Elyse Goes to The Last Chapter Bookshop

I live about three hours north of Chicago, and every few months my friends and I do a “food run,” where we pick up all the delicious noms we cannot get here–food from the Super H-Mart, Lou Malnati’s pizzas,  matzo ball soup from my favorite deli, etc.

This trip we added in a stop the The Last Chapter Bookshop in Roscoe Village.

The storefront for the Last Chapter Bookshop.

First of all, and perhaps most importantly, I was immediately happy when I walked in the door. The vibes here are excellent. Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York” was playing on speakers, the store was busy but not so crowded I was uncomfortable, and the staff was friendly and greeted me. The people shopping, all of them women with the exception of my husband, were happy.

For context, I’ve been dealing moving aging parents into assisted living/ memory care and late night panicked phone calls from a parent with dementia and things have just generally really sucked. This is the first thing I’ve done just for fun for me in a few months, and I am so happy I did it. It was being surrounded by the things I love and people who also love those things and it was very uplifting.

Now that you know the vibes were great, it’s time for details.

You’ll be street parking to shop here, so plan for that. We had to drive around a little bit given it was a Saturday, but ultimately were able to grab parking right in front of the store.  You also have to pay for street parking.

There is also a cannabis store next door, in case you want to have a really good visit.

The store is about 50/50 books and bookish items like drink-wear, clothing, candles, totes, stickers and pins.

A shelf with bookish tees and tote bags. There are red and pink balloons hanging from the ceiling.

A shelf full of stickers

I immediately snagged two cute magnetic bookmarks and a Bridgerton scented candle (floral and sweet). I also found a tote bag to bring my loot home in.

As you move toward the back of the store, there are three former fitting rooms that have been converted into selfie rooms and they’re amazing.

A fitting room with greenery and glittery pink and silver items on the walls. There is a neon sign that reads The Last Chapter Bookshop up high.

A room with pink lighting and paper hearts on the walls

I loved this because it makes it clear that the space is not just for buying stuff, it’s also for celebrating that you love romance novels. You have the space to take pictures of yourself or you with friends and document that you love this stuff, and I wish a space like this had been around 20 years ago when I was hiding my historical romances in between other books at the library because I thought the librarian would judge me.

There were groups of women shopping together and they were excited, showing each other what they had found. This made me so happy.

So now for the actual book selection. I was a little bummed to see that most of the books appeared to be curated from Book Tok, and most were contemporary romance of some variety. I only saw a few historical romances, for example.

The shelves were divided up by subcategory–romantasy (a lot of Sarah J. Maas), sports romance, dark contemporary (which included more erotic titles that weren’t really dark romance, IMO, like Sara Cate), and shelves for LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC titles.

There was also a section for special editions.

A sign over a shelf of books says Last Chapter Special Editions.

I wish there had been a greater variety of books, but even as I say that, I did buy six titles so obviously the pickings weren’t slim.

I also think this is a place you go for the atmosphere and the bookish swag, not necessarily just for books.

I’ll be rolling a stop here into my future Chicago runs.

Want to see what I snagged? Of course you do.

A Bridgerton candle sits on top of a stack of six books: Eyes on Me by Sara Cate, Dangerous Temptation by Giana Darling, The Strings that Hold Us Together by Kendra Mase, Icebreaker and Wildfire by Hannah Grace, and Lonely for You Only by Monica Murphy.

A magnetic bookmark that says books are my therapy

Have you been to The Last Chapter Bookshop?

Add Your Comment →

  1. AlliK says:

    Regarding caring for aging parents with dementia: you have my deepest sympathies based on personal experience, Elyse. It is so, so stressful and so much work. I have SO MANY thoughts and opinions on this topic, but please just know I am thinking of you (and all the other smart bitches in the same situation) and sending you lots of virtual energy and support!

  2. Amy says:

    Elyse I always love your posts all the positive thoughts and love to you. Having personally gone through this as well, know that whatever you do, it is the right decision.

  3. MirandaB says:

    I’m very sorry about your parents, Elyse. It’s the hardest thing.

