The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods

The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods is a delightful and enchanting read that will appeal to fans of historical fiction and books about books. The novel weaves together the stories of three POVs, across timelines

Opaline, is a fiercely independent young woman who escapes an arranged marriage in 1920.  She travels throughout Europe as a book merchant, pursuing her passion for rare books. Then, in current times, after fleeing her abusive marriage, Martha, who moves to Dublin after fleeing an abusive marriage, and Henry, an academic, travel to Dublin, searching for a mystical bookshop and a mysterious manuscript.

The Lost Bookshop Evie Woods Henry and Martha’s paths cross, and they become friends, and together they learn as much as they can about Opaline, this enigmatic woman who seems to be connected to both.

Woods creates a captivating and immersive world that celebrates the power of imagination, the beauty of literature, and the joy of finding one’s true self. The plot is complex, detailed, and full of surprises, twists, and turns. The writing is atmospheric, with vivid descriptions and entertaining dialogue. The novel also explores themes such as love, friendship, family, identity, courage, and destiny.

It took me a good couple of chapters to get into this book (as it always does with multiple POVs).  I did appreciate the element of magic realism and the concept of a magical bookshop, and I found Opaline’s character to be fascinating.  The literary references and encounters with renowned authors also authentically elevate this charming story.  It is not always a light and effortless read; the author also addresses topics like abuse.  It did leave me with some unanswered questions, but in general, this was a delightful read!

And one of my most quotable reads this year.

Thanks to Exclusive Books for the opportunity to read this book.

The Lost Bookshop Evie Woods This book in quotes:

  • “Lost is not a hopeless place to be. It is a place of patience, of waiting. Lost does not mean gone for ever. Lost is a bridge between worlds, where the pain of our past can be transformed into power. You have always held the key to this special place, but now you are ready to unlock the door.”
  • “I couldn’t explain it, not even to myself, but books gave me an unflinching sense of stability and groundedness. That because words survived, somehow I would too.”
  • “No one is coming to save you. People don’t suddenly change, say they’re sorry and begin to treat you with respect. They are a jumble of hurt and pain and they will take it out on whomever they can.”
  • “I didn’t want to push, and sometimes found that if you gave people enough space, they would say the words that haunted them from within.”
  • “The familiar feeling of excitement and curiosity I always had looking in the window of a bookshop pricked my skin. Don’t buy anything, I warned myself, as I craned my neck to look inside.”
  • “Listen to me, Martha – if you’re not scared, then you’re not living.”
  • “The thing about books,’ she said, ‘is that they help you to imagine a life bigger and better than you could ever dream of.”
  • “If you tilt your head,’ he told me once, ‘you can hear the older books whispering their secrets.”
  • “Good enough for whom? For people who are trapped in a life that is not of their own making? Surely you can see that they merely want you to be trapped with them, so they will feel less alone in their emptiness. Be careful, Martha, you’ll become blind to your own value if you keep looking through the eyes of the bourgeoisie!”
  • “Before you set out on a journey of revenge, you must dig two graves,”
  • “He always said that books were more than words on paper; they were portals to other places, other lives.”
  • “Hope’ is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all –”
  • “A good story always begins with tea.”
  • “Unlike the movies, you don’t just leave your home, your marriage and everything you knew and simply start a new life. There is a bit in between where you’re just breathing – like a drowning man who clings to a rock. You know you’re alive, you can move, even speak, but something is missing.”
  • “Grief is a constant companion, is it not?”
  • “All I know is that I feel so angry with myself all the time. Like I’ll never be good enough for them, so why even try?’ ‘Good enough for whom? For people who are trapped in a life that is not of their own making? Surely you can see that they merely want you to be trapped with them, so they will feel less alone in their emptiness.”
  • “You have to understand, old houses have their quirks. Some things are meant to be flawed. Therein lies beauty.”

About this book:

Exclusive Books – The Lost Bookshop

PUBLISHED BY: HarperCollins Publishers
EAN:  9780008609214

About the author:

“Evie Woods is the pseudonym of Evie Gaughan, bestselling author of The Story Collector, The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris. Living on the West Coast of Ireland, Evie escapes the inclement weather by writing her stories in a converted attic, where she dreams of underfloor heating. Her books tread the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, revealing the magic that exists in our ordinary lives.” (from Goodreads)