Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop by Kiley Dunbar

I absolutely love the premise of this novel, as so many of us book lovers will. The idea is that you pay to live above, and run, a bookshop and café for a two-week break. Here we discover the Borrow-A-Bookshop at Clove Lore, a village on the Devonshire coast. The village itself sounds idyllic, with its donkey sanctuary, harbour and traditional English pub. (I’m just packing my bags, as I write…)

The shop is owned by Jowan, who is in his sixties and has a gorgeous old dog called Aldous -“his skinny tail curled between his legs like a fallen question mark” (love that description!). The person looking after the bookshop this Christmas is from Iceland – Magnus Sturluson. But he seems strangely subdued, not excited about the prospect of what many would see as a dream holiday.

Meanwhile 26-year-old Alexandra Robinson is all at sea – literally. Running away from Port Kernou in Cornwall, she was on board her 27ft river cruiser, but a storm blew her into Clove Lore and now she is stranded there with her boat damaged. As Magnus helps rescue her, he is enchanted by her eyes…

This is the first of Kiley Dunbar’s books I have read, though I did buy The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday, but haven’t had chance to read it yet. I will be pushing it up my TBR pile, now I know how good Kiley’s writing is. I loved this book, it has a fairytale quality to it. I love a good Christmas book too and let’s face it, this one even had donkeys in it!

I liked all the characters and it was good to find out more about Icelandic culture through Magnus’s story. I also loved Izaak and Leonid and their love story. The village is full of wonderfully rounded, believable characters that you care about. They put a real heart into the story and the whole novel is full of warmth.


Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop

‘Tis the season for finding love… and the perfect book

With just two weeks until Christmas, everything in Clove Lore should be perfect. But the latest holidaymaker to the Borrow a Bookshop is feeling far from festive…

Icelandic ex-bookseller Magnús Sturluson might be surrounded by love stories in the Bookshop, but he’s nursing a sadness that not even fiction can fix.

When Alexandra Robinson finds herself stranded in Clove Lore, she finds a safe place to hide from heartbreak. After all, all that’s waiting for her at home is a cheater boyfriend and the memories of her parents. As Alex finds herself embraced by the quirky village community, she finds her tough exterior thawing – and as she grows closer to Magnús, she finds an equally soft heart under his gruff shell.

It seems that Clove Lore is working its magic once again – until a great flood on Christmas Eve brings devastation in its wake. It’s up to Magnús and Alex to batten down the hatches and help bring the village back together again, while also introducing the locals to the Icelandic tradition of the jólabókaflóð – Yule book flood – where families and friends gather on Christmas Eve to exchange books and read together.

But can Magnús and Alex truly rescue the ruins of the village, and salvage their Christmas spirit? Or is there another complication lurking even closer than they thought?

Purchase Links





Author Bio – Kiley Dunbar writes heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places, with One Winter’s Night being shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel Award 2021.

Kiley’s five novels include: The Borrow a Bookshop Holiday (May 2021), One Winter’s Night (September 2020), Summer at the Highland Coral Beach (2020), Christmas at Frozen Falls (2019) and One Summer’s Night (2019).

Social Media Links –

‘Kiley Dunbar Author Book Page’ on Facebook
website and newsletter:


Published by karenlouisehollis

53, lives in Lincoln, England. Published writer, book blogger and reviewer, mum, grandma, cat owner, vegetarian. Loves reading and sewing. My second novel is out now - a second chance romance set at the seaside - STARTING AGAIN IN SILVER SANDS BAY.

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