The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks
by Shauna Robinson
Released on November 1st, 2022
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark
I, Maggie Banks, solemnly swear to uphold the rules of Cobblestone Books.
If only, I, Maggie Banks, believed in following the rules.
When Maggie Banks arrives in Bell River to run her best friend’s struggling bookstore, she expects to sell bestsellers to her small-town clientele. But running a bookstore in a town with a famously bookish history isn’t easy. Bell River’s literary society insists on keeping the bookstore stuck in the past, and Maggie is banned from selling anything written this century. So, when a series of mishaps suddenly tip the bookstore toward ruin, Maggie will have to get creative to keep the shop afloat.
And in Maggie’s world, book rules are made to be broken.
To help save the store, Maggie starts an underground book club, running a series of events celebrating the books readers actually love. But keeping the club quiet, selling forbidden books, and dodging the literary society is nearly impossible. Especially when Maggie unearths a town secret that could upend everything.
Maggie will have to decide what’s more important: the books that formed a small town’s history, or the stories poised to change it all.
Trigger/Content Warning(s): Infidelity, Alcohol, Sexism, Racism, Death, Sexual Content
Disclaimer: I was provided a digital galley via Edelweiss+ for the purpose of reviewing. This does not affect my opinion.
The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks evoked so much emotion and feeling from within. This book is un-put-down-able, and it did not seem like there was nearly enough to satiate the desperate need while reading.
Shauna Robinson pulls readers in from the very first page. Her writing style is very cozy, almost feeling as though it is echoing in your head like a warm, needed hug. There is detail, there is emotion, there is page-turning inquisitiveness and a hint of mystery. She crafted this story in such a way that made it a powerful appeal to those of us similar to Maggie while keeping it light and open for the story to flourish. Because of this, it made it difficult to have to put the book down when needed, as one can find themselves wanting to keep reading it at every given second.
Moving on, the character development was phenomenal. Maggie as the main character was a perfect choice, and one can easily see her voice and person come across on each page. Maggie struggled with finding a bit of identity in what she liked and what she wanted to do with her life, making the job hunt stressful and difficult. It was easy to connect with her on that level, especially living as a person in this society where jobs are hard to come by in the avenue you might seek. Seeing as Maggie pushed to do what she wanted and loved while desperately wanting to carve room in the community for herself and joy and love and change was an emotional and heart-filled adventure.
The side characters, as well, were to be found unforgettable too. Vernon, for example, is the upstairs “grump,” and he came a long way from his introduction into the story too. It was easily notable the talent that came across in making these characters come alive on the pages, but it was another thing to truly feel as though you were standing with them and watching as they made their decisions, voiced their thoughts, and more.
The plot of this story was completely addicting. What one might think will happen from the beginning of the rising action will be just a forethought by the time the falling action is revealed. Robinson was masterful in weaving the true layers of this story together, and it truly showed as the book progressed. Though it may be found to be a bit unrealistic in terms, it can sometimes be agreed that a bit of impracticality is needed to make the story what it needs to be.
Overall, I fell completely head-over-heels for this book. Robinson has found a fan in me, and I am aching to read more from her after finishing this story. For that, I give this book a starred rating. I cannot wait to explore what she has planned next and highly recommend this to all who enjoy books, bookstores, and cozy books that center them with real-life issues!
Shauna Robinson writes contemporary fiction with humor and heart. Originally from San Diego, she now lives in Virginia with her husband and their sleepy greyhound. Shauna is an introvert at heart—she spends most of her time reading, baking, and figuring out the politest way to avoid social interaction.