Friday 22 September 2023
THE LOST BOOKSHOP by Evie Woods
Release Date: 22nd June 2023
Publisher: One More Chapter
Genres: Magical Realism
The Lost Bookshop was my pick for my book club and I'm so glad I did pick it. The story is told along 2 different timelines and told in the first person narrative. We meet Martha and Henry set in the present day, and then Opaline from 1920's England.
Martha has always known she was different. She can 'read' people in a way that she doesn't fully understand. Running away from a violent marriage she finds herself in Dublin and on the doorstep of Madame Bowden where she finds a job as this intriguing lady's housekeeper, living in her basement flat and and trying to rebuild her life. Henry invertedly stumbles across her when he is looking for a lost bookshop and a missing manuscript. Henry is a rare book scholar and the search for the manuscript and indeed the bookshop has become all consuming for him. He and Martha strike up a friendship of sorts that takes them both by surprise. Martha soon finds that her new home, like her is strange and magical but she feels like its her safe haven.
Opaline Carlisle, like many women in the 1920's has had her life decided for her by her brute of a brother. He wants her to marry well to help him and their mother. Opaline has other plans and runs away into a world of books, artists and other creatives and although things don't go as she planned, Opaline finds herself in the most enchanted bookshop in Dublin and her life becomes almost as one of the many beautiful books she finds.
If you love books, magic, mystery and classic authors then you are absolutely going to adore this book. It's one of those books that breathes life into the magic that books bring to a reader. They are more than just words on a page. They are new worlds, dreams, desires, adventure and love. As someone who adores old books and actually collects them, this story intrigued me and I now want to leave my job and go hunt down missing manuscripts and old books! I want to fall in love with the classics all over again and find out more about the giants who wrote such wonderful books.
We are treated to meeting some real life characters such Sylvia Beach who owned Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris. The story is charming, terrifying, mysterious, beautiful and romantic all rolled into one. The excitement of tracking down the lost manuscript leads the reader along a literary treasure hunt that is impossible to ignore. I found this book hard to put down and it left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. The strength of the two female lead characters Martha and Opaline is inspiring and shows us that new beginnings are possible and can be found in the most unlikely places with the most unlikely people. We just need to open our minds and hearts to the magic that can lead us there. Even when we feel at our most lost, we can always be found.
“In a place called lost, strange things are found.”
Trigger warning: Domestic violence.