The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?
Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.
After last week’s thriller I really needed a book to help relax and loosen my tendons and muscles and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill was the perfect cure. If you’re looking for a novel with a quirky character then Nina definitely fits the bill. It might come as a shock because I read that lots of readers found many similarities in Nina but I didn’t identify with Nina as much as I had expected and I still don’t know if we would be friends exactly.
Nina is a strong, independent woman, whip smart and she really has her opinions. She lives by her calendar (the days were printed between the chapters and I really enjoyed these little extras) and she’s pretty rigid in her timings (ok we might have that in common), and lives with her cat named Phil (ok yes that too only mine doesn’t comment on my behaviour; I haven’t decided yet if that’s a good or bad thing), but for an introvert she does have a pretty full social life, she certainly doesn’t have social anxiety. She leads several book clubs at the bookstore she works, she has trivia night every week and movie nights on her agenda, gym class and there’s also reading time of course. How can a girl still fit in a date with a cute guy with all of that going on?
One day her life is turned upside down when she finds out that the father she never knew died and that he was quite rich. He knew about her though and he left her something in his will and gave her a large extended family as a bonus. Nina isn’t really looking for either and likes her life as it is but it’ll soon turn out that she won’t have a real choice in the matter… some of them look her up and it turns out they do have some things in common. At the same time the boy from a rival trivia team catches her eye and it seems that he might have noticed her too. Can she juggle all of that and let her quiet life become so much more chaotic?
I really enjoyed reading about the new family members and I thought she had much more in common with each of them than with her love interest, who was a lovely boy with lots of patience, but I didn’t really feel the chemistry, especially when she doesn’t find ‘time’ in her schedule to meet him and is still convinced that her future lover needs to read books to be a match. She knows so much and yet she knows nothing at all. Half of us would be single if that were true, right? The love angle was more of a sideplot for me and the focus of the novel was mostly on the new family and the intruiging will, with little sideplots involving the bookshop she worked at and the boy who knows more about sports than her.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a charming book, easy to read and light-hearted. I enjoyed seeing Nina getting her head out of the books and adapting to the new situations. A great holiday novel if you’re still looking for one!
I bought a copy of this novel at my local bookstore. This is my honest opinion.