In The Lounge

Meet Emilia Nightingale and her bookshop customers

Nightingale Books is an idyllic book shop nestled in a Cotswold village frequented by a fascinating variety of customers and staff. We would be booking ourselves on the next train there, except it is a fictional place dreamt up by author Veronica Henry.

In How to Find Love in a Bookshop, we discover Emilia Nightingale’s fight to keep her book shop open, the customers whose lives she has touched – and the books they all love.

We can’t visit the shop itself but we can do the next best thing by diving into this heartwarming story and meeting the cast of characters. So here’s a taster of who they all are along with their top 10 books, the best way to get to know someone in our opinion.

You can also read an extract or listen to a clip from the audiobook, below.

Julius Nightingale’s Ten Cult Classics

Everyone’s dream of what a book shop owner should be, ‘Julius imagined each person he passed as a potential customer. He could picture them all, crowding in, asking his advice, him sliding their purchases into a bag, getting to know their likes and dislikes, putting a book aside for a particular customer; know it would be just up their street. Watching them browse, watching the joy of them discovering a new author; a new world.’

Julius is adored by all his customers – not only for his passion for books, but also for his willingness to chat for ages over cups of tea in the shop.

  1. 1984 George Orwell
  2. A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess
  3. On the Road Jack Kerouac
  4. The Outsider Albert Camus
  5. The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka
  6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Ken Kesey
  7. The Master and Margarita Mikhail Bulgakov
  8. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Hunter S. Thompson
  9. Catch-22 Joseph Heller
  10. The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger


Emilia Nightingale’s Eponymous Literary Heroines

Emilia is Julius’s daughter – he’s brought her up entirely on his own, in a little flat above Nightingale Books. Having travelled the world, she’s come back to Peasebrook, and has promised her father not to sell the book shop to local property magnate, Ian Mendip – no matter how much money he offers. She firmly believes ‘books are more precious than jewels. What did a diamond bring you? A momentary flash of brilliance. A diamond scintillated for a second; a book could scintillate forever.’ But, having reviewed Julius’s lackadaisical attitude to finances, can she really keep Nightingale Books going?

  1. Pamela Samuel Richardson
  2. Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë
  3. Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
  4. Zuleika Dobson Max Beerbohm
  5. Emma Jane Austen
  6. Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
  7. Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  8. Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf
  9. Moll Flanders Daniel Defoe
  10. Matilda Roald Dahl

Sarah Basildon’s Literary Country Houses

Despite owning Peasebrook Manor, Sarah’s life hasn’t always been easy. And recently she’s suffered a loss which has knocked her for six, but which must remain secret. The book shop has a special place in her heart, and she wants to offer Emilia all the support that she can.

  1. Manderley – Rebecca Daphne du Maurier
  2. Pemberley – Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
  3. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë
  4. Thornfield – Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë
  5. Gormenghast Mervyn Peake
  6. Blandings P. G. Wodehouse
  7. Cold Comfort Farm Stella Gibbons
  8. Brideshead – Brideshead Revisted Evelyn Waugh
  9. Howards End E. M. Forster
  10. Godsend – I Capture the Castle Dodie Smith

Marlowe Collingham’s Books About Music

Marlowe is the dashing violinist who runs the Peasebrook Quartet. He asks Emilia to join, taking Julius’s spot on the cello, encouraging and supporting her even when her confidence is wobbly. Hopping from one glamorous girlfriend to the next, Marlowe’s current amour is the devastatingly chic, but somewhat demanding Delphine. However, could there ever be more than friendship between Marlowe and Emilia?

  1. Miles: The Autobiography Miles Davis
  2. Life Keith Richards
  3. Just Kids Patti Smith
  4. Musicophilia Oliver Sacks
  5. How Music Works David Byrne
  6. An Equal Music Vikram Seth
  7. Music and Silence Rose Tremain
  8. High Fidelity Nick Hornby
  9. The Cellist of Sarajevo Steven Galloway
  10. The Mozart Question Michael Morpurgo

June Agnew Books set in Ireland

June helps out at Nightingale Books, as retirement has been a challenge, after years as a successful businesswoman. She and Julius were great friends and often went for dinner, or to concerts, together, but were never romantically involved. After two failed marriages, and some dodgy affairs, why is June so keen to have an event at the book shop to promote ageing Hollywood heart-throb Mick Gillespie’s autobiography? Maybe there’s more to June than meets the eye…

  1. Good Behaviour Molly Keane
  2. The Country Girls Edna O’Brien
  3. Troubles J. G. Farrell
  4. Ulysses James Joyce
  5. Circle of Friends Maeve Binchy
  6. The Last September Elizabeth Bowen
  7. The Gathering Anne Enright
  8. The Commitments Roddy Doyle
  9. Nora Webster Colm Tóibín
  10. Cashelmara Susan Howatch

Dillon Green’s Ten Literary Servants

The gardener at Peasebrook Manor, Dillon thinks the world of the Basildons, his employers, particularly Sarah, and her sparkling daughter Alice, who runs the estate. Naturally talented, Dillon regularly plunders Sarah’s collection of classic gardening books for inspiration. Dillon wants the grounds of the Manor to look their best for Alice’s upcoming wedding – but is Alice’s fiancé all he seems? Dillon has his doubts – but dare he say anything to Sarah… or even Alice herself?

  1. Mrs Danvers – Rebecca Daphne du Maurier
  2. Jeeves – Jeeves and Wooster P. G. Wodehouse
  3. Steerpike – Gormenghast Mervyn Peake
  4. Stevens – The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro
  5. Mellors – Lady Chatterley’s Lover D. H. Lawrence
  6. The Avenger – Great Expectations Charles Dickens
  7. Mary Poppins – Mary Poppins P. L. Travers
  8. Sue Trinder – Fingersmith Sarah Waters
  9. Griet – Girl with a Pearl Earring Tracy Chevalier

Thomasina Matthews Books about Food

The only time cookery teacher Thomasina really feels confident is when she’s cooking – she runs a pop-up in her cottage, A Deux, where she serves gourmet meals for two people at a time. She pops into Nightgale Books once a month, to choose a new cookery book for herself as a treat. When she bumps into Jem, the guy she buys cheese from for her dinners, in the bookshop, she realises he’s the only person who doesn’t make her feel cripplingly self-conscious. How can tongue-tied Thomasina bring herself to discuss more than Manchego and Roquefort with Jem?

  1. Chocolat Joanne Harris
  2. Heartburn Nora Ephron
  3. Quentins Maeve Binchy
  4. Julie and Julia Julie Powell
  5. Kitchen Confidential Anthony Bourdain
  6. French Country Cooking Elizabeth David
  7. Toast Nigel Slater
  8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl
  9. How to Eat Nigella Lawson
  10. The Art of Eating M. F. K. Fisher

Read the first chapter of How to Find Love in a Book Shop now

or listen to a clip from the audiobook

How to Find Love in a Book Shop is out in paperback from 22nd September. Buy your copy from:



Veronica Henry

Veronica Henry has worked as a scriptwriter for THE ARCHERS, HEARTBEAT and HOLBY CITY amongst many others, before turning to fiction. She won the 2014 RNA NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD for A NIGHT ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Veronica lives with her family in a village in north Devon.