write about sisters, as I’ve always been interested in that relationship; sisters can be so competitive and so loving, often at the same time. I have two brothers, whom I adore, and have often been envious of that relationship— it would be lovely to raise my children with a sister nearby- so that’s the story behind Carmen and Sofia. As it happens, I have two sons and a daughter so there are still no sisters in the family!


If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?

Oh definitely the scene where they sneak into the freezing cathedral to watch the choir rehearsing. Oke is a patron of the bookshop, and a quaker.

The reason the conductor was looking skywards, she realised with a start that made Oke giggle, came at the climax of ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ when –BOOM – a huge pipe organ burst into melody, crashing from the heavens itself.
And finally, it was the last carol, and the voices went so, so quiet and pure Carmen had to strain to hear the ‘Scots Nativity’ – balloo, lamby, balloo, ballay – the gentle words mothers had crooned to babies for hundreds of years, each baby special, each one the promise of love renewed.
Tears unexpectedly ran down her cheeks, even as she saw the conductor glance at his watch, and the choristers lift up their cassocks to reveal trainers and odd socks and perfectly normal people beneath the otherworldly sound they made. It was odd to connect old, grey-haired men and small, chubby, freckled boys with the grandeur and the glory of everything they had just heard as they slipped away and the choirmaster droned on about not being late to rehearsals and would the altos stop chewing.
‘Oh my goodness,’ Carmen said, as the freezing air hit them back out on the street. ‘Goodness. That was lovely.’
She looked at him severely.
‘But it made me very happy and it wasn’t remotely useful. And it celebrated Christmas.’
Oke shrugged.
‘Perhaps a little worship is useful?’ he said.
Carmen’s face fell. Oh no. Was he some kind of God-
botherer, trying to recruit her?
‘I had you pegged as a scientist with a bit of cultural
Quakering on the side,’ she grumbled. ‘I am,’ he said.
‘But you definitely believe in God?’ He shrugged good-naturedly.
‘Ask any physicist. Something is looking at us.’
Carmen didn’t understand this but she pressed on.
‘But do you believe . . . in the Bible and the baby Jesus and stuff? And ooh, I am asking you and I know you can’t lie, ha!’
He blinked.
‘Well,’ he said. ‘I think if anyone were to believe in something more than themselves, if you were to believe in something, I would say it is not unreasonable to think that when you touch a baby’s face are touching the face of God.”


What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

One review said it was the most peaceful pleasure of a book, which made me feel very very happy about it. But hopefully it’s funny too.


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?

I am working on a book set in the islands of the far North of Scotland, about a woman who pilots the tiny planes up there. It’s going to be fun I hope!

Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: A print copy of THE CHRISTMAS BOOKSHOP by Jenny Colgan 


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Is there a Christmas book you read over and over again?

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Excerpt from The Christmas Bookshop:

This is from a scene where Carmen is caught up in a romance with TV personality Blair Pfenning, who is releasing his own children’s book. Skylar is her love rival for Blair’s affections.

So, hi?’ Skylar was talking into her own phone in front of all the children. ‘This is, like, the most exciting thing ever? We’re going to get a sneak preview of the very first ever chil- dren’s book by Blair Pfenning? It’s like a world exclusive? It’s not even going to be out for a whole year! I know, like, aahhh, OMG, right!’
Carmen looked up in confusion.
‘Okay, off you go!’ said Skylar, still training the camera on herself, with Carmen just visible behind her. ‘This is going to be so amazing, guys.’
Frowning slightly, nervous and wishing she’d done more than give the book a cursory glance, Carmen opened the first page.
‘Now. This is a story about a bear who learns to love himself. At Christmas. And his name was Jimmy, the Sad Christmas Bear.’
The children eyed her suspiciously.
‘Why do bears have to love themselves?’ piped up a small voice. It turned out to be Ramsay’s boy Patrick, even though he was ostentatiously not sitting with the others, and pouring over a book about the history of Hornby with Mr McCredie. He frowned.
‘They don’t need to love anything! They just need to take in enough calories from eating other animals to last the winter.’
Carmen cleared her throat.
‘He was often unhappy and he didn’t know why.’
‘Was it because he was a bear?’
‘I’d love to be a bear,’ said another small voice.
‘Some days just felt low and grey, not sunny and blue.’

‘Bears can’t see colour!’

Carmen looked at Ramsay, who held up his hands.

‘Patrick, I need some help in the stock room,’ Ramsay said.

Patrick carefully clambered down from the stool he was on, which was rather too high for him.

‘Please tell me, Mr Fox, why I am so sad?’
‘It is because you need a friend! Like me, the Fox!’
And the Bear and the Fox held hands and went into the woods.

Carmen frowned.

‘Then they met Mr Snake,’ she continued.

‘Is this The Gruffalo?’ came a voice.
‘Ooh, is there a gruffalo?’ came several interested voices.

‘Why am I so sad, Mr Snake?’
Mr Snake uncurled his body.
‘Because you should do some breathing and yoga.’

