‘The thing about books,’ she said ‘is that they help you to imagine a life bigger
and better than you could ever dream of.’
[ About The Lost Bookshop ]
On a quiet street in Dublin, a lost bookshop is waiting to be found…
For too long, Opaline, Martha and Henry have been the side characters in their own lives.
But when a vanishing bookshop casts its spell, these three unsuspecting strangers will discover that their own stories are every bit as extraordinary as the ones found in the pages of their beloved books. And by unlocking the secrets of the shelves, they find themselves transported to a world of wonder…
where nothing is as it seems.
[ My Review ]
The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods published with One More Chapter (Harper Collins) on June 22nd and is described as The Keeper of Stories meets The Lost Apothecary…evocative and charming novel full of mystery and secrets.’
I have read the charming work of Evie Woods, as Evie Gaughan, and have been totally captivated by the magic and warmth that emanates from her stories. Both The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris, set in France, and The Story Collector, set in Ireland, swept me up in their mysticism and escapism, taking me on wonderful adventures. When Evie writes about France, her storytelling is reminiscent of Joanne Harris’ Vianne Rocher novels ( Chocolat, The Lollipop Shoes, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure & The Strawberry Thief) with sweeping imagery imbued with magical realism.
In The Lost Bookshop, Evie combines France and her Irish roots into a beautifully woven tale that had me listening to Sidney Bechet and reminding me why I love his music and the gorgeous movie that is Midnight in Paris. The Lost Bookshop is a must for anyone who, like me, loves mention of the Lost Generation, Sylvia Beach and of an era when society and the arts carry a special kind of wonder and enchantment.
Martha arrives in Dublin looking for shelter, looking to escape the life she has been living. She finds work as a housekeeper for an elderly lady, with sleeping arrangements included. The anonymity of the situation suits Martha. She wants to be invisible, she seeks silence, she needs safety. As the days pass she becomes more used to her new role, servicing the demands of her new boss, and she experiences a temporary peace in the cocoon of the basement where she resides.
Henry arrives in Dublin from the UK in search of something. On the threshold of a big decision in his personal life, he needs this escape to Dublin to follow a thread, to uncover a piece of the past that he is finding challenging to get a solid hold of. Henry accidentally stumbles upon Martha. It’s very clear to Henry that Marth’s life has been difficult. She’s a fragile soul, one he is immediately drawn to for some inexplicable reason.
Opaline is about to be married off in an arranged marriage, negotiated by her over-bearing brother. Opaline covets adventure and freedom, so she decides to take a leap of faith, escaping to the streets of Paris, to a city that is overflowing with culture and artistic souls. Her head spins when she first realises the enormity of her decision, but Opaline’s determination not to return home to a life of drudgery compels her forward into an unexpected, but very welcomed, turn of events.
Martha, Henry and Opaline are oblivious to the invisible threads that bind them. As their stories unfold, we are transported back to Paris and Dublin in the 1920s and to a special bookshop that has rather extraordinary powers. Evie excels in creating escapist worlds where anything can happen, if you just believe. Not shying away from tough themes, Evie combines the hardship and reality of life with warmth and magic, creating a wonderful reading experiences that dips into the mysterious and the curious.
The Lost Bookshop is a joy to read, a seductive tale that sparks the imagination, a truly immersive and charismatic read of self-discovery and strength imbued with a sense of hope and passion.
On publication eve, Evie wrote a gorgeous blog post, Solstice, where she reflects on the journey that got her to this point, which I think really highlights the passion and the dreams of a beautiful person, both inside and out.
‘This book has my heart and soul inside of it, the sun, moon and stars. The rejection, the pain, the hurting; as well as the hope, love and wisdom I’ve gained. I’ve found it hard to let go and enjoy the moment. I realise tonight that it’s because it means so very much to me. It’s not a simple fact of raising a glass and toasting a job well done. It’s a lifetime of searching for a way to outwardly express the inner landscape of emotion through creative endeavour. It’s a jumble of heart and mind. It’s everything. And for once, I’d like to feel that. All of it.’
[ Bio ]
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.
Twitter ~ @evgaughan