It’s funny how you get drawn to certain books. After reading ‘The Keeper of Lost Things’ by Ruth Hogan, I was drawn to ‘The Library of the Lost and Found’ by Phaedra Patrick, because the cover looked similar. How strange, you might think.
Martha Storm, the main protagonist, is a bit of a loner and volunteers at her local library. She is asked to do favours such as washing clothes or darning holes, by some of the library’s regulars and never says no to anyone. Her story is a sad one; not having a husband or children because she was her parents’ main carer until they died. She had a fiancé when she was younger but he moved away and their relationship ended. Martha keeps herself to herself and puts her everything into her volunteering as she loves being around books.
One day, a book of short stories is left for Martha with a personalised inscription from her grandmother, Zelda, who, according to her parents, died in 1982. She was very close to her eccentric grandmother and was devastated to learn she had died. Now, years later, there’s a hope that she might be alive so Martha enlists the help of another book enthusiast to help unravel the mystery surrounding the book, giving her a renewed sense of purpose and excitement.
I really identified with Martha and her love of books. There’s nowhere better to find solace than in a good book. I also know what it’s like to lose a grandmother you’re really close to. I was at a loss when my Nan died a few years ago and the pain doesn’t ever really go away. As my Nan always used to encourage me, so does Zelda to Martha. Zelda always wants the best for Martha and encourages her to get out of her comfort zone (reading a story she’d written to a crowd at a football stadium!) which you can see her embracing towards the end of the novel.
The characters are all so well described that you get a vivid picture in your mind. It’s like you get to know them and end up rooting for them too.
This was such a well crafted and lovely story. Great for bedtime reading and guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face.