Ellen’s Pick of the Week: The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

Martha had a full and busy life volunteering at the seaside village’s library and helping her friends and family out by doing the chores they had no time to do— laundry, mending their clothes and watching sister’s kids and much more. She never said no to a request for a favor even though her house was quite full of unfinished favors. She never said no until one day at the library when everything was going wrong and, to make matters worse, the patrons laughed at her humiliation. She stood up and walked out and nothing was ever the same for her.

Set in a small English village near the sea, this story of Martha Storm rediscovering her authentic self was a warm and sweet read. We learn that her younger sister Lilian had been the favorite daughter of their cruel father and that her mother also was a long-suffering victim of his anger. As a child, Martha had spent hours writing fairy tales to escape the tough reality of her life and her beloved Nana took her regularly to the library to read the fiction books her father forbade in their home.

The turning point in Martha’s  life comes when a small book is left at her home by the local bookseller. The book was dedicated to Martha and signed by her Nana three years earlier. Except, her Nana had died more than 20 years earlier. Martha sets out to solve the mystery of this book and in her search, finds herself again.

Books have always been my way to escape my world,  to meet new people, visit new places and learn new things. The little town where I grew up didn’t have a bookstore, but it did have a Carnegie Library,  and it was my second home. The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick is a celebration of books and reading and of finding your true self. It is filled with quirky characters and long-held family secrets. It is a prime example of  ‘Up Lit” because you’ll turn the last page and feel reassured that there are good people in the world and feel hopeful again. Highly recommended.

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