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Lindsey's Literary Leanings

Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction / Biographies / Autobiographies

  • Lindsey Skelton-Smith

Found In A Book Shop (Author: Stephanie Butland)

Book Cover - Found in a Book Shop

Comforting Captivating Heartfelt

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Relationships

Found In A Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

Not much had changed for Loveday during the last 6 years.....since the fire that changed everything, except that she was now owner of Archie's beloved Bookshop, 'Lost For Words', left to her, his Bookshop apprentice, in his will after his unexpected and sudden death. He also left her his large & very grand home which she now inhabits with Nathan, her long term partner, her poet, her magician, her world.

She hired Kelly as Manager of her little shop of books, and all had been running smoothly....until the world, the world at large, changed. Covid-19 was now a thing and a lockdown on the entire country had now been decreed. Customers were no longer permitted to enter premises, no longer able to come in and browse the shelves to find the books they needed.

The three of them would spend a part of their working days, brainstorming, (whilst consuming cinnamon buns and coffee) trying to come up with a plan to turn some sort of a profit, but also enable them to reach out to all those that would need a distraction, comfort and the guidance of one of their books to pull them through the turbulent times that were now upon them, and unknown to Loveday, there were many, as they were about to discover....

Having read two books (now three) by Stephanie Butland, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed, the second being 'Lost For Words', a prequel to this novel, I could not wait to get a copy of 'Found In A Bookshop'. For me, the common link between all three books from this Author, is that it is very easy to get invested in her main characters. I love Ailsa in 'The Curious Heart Of Ailsa Rae' and would love there to be a sequel. Similarly, I adore Loveday Cardew. I really am a sucker for sequels as long as they are written well, and if an Author creates a character that stays with me for months after reading, I want further installments. These two characters most certainly have, and this is indeed, a very well written sequel.

However, there were a couple of issues with which I felt a little disappointed; I think I had expected the sequel to start where the original left off. I don't read the synopsis incase it influences my review, and it being set 5 years after the end of 'Lost For Words' made me feel like I had missed out on Loveday settling into her new abode & getting the shop re-started. Also with the pandemic having been used on which to based the narrative, it was much more slower paced. It might appear that I'm pointing out the obvious here because that period of time did slow everything down, but I guess because I was reading in a post covid era, it took me a while to adjust my thinking and return to that time mentally.

I thought the way in which the Author was able to devise a new way for the shop to function was genious, as it actually worked on two levels. It fitted the narrative perfectly but also provided the reader with a wider choice of books. The books being tailored to the Lost For Words customers, also makes them very accessible to a wide number of readers which there undoubtedly are.

Helen was the customer I most identified with & I shall be looking at her suggested reads. A brilliant and inspired idea. I loved this element of the novel. I also loved the diverse characters, who's lives the storyline dipped in and out of, as it kept the narrative fresh. Each character found themselves in a different scenario, and I'm sure there will be a reader who will identify with everyone of those situations. I did though, have trouble recalling some characters that weren't mentioned frequently or who's stories weren't covered in such greater depth as others. I am a very character driven reader, and do get very invested in certain characters. They are the heart of any book for me. In this one, Zoe particularly stood out, and I was a little disappointed that after the twist in her journey occurs, she is not mentioned again until the last chapter. My favourite Lost For Words customers were George and Rosemary.

The way in which the Author leads the reader to prepare for one outcome and then introduces the curveball that now seems obvious, but I never saw coming, was breathtakingly heartbreaking & genuinely shocked me. I also thought the use of Madison, Kelly and Craig was very clever. I normally see curveballs coming, but not with this book. Lastly, 97 chapters did initially seem a little intimidating, but as the chapters are short it is a very easy read. I hope the Author might feel that there could be more scope for further insights into the world of Loveday & co, as I would love to read them. She is living in my imagination, where she is likely to remain for sometime to come.

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