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The Bookstore Sisters: A Short Story Kindle Edition
From New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman comes a heartfelt short story about family, independence, and finding your place in the world.
Isabel Gibson has all but perfected the art of forgetting. She’s a New Yorker now, with nothing left to tie her to Brinkley’s Island, Maine. Her parents are gone, the family bookstore is all but bankrupt, and her sister, Sophie, will probably never speak to her again.
But when a mysterious letter arrives in her mailbox, Isabel feels herself drawn to the past. After years of fighting for her independence, she dreads the thought of going back to the island. What she finds there may forever alter her path—and change everything she thought she knew about her family, her home, and herself.
From the Publisher
Isabel Gibson has been dreaming of escaping since she was a child: leaping over the barrier of the ocean surrounding Brinkley’s Island. But even after she made it to New York City, she never felt satisfied. When she receives a letter from someone on the island asking for help, she has a chance to find out if crossing back over the water will be a step backward or forward in her life.
Alice Hoffman’s writing transported me as I read Isabel’s story, conjuring the dusty back room of the Once upon a Time Bookshop, the heirloom flowers that climb the walls of Red Rose Cottage, and the lupines that turn the whole island blue in summer. One image, though, sticks with me: Isabel and her sister Sophie as young girls, reading outside by the light of the summer moon until they fall asleep in the grass. I found myself willing Isabel to remember the child she was and the trust she and her sister once shared. In my short visit to Brinkley’s Island, I found a second home.
—Kjersti Egerdahl, Editor
About the Author
Alice Hoffman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty works of fiction, including Practical Magic, The Dovekeepers, Magic Lessons, and most recently, The Book of Magic. Her works have been translated into more than twenty languages, nominated for multiple awards, and adapted for the screen. Her new novel, The Invisible Hour, is forthcoming in August 2023. She lives in Boston. Visit her website at www.alicehoffman.com.
- ASIN : B0BB52CCND
- Publisher : Amazon Original Stories (November 1, 2022)
- Publication date : November 1, 2022
- Language : English
- File size : 6974 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Best Sellers Rank: #3 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on October 13, 2022
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Top reviews from the United States
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Book: The Bookstore Sisters
Author: Alice Hoffman
Genre: Short Story
My Rating: 3.75 Stars
Spice Level: None
Tropes: Family Healing
Descriptives: Cute 1.5 Hour Audiobook on Kindle Unlimited. It’s about a middle-age woman returning home and reconciling with her sister. She helps with their family bookstore and gets her Happy-Ever-After after a lonely life.
Did it keep my attention? Yes.
Was it easy to read and flowed smoothly? Yes.
Would I buy the print copy? (If it was a Kindle Read) No.
Would I re-read this book again in the future? No.
Would I recommend this book to others? Yes
My Rating Scale:
5 Stars: Excellent Book. Would highly recommend to others. I would buy the physical book. I would also re-read this book in the future. I would post about this book recommending it on social media.
4 Stars: Great Book. Would recommend to others. I would consider buying the print copy and re-read in the future if it belonged to a series.
3 Stars: Good Book. Didn’t quite hit the mark. Not something I would want to read again in the future. Not something I would recommend to others.
2 Stars: Poor Book. Two stars are saved for the books with great unique ideas but it was poorly executed and hard to read.
1 Star: Very Poor Book. Over-used ideas. Poor Writing. Boring. No Plot.
About this Reader:
I have few triggers.
My favorite genre is Fantasy Romance.
I love reading about different worlds.
I prefer books with low spice levels and plot-heavy.
I look for a good slow burn and not instant-love.
She's only seen Sophie once since then, and that was twelve years ago, when Sophie's husband died while she was pregnant. Isabel knows she handled that really badly, and has worked hard to forget everything about Brinkley's Island. Then she gets an envelope in the mail, with a card that says nothing but HELP.
Isabel has been walking dogs for a living, and she has one dog with her that she can't return to his home that will be empty for several more hours--especially when Hank, the Labrador, starts howling in distress when they approach the house. She takes him with her to Brinkley Island.
