Book Review: The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry


The bookshop at water's end by Patti Callahan Henry is a deep dive into the relationships between two friends and the people surrounding them. The characters are broken emotionally and are returning for the summer to the summer home where Lainey's mother abandoned their family years ago.  Lainey doesn't want to go to Watersend but her friend needs her.  Bonny's marriage is over, she made a mistake in the emergency room and a man died. Bonny's daughter Piper has failed out of school, her boyfriend left her for another student, and she's flailing.  They agree to meet at the summer house to fix it up to sell and life's complications and emotions catch up with all of them.  Bookshop at Water's End is an emotional journey of finding their way, individually and together. 

The bookshop is owned by Mimi who was lived in Waterends all her life and is there at the beginning and there at the end and in between provides a stabilizing influence to all the angst the characters are experiencing.    

“Inside the very worst things you can find the power for change. Nothing needs to be the end of it all; anything and everything can have new meaning.” She grimaced with a smile. “I know it sounds like I’m just trying to make it all better with a little Band-Aid of words, but I’ve lived it. I’m telling you the truth. It is awful. It is painful, and your mom will suffer because it hurts. That’s true also.”

"But what no one ever tells you is that there is this horrible, gooey, mud-sucking, scary-as-hell middle place that you have to slog through before the begin-again gets to start.”

“Art and stories,” I said, “offer meaning to our lives in a way nothing else can. Science can’t. Logic won’t. The soul needs story and meaning to help us endure this life. This is what Lainey’s art does for us—it offers us meaning. You know I believe stories do the same. Books can be medicine for the heart just as Lainey’s art is medicine for the soul. There is magic here.”

New to me author, Literary fiction, e

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