Bookseller Nina Hill has developed a life and a schedule that suits her and her comfort zone perfectly. She has a trivia team, several book clubs, and a cat named Phil. She gets out enough to keep from being lonely, but the environment is controlled enough to keep her anxiety from being triggered. During an otherwise normal workday, Nina learns that her nomadic mother lied about not knowing who Nina’s father was. A lawyer arrives at the bookstore to inform Nina that her wealthy father has passed away and she has a large family scattered throughout the LA area. An expert at keeping people at bay, Nina now has to deal with relatives dropping into her life, sometimes invited and sometimes not. Also, the attractive leader of a rival trivia league has decided now would be a good time for him to get to know Nina.
Nina is a delightful main character. I would describe her as a cross between Anne Shirley and Bridget Jones. Yes, a strange combo, I know. She resembles Bridget in her whimsical self improvement plans. (“Drink more water and less wine,” Nina might journal, while pouring herself a second glass of wine.) However, Nina’s intelligence and depth are what keeps this from being too similar to a late ‘90s, early ‘00s chick lit novel. She’s thoughtful and dreamy and her mind is always going to surprising places. She’s a modern day Anne Shirley, filled with romantic longings for what life should be, yet sharp enough to see life exactly as it is.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a perfect choice if you want something page turning that will make you giggle but also want a book that is thoughtful. It will appeal to readers who enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove. It deals with isolation, mental health, and overcoming fear of rejection in a way that is humorous and sensitive. Highly recommended.