I have been in a slight reading slump over the past week or so after a marathon in January where I read 11 books. I couldn't read fast enough but something has been holding me back for the past week. I did, however, finally finish this book that I had been reading for a bit. 

"With Love, From London" wasn't my favorite book at the beginning but by the end, I was filled with such joy and warmth. It's important to note that I will pretty much read anything set in London and this story, along with the writing, reminded me of a mix of Fiona Davis and Taylor Jenkins Reid. 

It was slow to begin but quickly picked up and I fell head over heels in love with the entire story. It was beautiful, heartfelt, and really interesting. 

I received an ARC on Netgalley but the book was actually just released yesterday so you can get your hands on it!

If you're looking for a beautiful story about a mother and daughter, separated by decades, with a bit of love and a lot of books thrown in, you will truly love "With Love, From London".

Publisher's Summary

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.

My Thoughts

Like I said above, this book started out very slow and I also didn't really understand why everyone Valetina met was making excuses for her mother. I mean, Eloise left her small daughter and went back to London, for what? To chase a man and a dream? It didn't make sense and I don't think I was expecting to honestly figure out what happened but I'm glad we did. 

After you hear the explanation, things make total sense and you have a newfound respect for Eloise. Her story is hard to witness and heartbreaking at times, but when you see how she pulled herself together and had such a zest for life, it makes it all the more beautiful 

I really loved the story though; I love anything with London and books so this was right up my alley and once I got into the story, I was fully on board. I loved Valentina's personality, how bookstagram was woven throughout the story with ties to her mother's love of books. It was nice to read something truly set in the present while also having ties to the not-so-distant past. The presence of books was like a secondary character I couldn't get enough of. I don't know if I think it's very meta when an author puts books in their novel or it's because I also love books more than anything in the world, but it enriches a story and adds a bit of something else which makes it really lovely to read. 

This book, at its core, is a love story between mother and daughter. It made my heart hurt and I would definitely put a trigger warning for anyone who has lost a parent. It brings up a lot of emotions but it also sends a beautiful message to cherish every moment with your loved ones.

I completely adored the scavenger hunt subplot because it was so well thought out, beautiful and heartwarming. It allowed Valentina to get to know and better understand her mother in a really unique way. I'm a sucker for a scavenger hunt... it's one of my favorite vehicles in a story... or real life! 

To me, every character was likable, even Millie who took a little while getting used to. I especially loved Eric; he seemed like a dream and the perfect book boyfriend to lust after. 

I don't have a bad word to say about this book and think I would've been more invested from the beginning if I wasn't in a bit of a reading slump. If you love books, deep thinking with a bit of fun and romance, you will really enjoy "With Love, From London".

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