Review: The Bookshop at Water’s End by Patti Callahan Henry @pcalhenry

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Release date: July 11, 2017

Publisher: Berkley 

Genre: Women’s Fiction 


The women who spent their childhood summers in a small southern town discover it harbors secrets as lush as the marshes that surround it…

Bonny Blankenship’s most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey’s mother disappeared.

Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.


The Bookshop at Water’s End is told from multiple perspectives giving four different women all the chance to narrate and tell their personal story.  Bonny and Lainey have been best friends since they were children and Piper is Bonny’s troubled daughter, and finally Mimi is the owner of the bookshop. These women ranged in age from nineteen to eighty and the author did such a brilliant job of creating distinct and powerful voices for each of them. As I write this, I’m trying to decide who my favorite character is and I’m struggling, which only proves my point that the characterization is amazing! 

This is mainly told in the present day as Bonny, Lainey and Piper all spend some time at Bonny’s parents house in Watershed. There are also a few chapters that flashback to the late seventies/early eighties during the three summers that Bonny and Lainey spent there together. Watershed was a fantastic setting and the author truly brought it to life. I kept going back and looking at that beautiful cover while I was reading and it just fits perfectly with the setting she created. 

The main focus of the story surrounds the three women as they struggle with their own personal problems, but the past plays a heavy role in their current dilemmas. Lainey’s mom disappeared and was never seen again and the addition of this mystery added something special and heartbreaking to the text. 

This was a wonderful summer read with depth, there are some lessons to be learned from it and the themes were also beautiful. The power and beauty of female relationships played a heavy role here and the friendship between Bonny and Lainey was just lovely. There was such a good, strong flow to the writing, it was so easy to get caught up in the characters lives and be swept away to Watershed. At it’s heart, it’s the story of women finding their place in the world and finally finding their true home. There is just something magical about this book that I really enjoyed, it’s special. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

7 thoughts on “Review: The Bookshop at Water’s End by Patti Callahan Henry @pcalhenry

  1. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    Disregard my previous question about if you had read and enjoyed this one lol I just cant keep up with your reading & review writing. You are a machine my friend!

    Anyways! This looks like such a lovely summer read!

    “These women ranged in age from nineteen to eighty and the author did such a brilliant job of creating distinct and powerful voices for each of them.”

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where there is such a variance of ages in the perspectives. Very interesting. Are they told in 1st person or 3rd?

    Liked by 1 person

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