What I thought:
I was seduced into reading this book when I realised it was mainly set in a bookshop. And not only that, a higgledypiggledy secondhand bookshop in York. Being from Yorkshire, York is one of my favourite places to visit and I could quite happily lose myself in bookshops like that for hours (in fact, I imagined it to be a little bit like one near the cathedral that I love going in for its quirkiness).
Aside from the setting, I very quickly fell in love with the protagonist, Loveday Cardew. Prickly, feisty and sarcastic, she had me laughing out loud at several of her one-liners. She basically says and does the things that many of us wish we could, without being concerned with what people might think about her. But Loveday didn’t start out this way. Flipping between her childhood and present day, we learn that before the “incident” there was quite a different Loveday. As we get to know her better, we also learn the reasons that she has become the way she is now. Loveday was one of several characters in this book that I found incredibly endearing. Archie, the bookshop owner, is a delight, as is his warmth towards Loveday. Nathan, Poet and wearer of cravats, is also a wonderful character.
This is a story about hurt and self-preservation but above all else love, and how to let it back into your life. There is a little mystery running through the book too, as boxes of books that Loveday recognises from her childhood begin arriving in the shop but this is more a vehicle for allowing us to see into Loveday’s past as she reminisces.
Quirky and touching and Loveday is such a fabulous character, I think she will be with me for a while yet.