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!