A Celebration of Books, Bookstores, and the Meaning of Happiness
Deep into Susan Wiggs’ The Lost and Found Bookshop, a character declares: “A bookseller is the link between the stories we tell and the readers we tell them to. Without that, a story has no life outside the writer’s imagination.” Placing this credo at the center of her story, Wiggs spins a multigenerational tale of love, loss, and the essence of a life well lived, all while weaving in the magic books add to our lives.
Natalie Harper had always felt like a stranger to herself. Now she has a job she’s good at but doesn’t like in Sonoma Valley, which is nice but not home. Her life is stable, constant — just how she always wanted it. But the passion is missing.
When Natalie’s eccentric mother, Blythe, dies in an airplane crash with Natalie’s pilot boyfriend, Natalie’s world comes to a grinding halt. She returns to her family’s home on Perdita Street in the heart of San Francisco, to a building that houses both her mother’s bookstore and her family’s apartment. She must figure out not only what to do with the shop, but also how to care for Grandy, her grandfather, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.
Blythe Harper was a “book evangelist,” a “purveyor of dreams.” She’d run the Lost and Found Bookshop in the hundred-year-old Sunrose building for 33 years. The only books Blythe didn’t attend to were the financial ones; Natalie finds their debts are almost insurmountable. Her mother’s motto had been, “Leap, and the net will appear.”
To make matters worse, the building is falling apart. How can Natalie manage without selling it? But Grandy won’t hear of it — his family has lived in it for a century, and it’s the last link to his beloved daughter, Blythe, and to his memories, which are quickly fading.
When Natalie has a breakdown on the sidewalk in front of the bookshop, she’s approached by a handyman her mother had hired. Peach Gallagher is a pro at restoring old buildings, and he fast becomes a friend to Natalie and Grandy.
Read the rest of my review at The Washington Independent Review of Books.