July 7, 2020
Blurb: There is a book for everything . . .
Somewhere in the vast Library of the Universe, as Natalie thought of it, there was a book that embodied exactly the things she was worrying about.
In the wake of a shocking tragedy, Natalie Harper inherits her mother’s charming but financially strapped bookshop in San Francisco. She also becomes caretaker for her ailing grandfather Andrew, her only living relative—not counting her scoundrel father.
But the gruff, deeply kind Andrew has begun displaying signs of decline. Natalie thinks it’s best to move him to an assisted living facility to ensure the care he needs. To pay for it, she plans to close the bookstore and sell the derelict but valuable building on historic Perdita Street, which is in need of constant fixing. There’s only one problem–Grandpa Andrew owns the building and refuses to sell. Natalie adores her grandfather; she’ll do whatever it takes to make his final years happy. Besides, she loves the store and its books provide welcome solace for her overwhelming grief.
After she moves into the small studio apartment above the shop, Natalie carries out her grandfather’s request and hires contractor Peach Gallagher to do the necessary and ongoing repairs. His young daughter, Dorothy, also becomes a regular at the store, and she and Natalie begin reading together while Peach works.
To Natalie’s surprise, her sorrow begins to dissipate as her life becomes an unexpected journey of new connections, discoveries and revelations, from unearthing artifacts hidden in the bookshop’s walls, to discovering the truth about her family, her future, and her own heart.
It was probably fortunate that I was reading Susan Wiggs’ The Lost and Found Bookshop when I was going through my own loss. A book of lesser gravity and shallow relationships would have been a DNF because the last thing I have patience for is lack of substance when a part of my world is taken. The Lost and Found Bookshop has substance in abundance.
The Lost and Found Bookshop tells the story of Natalie Harper, her ancestors, and the history of The Lost and Found Bookshop. Natalie is reeling from the death of her beloved mother and Natalie’s boyfriend in plane crash when they were coming to see her in the wine country on her special day. She’s riddled with guilt over the fact that the man she was preparing to break up with had a ring in his pocket and was preparing to propose. At a crossroads, in a job she hates with colleagues who evidently hate her, Natalie decides to move back home to San Francisco and see if she can resuscitate the bookshop her family has nurtured and loved.
There is so much to love about The Lost and Found Bookshop that I barely know where to start. Perhaps the best place is with books and bookshops. Natalie has always wondered how her mother, Blythe, could be content running the bookshop, not traveling or getting married, but Natalie does find the answer as she becomes part of the day-to-day world of The Lost and Found Bookshop. As George R.R. Martin’s quote goes: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.” But more than that, if you happen to be the purveyor of books, you’re celebrating and sharing those lives with others, as Blythe did. You’re helping them discover new worlds.
On the topic of love, we love who we love, really love, without the boundaries of class or race, and if we’re lucky, even if others try to thwart our relationship, love will finds its way. I love the hope of that message.
While some bits of The Lost and Found Bookshop were predictable, I think they lent themselves toward the magic and charm of the novel. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a touch of magic removed our difficulties?
I also found the romance to be predictable but nonetheless satisfying. And there were no real “bad” guys in this novel (except for perhaps Natalie’s ex-work colleague). People are human with all of their good and bad sides. Nor are the “good” guys perfect, well, except for Peach who may be kind of perfect.
All in all The Lost and Found Bookshop is an emotionally satisfying read that takes on sensitive topics with grace. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an engrossing women’s fiction read.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies