The North Recommends: Darling Reads

Hello! We are Laura and Asher and we own Darling Reads in Horbury, Wakefield. We decided to start this new venture back in January 2020 when a chat over coffee while we were both on maternity leave suddenly evolved into a reality we had both always dreamed of. We took over from an existing bookshop, so we were lucky that loyal customers were willing to come and support us. We were originally due to open on 1st April 2020, and then COVID-19 happened, which put our plans on hold until we could open safely on 22nd July 2020.

We’ve had to adapt pretty quickly to running a business through a pandemic and numerous lockdowns. While we have been closed, we have been running our click and collect service which has been going well. We also post out books nationally and internationally, which has been helpful for people who are self-isolating. We can take orders via our website ( and via our social media platforms.

We can’t wait until things are back to ‘normal’, as we have many plans we haven’t been able to put into action yet, such as running events, book clubs and getting more involved with our local schools.
Not only that but there’s been so many amazing books out recently that we feel our customers are missing out on, so we can’t wait to get them back through the doors and in front of our favourites, like Amari and the Night Brothers, One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot, The Sanatorium, Girl A, A Burning… the list just goes on! We compliment each other well in terms of our bookish tastes– Asher is really into dystopian women’s fiction, whereas Laura enjoys a bit of a lighter read! Being an ex-primary school teacher, Laura also has a massive interest in the children’s books.

It’s not been the easiest of starts for a new business, but our customers are fantastic, and the village of Horbury and surrounding areas really want us to succeed. We were absolutely delighted to win National Book Tokens ‘Newcomer of the Year 2021’ award at the beginning of this year and we feel it is a real achievement under the circumstances. We can’t thank everyone enough for the support we have received so far.