The Lost Bookshop, by Evie Woods

The premise of the book is straightforward: two women, each on the run and striving to take control of their lives and both drawn in by the magic allure of the library, are dealing with their own personal life. Both struggling to confronts their past.

The story begins in London, 1921, where we meet Opaline Carlisle, who is captured by the love of books. She is compelled to flee from her brother's attempts to arrange a marriage for her and to pursue her dream of becoming a book dealer. In the present day, we follow Martha, who escapes from her violent husband and takes a job as a live-in housekeeper for the eccentric Mrs. Bowden. Both women unearth far darker secrets from their pasts.

On paper, the book seemingly has everything: an epic narrative spanning a century, positioning it close to historical fiction; a magical library-turned-bookshop reminiscent of the fantastical realms of Neil Gaiman; a love story; and a host of other challenging topics. Unfortunately, it falls short in many of these aspects.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ ?

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