I recently read a book called The Lost and Found Bookshop, written by Susan Wiggs. My list of favorite authors is growing, and Susan Wiggs has been on that list for several years. This book, her latest, was released this summer and I knew I would love it! I love books as well as small, local bookshops, so a story centered around both would be right up my alley.
The story about Natalie and the bookshop she inherits after a family tragedy reminds me so much of a local bookstore that has been a favorite place for me. The circumstances are different, but I could easily picture the bookstore from this story in my mind.
My favorite bookstore is housed in a building that is about 100 years old and the building that houses the Lost and Found Bookshop is also historic. With old buildings come repair issues. There are a host of things wrong with the building in the book, and a handsome contractor is up to the task of tackling those repairs. During the course of the repairs, some real hidden treasures are found and it is exciting to follow along to see what happens with those treasures. In real life, my favorite bookstore had extensive smoke and water damage from a fire in an adjacent building a couple of years ago. It was closed for nearly a year while repairs were made and the owner dealt with bureaucratic runaround. I don’t think any great treasures were found during this renovation project, although how cool would that have been?
Natalie is convinced she will have to sell the struggling bookstore. Her grandfather, who owns the building and also makes his home in that building, is in failing health. She figures the only way to pay for an assisted living facility, which she feels is the best option for him, is to close the shop and sell the building. Can she convince her grandfather that selling the bookshop is the right decision? Imagine having to make a decision about whether or not to close a bookstore that has been in your family for years and years! If you own a bookstore, you probably are a lover of books, and that would be a tough decision to make.
In the story, the bookshop has been struggling to stay relevant in a time when so many people opt to buy books from online retailers. In real life, the same is true of our local bookstore. It’s easy to hop on Amazon and order up your favorite books and have them delivered quickly. Not as many people take the time to go to an actual bookstore anymore. I am guilty of this. While I love my local bookstore, and have shopped there a lot, it’s much easier to order from online sites than it is to drive into town and find a parking spot and walk to the store. However, I love browsing the store. I love looking through the shelves to find a book that I might not have found browsing online. I have been making the effort to not buy online and support my local bookstore.
While the The Lost and Found Bookshop story does not take place during a pandemic, Covid-19 has brought a whole new challenge to independent bookstores in real life. Our local store has remained closed to the public even now that restrictions have been loosened. The owner has health issues and is not willing to take any chances with her health, for now anyway. I wholeheartedly agree with her decision. Her store, her rules. We can, however, still get books from the store. We can call or email to ask if she has what we are looking for and she can order things for us. We can pay extra for her to ship, or if you are local, you can pick up your books in the alley behind the store. You just have to call the store to let them know you are in the alley, and they will bring your books out to your car. Not as fun as browsing the shelves, but still putting books in the hands of customers.
The Lost and Found Bookshop is such a great read! If you love Susan Wiggs, you’ll love this one! If you love stories about family and relationships, you’ll love this! If you love stories of hidden treasures, give it a read. If you love stories about books and small bookstores, this one is for you!
If you love books, support your local independent bookstores.