The 12 Books of Christmas: Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop by Kiley Dunbar

*I was given a copy of Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Hera Books and Kiley Dunbar.*


‘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?


This was so much better than Kiley Dunbar’s last Christmas book. I’m not sure if I didn’t enjoy her previous festive release because I listened to the audiobook and I didn’t like them much back then. Either way the story of Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop was much more interesting. I love the idea of a holiday spent working in a bookshop, especially as it’s very casual. I feel like every book lover has wanted to work in a bookshop at some point and this book captures that feeling very well. 

The characters were a lot more likable than Kiley’s previous works, although the main characters of Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop; Magnus and Alex, were not my favourite they were still pretty decent. The side characters were so endearing and well-developed, which must be because this is the second book set in this location. 

This brings me to my next point. I didn’t realise this is technically the second book in the series. But it didn’t seem to matter as for the most part, it reads as a separate book there are just a few spoilers. However, if you aren’t going to read the original Borrow a Bookshop it won’t make a difference. I enjoyed this and its characters so much that I’m considering reading the first book.

The romance in this was ok…I didn’t really find myself rooting for Alex and Magnus. There was clearly chemistry between them but I personally didn’t see a spark. 

This isn’t a spoiler because it’s in the synopsis – the flood was very intense. So much so that I didn’t fully comprehend everything that was going on at the time because I wanted to get through it and find all of the characters safe. Happily, I can say that the events following were extremely heartwarming and I love the part where everyone received a book on Christmas Eve. There’s a real sense of community in this book and the small village trope is my absolute favourite in festive stories. 

Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop was a pretty good festive read. Although not my favourite of the year so far, I would definitely still recommend it. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Like this post? Why not read this one too: The 12 Books of Christmas: Snow Falls Over Starry Cove by Nancy Barone

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