Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you. Into her hiding place – the bookstore where she works – come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries. Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?
The Bottom Line: In truth, I’m not sure I got out of this book what the author intended. I completely understand Cardew as a broken, sad, individual, but not one who should ever be seen or interpreted as a survivor. In fact, I found myself, throughout this read wanting Cardew to grow up, take responsibility for herself, her life, and choices, and actively pursue some sort of help to deal with her vast issues. Simply put, Cardew isn’t a nice person, and for too many years, she has used her past as an excuse to behave abhorrently. I found it a bloody miracle there was anyone left in Cardew’s life who legitimately liked her. There certainly is a turning point, a moment when Cardew decides to change her life, but it feels, quite simply, like too little, too late.
You would think, based on the above, my star rating would be much lower. Alas, there were aspects of this book I very much enjoyed and appreciated. Namely, the actual bookshop, Archie, and Nathan. The bookshop is a cozy environment often occupied by strange and wonderful people, it is a place of refuge and wonder that has been fostered by its proprietor, Archie. Archie is, hands down the best character in this book with his booming voice, his positive attitude, his love of everything and everyone. Archie reads is a completely genuine, kind and caring individual, and for that, I truly loved his part in this book. Nathan, the close-up magician is another character who kept me turning pages. From his crazy attire to his gentle nature, I found Nathan to be a balm to the anger and awful of Cardew.
Despite how little I liked Cardew, I still liked this book. I wanted to like Cardew, feel for her, but she was simply to caustic for me to like. Fortunately, between the shop, Archie, and Nathan there was more than enough to balance out Cardew and lead me through to the very end!