  4. AlliK says:

    I’ll also add that two book that really helped me were Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant and Dasha Kiper’s Travelers to Unimaginable Lands

  5. susan says:

    I have been down the same road with my mother (and the Roz Chast book is a good one). I also have a bookstore rec–my neighbor’s DIL opened a new/used bookstore in Berwyn called the Pile Bookstore, with new and used books, and games. Support small businesses!

  6. SaraGale says:

    Glad you got a break from caregiving. That is tough stuff.

    I live in the burbs at the northern edge of Chicago. I’m totally curious which deli is your fave. We love Super H Mart and do our Christmas Sushi dinner ingredient shopping there every year.

    I haven’t been to Last Chapter yet, but I’m now more motivated to check in out. I mostly read ebooks, but the gifts and merch look great. Especially that bookmark!!

  7. Kareni says:

    @Elyse: sending all good wishes for you and your parents; dementia is awful.

    Thanks for sharing about your trip to The Last Chapter Bookshop; it sounds like a great place!

  8. cleo says:

    I live in Chicago and this Thanksgiving, my 82 yo uncle handed me an index card with the name and address of The Last Chapter Bookshop. He’d read an article about them in one of the local papers and wanted to make sure I’d heard about it. I had but his index card motivated me to check it out.

    My experience was similar to Elyse’s – I loved the vibes and energy and was a little underwhelmed by the book options. But I did discover and buy a book I hadn’t heard of – The Fake Boyfriend Fiasco by Talia Hibbert – and it’s just as delightful as the title implies.

    I went on a Sat and it was bustling but not too full.

    It’s also in the same neighborhood as the Chicago rat hole – a rodent shaped hole in the sidewalk that went viral in January (after my visit so I didn’t check it out). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_rat_hole

  9. Darlynne says:

    Lou Malnati’s pizza! I don’t remember, do they cut theirs in squares (Chicago has rules and that’s one; also no ketchup on a hot dog for anyone over the age of 10). The bookstore sounds like a lovely place for self-care and what’s better than shopping with like-minded people? You give so much, Elyse. Wishing you peace wherever you find it.

  10. Elyse says:

    @SaraGale we’ve always gone to Kaufman’s in Skokie. I loved the giant pickles as a kid.

    @cleo a couple actually got married at the rat hole. It was on John Oliver

    @Darlynne wedges only!

  11. cleo says:

    I live in Chicago. This Thanksgiving my 80+ uncle came up to me and handed me an index card with the name and address of The Last Chapter Bookshop. He’d read about it in the paper and wanted to make sure I’d heard about. I had heard about it through the miracle of the Internet, but my uncle’s index card inspired me to make the trip.

    I had a similar response as Elyse. I loved the energy and the vibe but was a little underwhelmed by the book selection. But I did discover and buy a book I hadn’t heard of by an author I like – The Fake Boyfriend Fiasco by Talia Hibbert (and it was just as delightful as the title implies).

    They do also offer book boxes online.

    And, while you’re in the neighborhood, you can check out Rat Hole Chicago, the rodent shaped hole in a piece of sidewalk that went viral in January.

  12. cleo says:

    @Darlynne – tavern style thin crust pizza is cut in squares but deep dish is cut in wedges 😉

    (And sorry all for the double post – I thought my first post was eaten by my browser, but I think it was just in moderation.)

  13. AnneL says:

    I’m a Chicagoan and I knew that there was a romance bookstore in Roscoe Village but somehow missed where it was exactly. I lived in a (truly terrible) coachhouse behind this exact building during a deeply depressing time in my life in the early 90’s when that space was a Hapkido school and I would sit in my apartment and listen to the deep guttural exhalations of the participants (Hunh! Hunh!) and read romance novels while listening to sad ’90’s girl music. Now I must visit!

    Also, nothing against Lou Malnati’s, but

  14. AnneL says:

    Pequods was just named best deep dish and I have to agree.

  15. CK says:

    Elyse, I’m so sorry to hear about your parents – hope you know that you are doing the best you can for them. I’m glad you were able to decompress a bit, too – that store looks super cute. Sending best wishes to you and your family!

  16. Katie says:

    Elyse, I am so sorry to hear about your parents, that sounds incredibly hard. Sending lots of patience/peace vibes your way.

  17. SaraGale says:

    @elyse Kaufman’s is a short walk from our house in Skokie. Love their sandwiches. Making me hungry thinking about them.

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