Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Likely Stories : The Lost and Found Bookshop, by Susan Wiggs

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Many of my prized novels are centered around bookshops and libraries.  I thought I had a wealth of these titles, but I always seem to find other examples.  The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs invited itself into my collection. 

Natalie Harper is a businesswoman, who has been awarded a substantial bonus for landing an important client.  She is not liked by her co-workers.  When the company throws a party in her honor, Natalie is disappointed her mother did not come to the event.  Then, she learns that her mother and her fiancé were killed in a plane crash.  Suddenly, Natalie has only her grandfather and a close friend to support her.

Wiggs writes, “The front door was hung with a Closed sign and a printed announcement of the memorial.  A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF BLYTHE HARPER. // Why was it called that when the last thing a grieving daughter wanted was a celebration? // […] The Lost and Found Book Shop had been a fixture on Perdita Street for as long as Natalie had been alive. […]  The sudden demise of its owner had inspired a huge, loving, and immensely sad reaction. // (32-33)

Natalie’s love of books—as well as her mother’s legacy—led her to the failing store.  She seemed overwhelmed.  Susan wrote, “‘And then there were the books,’ [her friend], Frieda said.  ‘Even in college she had so many books that were used for furniture—step stools, benches, nightstands, shelves for other books…’ // Natalie could so easily picture that.  When she was very small, her mother used to tell her that books were alive in a special way.  Between the covers, characters were living their lives, enacting their dramas, falling in and out of love, finding trouble, working out their problems.  Even sitting closed on a shelf, a book had a life of its own.  When someone opened the book, that was when the magic happens” (42). 

My collection of this sub-genre of literature—bookshops in particular—are treasures I will always cherish.  Susan Wiggs has sent another example my way.  The Lost and Found Bookshop is highly recommended for those intrepid readers likely to succumb to a treasure-trove of fiction.  5 Stars.

Likely Stories is a production of KWBU.  I’m Jim McKeown.  Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and happy reading!

Life-long voracious reader, Jim McKeown, is an English Instructor at McLennan Community College. His "Likely Stories" book review can be heard every Thursday on KWBU-FM! Reviews include fiction, biographies, poetry and non-fiction. Join us for Likely Stories every Thursday featured during Morning Edition and All Things Considered with encore airings Saturday and Sunday during Weekend Edition.