Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Literally the Best Reviews: The Library of Lost & Found

The Library of Lost and Found - Phaedra Patrick
Park Row
352 Pages

When I find an author I like, I actively follow them, eagerly awaiting their next release. Such was the case with Phaedra Patrick and her newest release, The Library of Lost and Found. I had already reviewed The Curious Charms of Arthur Peppers. (You can read that review HERE) It took me a couple of times to read this book because the first time I got it out, I had to return it for someone else’s hold before I could finish it. It was that popular of a book at the Lockport Library.

Martha Storm is a librarian in a small town, where she seems to find more comfort in the pages of a good book rather than with other people. She has acquired her parent’s home after their deaths, having taken care of them during their health decline. Meanwhile, her sister wants Martha to get out more and keep her head out of the fantasy worlds found in all those books. 

Raised by an overbearing father who felt that fictional stories were a waste of intelligence, she bucked that while growing up by sharing stories she had written herself with her grandmother. Her father did not approve of this interaction with his mother in law, and banished her from the family. Shortly afterwards, Martha’s parents informed her that her grandmother had passed, and she never saw her again. 

Returning to modern day, Martha discovers a book that appears to have been written by her grandmother that contained all the stories that she and Martha had shared back in Martha’s childhood. Furthermore, it appeared the book had been published after Grandma Zelda’s death, and there was a possibility that she was still alive.

Martha begins to investigate the origins of this mysterious book. The search opens questions to what actually happened in her past and what secrets her family kept from her. Everything she had felt confident about suddenly is called into question. When even her sister knew parts of the secret that were withheld from her, she questions exactly what she means to the people in her life.

Phaedra Patrick weaves a tale that entices the reader to turn the pages as they work to figure out why things changed so dramatically for Martha in her childhood. The confusion felt by Martha is palpable. As a character, the read can be very sympathetic towards her. She is written as a character that you want to help feel better. She is the main character and, thus, gets most of the attention.

As for the other characters they are as much the background as the actual background. All Martha’s actions are fed off from the surroundings, both physical and human. Martha’s family, from her parents, to her sister, to her niece and nephew, are almost completely unlikable, which makes her seem that much nicer. 

This book explores the limitless imagination of a child, and how some adults can’t quite comprehend that and try to stifle that creativity. At the same time, those very adults try to set the narrative for their own lives, as well as for their children, under the guise of “It’s in your best interests.” It’s probably a story we could all relate to when we were in our teens when we thought that our parents were overbearing and restricting. Sometimes, those tendencies continued into adulthood, which is what happened to Martha. Even in death, the decisions of her parents affected her world view.

Phaedra Patrick writes an excellent novel. Both books I’ve read have been thoroughly enjoyable. Between The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper and The Library of Lost & Found was another book, which I have not read. Luckily, I am on the way to the library, so I may just pick it up. Additionally, she will have a new book published in the spring. I will be eagerly awaiting its arrival.

Craig Bacon will someday have his own book published. He’s still working diligently at it. And he has new ideas for new books in the queue.