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March 26, 2019
Martha Storm has been a “giver” for as long as she can remember. She spent 20 years looking after her parents as they aged, she’s a volunteer at her local library, she helps her sister with childcare and household tasks, and she is constantly helping out neighbors with odd jobs and repairs—all without pay, and often without thanks. Her identity has become helping others, and, because of that, she feels invisible and lost.
So when a stranger leaves a beautiful book of stories for her at the library, she doesn’t quite know how to handle it—especially when she reads through the book and realizes that the stories are familiar to her. Most she wrote herself, but also included are some written by her mother and her long-passed grandmother, Zelda. After some new friends help Martha track down the book’s publisher, Martha is shocked to discover that her beloved Nana—her best friend and only ally during childhood—may not only be the editor…she may still be alive. The events that follow force Martha to reevaluate her life, to revisit her past, and then begin the journey toward a very different future, one where she finds her voice and finally starts living for herself.
As she read, she felt she was giving this story a new life of its own. It was no longer a reflection of her childhood and whatever happened within the Storm family. It was just a story, to be shared and enjoyed.Phaedra Patrick, The Library of Lost and Found
The Library of Lost and Found gets off to a slow start. I seriously considered putting the book down for the first 50 pages, mostly because Martha is so spineless that I had trouble fully believing or investing in the story. But I’m so, so glad I didn’t give up. Though I do think the “mystery” of Martha’s grandmother is dragged out way too long, once the story picks up, there’s no putting it down.
By far, my favorite thing about this book are the characters. Zelda is eccentric and fun, and her wackiness keeps things at least somewhat unpredictable. She’s a good foil for Martha’s tight-laced father and timid mother (for those chapters told in the past). Suki, Martha’s quirky and good-natured coworker at the library, adds some levity, as well. Mostly, though, I just enjoyed watching Martha come out of her shell in such a lovely and authentic way. It is so easy to empathize with and root for her. Seeing her relationship with Owen develop adds another sweet and satisfying layer, and I love how the book concludes.
So this ended up being a really charming read. I’m glad I stuck with it.
Thank you to Amazon Vine and Park Row for the ARC!