Withdrawn, self-isolated Isabel arrives on Brinkley's Island with a dog, to find her niece Violet, whom she has never met, waiting at the dock for her. Violet is not happy with her, but had no other family to send for. Sophie fell, and broke her leg, and is laid up for six more weeks. 11-year-old Violet can't run the store. Isabel, unwillingly, starts cleaning and organizing the store, so they can reopen.
She also finds her mother's box of recipes, and making her mother's evocatively named cookies, cupcakes, and other sweets. My favorite are the "You'll feel better in the morning" cupcakes.
She comes up with ideas for raising money to reopen the store, and ways to bring people into the store buying things rather than just borrowing books (which their father had, in his love of books and people, and poor business sense, allowed).
She talks to Sophie, to Violet, to Mr. Hawley, father of Sophie's late husband, Matt. To a man she has almost forgotten spending some time with when she returned for Matt's funeral. She gets Violet, who doesn't read books because she associates them with Isabel, who used to read constantly, abandoning her mother.
Along the way, the ice around Isabel's heart starts melting.
It's a wonderful story. I love all the characters. Seriously, every character that has a speaking role, including of course the dog, Hank.
I received this short story as part of Amazon's First Reads program, and am reviewing it voluntarily.
We are all a product of our past, particularly our traumas. When presented with an opportunity to grow past those experiences, some choose to change, while others get stuck in them. My theory is that people with advanced education are more likely to choose growth because they know that the state of knowledge is not fixed. Maybe I’ll try reading another Alice Hoffman piece.
by Alice Hoffman
This short story is my first time reading Alice Hoffman's work and it was a sweet experience. Not only were there desert recipes from the two sisters' late mother's recipe file but there is finding the strength to let go of the sad things in life so that one can go forward and enjoy all that is good in life. Isabel Gibson has been estranged from her sister and her hometown for ten years. When she gets a note saying HELP she heads back to Brinkley’s Island, Maine, home of the past that she wants to forget. Not that her present is worth remembering although she does have a favorite dog she walks, Hank, who she takes with her when she heads home.
There is so much to like here and I would not mind a full length book in this world and with these people and Hank. It seems others know more about Isabel than she knows about herself. The independence she ran towards was more trap than a freedom, when there was so much that she was remembering incorrectly. This was a good introduction to Alice Hoffman for me.
This was one of my Amazon Prime First Reads selections.
Top reviews from other countries
Although Isabel and Sophie's mother died when they were young, her presence permeates the story, notably in her recipes. I loved the names of some of her bakes: You'll Feel Better in the Morning Cupcakes, Never Get Lost Cookies, Fall in Love Fruitcake. Would baking these work their magic on Isabel and help her to be reconciled with her sister? Well, you'll need to read it to find out. Hank the labrador deserves a special mention too just for being a typical dog - non-judgmental and giving unconditional love.
A perfect choice to read in your coffee break, The Bookstore Sisters is a warm short story about how love in its many forms can be the most important thing in the world. It's about the bonds of family and about finding where you truly belong in the world. Quirky, fun and with a hint of magic, I really enjoyed it.
As Isabel travels from New York City so we read of why she left her childhood home, and the problems with the bookshop that the family owns, as well as why she has not spoken to her sister in years. On her arrival though perhaps something magical is about to happen, after all her niece is somewhat like she was, and her sister and the bookshop are certainly in need of some help.
With the mention of fairy tales coming up more than once so there is a fairy tale element to the whole of this story, which you can easily read over a cup of tea. As we see with Isabel, things can look better, and lives and relations can be rebuilt with a bit of compromise and a change of circumstances.
I feel this could have been expanded into a novella and more time spent on each sister's experiences and travails and their resolution (if any), however it was a lovely short story.
I didn’t love the way the sisters were depicted - relationships are not black and white, and I think the situations were more nuanced than the author painted them.