Friday, April 5, 2019

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

I was pretty excited to get my hands on this novel. I'm always geared up to read about libraries, bookstores...anything to do with books. This was a gentle novel that I'm glad I read before I dip into The Trial of Lizzie Borden. I needed a little light before I hit the heavy. 

Martha is a middle-aged librarian in a small English town near the sea. She lives alone after caring for her aging parents for years. In caring for them, she lost her chance at marriage and having a family of her own. She's always saying yes to people who ask her for favors. So much so that her home is filled with all sorts of projects she's taken on  and never seems to complete: hemming pants, fixing a paper mache dragon; and yes, even doing someone's laundry. Add to that all the boxes of her parent's belongings that she still needs to sort through. All that clutter has cluttered her mind. The man who runs her library (from an office in a neighboring town) has turned her down multiple times for a full-time position at the library, saying she just doesn't have the drive and skills a younger person could bring to the library. No matter that she's passionate about the people, the library, and it's her absolute love. She's got oodles of ideas to make improvements, but she never gets the chance. 

Martha thinks her Nana died in 1982, but she finds a book on the steps of the library that changes her entire life. It's a book of fairy tales-her fairy tales. She wrote most of them (others were stories her Mother told her) as a young girl, yet here they are in a book, with a note to her from her Nana dated 1985. How can that be, if her Nana died in 1982? And why does her sister Lilly tell her to leave it alone and forget about it?

Martha digs a bit deeper, and in doing so, her life changes dramatically. There are some big growing pains, some truths to absorb, and some anger to work through. All of this forces Martha to take a look at her life, and decide she needs to focus on herself, and what she wants. No more saying yes to everyone else. 

I don't want to give any of the story away, so you can discover for yourself the secrets Martha uncovers. It was a pleasure to watch Martha's character grow a spine, get pissed, and take some action. It is never too late to change your life, live for yourself, and do what makes you happy. And if you're a person who feels like you have to say yes to everyone, STOP IT. 

Rating: 4/6 for an entertaining novel about a woman who finally stops putting others before herself, discovers a few truths that change her perspective, and redefines what family means. Anyone who loves stories that focus on books, libraries, and the absolute joy of reading will connect with this sweet tale. 

Available in hardcover, large print, audio, and ebook. 


  1. I want to read this book, thanks for posting about it. Libraries (I am a retired librarian), older woman, family mystery. It all sounds good.

  2. February was a funky month in terms of reading for me! I dnf'd 3 books in a row and to make matters more interesting, I was out of town the entire month of March visiting family... which meant less time for reading overall for me. I love my family very much and had a lovely time visiting with them, but I'm use to more alone time spent reading. Thank goodness March was a better month in terms of reaching my reading goals. :-)