There was a lot of confusion about this meeting between a bear, a fox and a snake and who would eat who first.

‘So they all did some breathing and yoga,’ read Carmen.

‘Snakes are very good at yoga,’ nodded Skylar.

‘CHOMP!’ shouted the children.


‘Okay, guys, settle down.

And then Mr Bear, Mr Fox and Mr
Snake met Mr Frog.’

‘Why are all these animals boys?’ Phoebe wanted to know.

‘That’s a very good question,’ agreed Carmen, to a disapprov- ing sniff from Skylar, who was still taping.

‘Now we will all think about the beautiful woods and the beautiful sky and the beautiful rivers full of fish,” said the frog. “And we will not be unhappy any more’

‘Because they eat all the fish?’

‘Sssh,’ said a parent.

‘And they thought about the beautiful woods and the beautiful sky
and the beautiful rivers and how they were all friends and then they had a big Christmas party and lived happily ever after with the most important gift of all – loving themselves,’ Carmen concluded.

A ring of faces stared back at her.

‘All the animals love each other?’

‘Yes. Well. I think they’re friends. And they love themselves.’ ‘And he doesn’t get any real presents?’

‘But he gets the gift of love,’ said Carmen.

There was quite a lot of arm-folding going on down on
the floor.
‘And!bears! have! no! concept! of! co-operation! with! other! spe-
cies!’ came a distant voice from behind the stacks.

‘Well, wasn’t that was just wonderful,’ said Skylar, beaming into the camera. She turned it on the children, managing not to get Carmen in shot at all. ‘Wasn’t that lovely? Amazing new story by Blair: Jimmy the Sad Christmas Bear. Let’s have a round
of applause.’

There was a muted round of applause from the children,
not replicated by the mothers who had secretly hoped Blair would be there.

‘Excuse me, bookshop lady?’ came a small voice. It was a little girl with the long pigtails who’d been there before. ‘I think I liked better the one where there was a little girl? Who sold matches? And she died? And that was the end of the story?’

‘But it was sad about the bear? And then he played with the other animals and they were all friends?’ Skylar interjected.

‘Meh,’ said the girl. ‘We have a lot of those stories at school.’

‘Was it actually it about anti-bullying?’ said another one. ‘All the stories are normally.’

‘AND KINDNESS,’ added a third.

‘Well, kindness is good, isn’t it?’ said Carmen.

‘Sometimes,’ said Phoebe. ‘People say “be kind” when they
just mean “shut up”.’

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Info:

Sublime…Colgan infuses her latest book with humor, wit, suspense and a perfectly cast love triangle.”–USA Today

Perfect for the holidays! A brand-new heartwarming Christmas novel from the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop on the Corner and Christmas at the Island Hotel.

Laid off from her department store job, Carmen has perilously little cash and few options. The prospect of spending Christmas with her perfect sister Sofia, in Sofia’s perfect house with her perfect children and her perfectly ordered yuppie life does not appeal.

Frankly, Sofia doesn’t exactly want her prickly sister Carmen there either. But Sofia has yet another baby on the way, a mother desperate to see her daughters get along, and a client who needs help revitalizing his shabby old bookshop. So Carmen moves in and takes the job.

Thrown rather suddenly into the inner workings of Mr. McCredie’s ancient bookshop on the picturesque streets of historic Edinburgh, Carmen is intrigued despite herself. The store is dusty and disorganized but undeniably charming. Can she breathe some new life into it in time for Christmas shopping? What will happen when a famous and charismatic author takes a sudden interest in the bookshop—and Carmen? And will the Christmas spirit be enough to help heal her fractured family?

Book Links: Amazon | B&N |

Meet the Author:

Jenny Colgan was born in Scotland and has lived in London, the Netherlands, the U.S. and France. She eventually settled on the wettest of all of these places, and currently lives just North of Edinburgh with her husband Andrew, two ridiculous dogs, and three children: Wallace, Michael-Francis, who is 9 and likes making new friends on aeroplanes, and Delphine.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

42 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan”

  1. Summer

    My True Love Gave To Me is an easy one to return to since it’s a short story collection you can just pick one or two stories to read over each holiday season.

  2. Dianne Casey

    I don’t read Christmas books over. There are too many new ones to read.

  3. Banana cake

    Bring me home for Christmas by Robyn Carr it’s part of the Virgin River series.

  4. donnadurnell2013

    Well, we do usually read “The Night Before Christmas” to our great-grandson each year. And we will occasionally read other children’s Christmas books. But, no, I generally do not read books again, even Christmas ones. There are just too many ‘new’ books to read!

  5. Patricia B.

    I actually have many favorites and am finding it harder every year to get back to them. So many good Christmas books come out every year, my Christmas keeper shelf just keeps growing. There is one that combines westerns, time travel, andChristmas that just struck a chord with me. CHRISTMAS MOON by Elizabeth Lane is worth the read.