In a tiny bookshop in Dubrovnik’s historic Old Town, a book club begins…
Newly arrived on the sun-drenched shores of Croatia, Claire Thomson’s life is about to change forever when she starts working at a local bookshop. With her cousin Vedran, employee Luna and Karmela, a professor, they form an unlikely book club.
But when their first book club pick – an engrossing cosy crime – inspires them to embark upon an investigation that is close to the group’s heart, they quickly learn the value of keeping their new-found friends close as lives and stories begin to entwine…
“A warm and compelling story filled with sensory detail and emotion” Rosanna Ley
“A book to be treasured” Maisie Thomas
“Eva Glyn’s writing gets better and better” Angela Petch
I have always wanted to write a book about unlikely friendships. They’re some of my favourite ones to read and I really love the idea of bringing together people who wouldn’t normally meet, but for one common interest.
I also knew that there was a mystery in Vedran’s life that needed to be resolved. He was a character I rather fell in love with, so I decided to ‘borrow’ him from The Collaborator’s Daughter – although I must stress these are both standalone novels – so I feel deeply sorry for what I put him through this time.
Of the other main characters, Claire came to me next and the book starts when she arrives in Dubrovnik, terrified of catching Covid again, to jump start her life as the book shop manager. She’d do anything for anyone, and that’s her problem. She needs to learn to do things for herself.
Her assistant is Luna, and they hit it off from the very beginning. She was definitely the most fun to write, but she hides the secret that she’s lesbian. Sadly Croatia is not like the UK in terms of acceptance; it’s a largely Catholic country and this plays a bigger part than I realised until I began to research queer life there and met with a wall of silence. There wasn’t even a gay bar in Dubrovnik until the summer of 2023, and even now there are only two Pride marches in the whole of the country.
Karmela was the hardest character to get to grips with. She was always a rather dry historian, but she started her life in the book by trying to write a romance and failing to understand why she couldn’t do it. But when I pinned her backstory to Sarajevo at the start of the war in the 1990s she began to take shape and now I love her dearly.
I like to think that the final principal character is Dubrovnik old town itself, with its wonderful streets and hundreds of steps, its fabulous medieval buildings and ubiquitous cats. It also, of course, has bookshops, but of course for the story I invented my own. Thank you to my collaborator Darko for naming it; Knjizara Svih Nacija – the bookshop where all are welcome.
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