Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people–though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her superhero-themed notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she’s invisible. All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend–her grandmother Zelda–who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever. Filled with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and vivid characters, The Library of Lost and Found is a heartwarming and poignant tale of how one woman must take control of her destiny to write her own happy ending.
Martha Storm’s life isn’t exciting nor is it all enviable. In fact, most of the people in Martha’s life do one of two things, use her or pity her; worst of all are those who both use and pity Martha. While some of the circumstances of Martha’s life are not of her own making or choosing, she has left other circumstances get out of hand which has led her to a most unhappy and unenviable place.
As a child, Martha was keenly aware of her ultra-controlling feelings towards her and they were, at best, tolerant. Martha was also keenly aware of her mother’s absolute inability to stand up to her father, think, and/or live for herself. Finally, Martha was keenly aware that the only member of her family who truly appreciated, loved, and encouraged her was her beloved grandmother, Zelda. Unlike everyone else in her life, Zelda fosters Martha’s creativity, she supports her imagination, and encourages her general zest for life. Right up until Zelda suddenly dies, Martha is certain she will make it through her childhood and her life.
From the moment Zelda exited Martha’s life, nothing seems to go to plan. Though Martha works towards her goals, there always seems to be an impediment. For example, just as her love life appeared settled and set, Martha’s parents took a turn for the worse and her mother begged Martha to care for them . . . . 10 long years later, Martha has essentially given up on every dream and goal she ever felt dear. She has no love life, her parents are gone, her job at the library, though she loves it isn’t going anywhere, and she has a serious need to please others at her own expense.
And then, one day, a book from her childhood comes back into her life and changes absolutely everything in Martha’s life.
From the moment Martha discovers the book her life takes a path she never could have conceived of. In the process, Martha doesn’t just discover the truth of her past, but also of her present and her future. Martha begins her adventure by learning to stand up for herself, asserting herself, and slowly but surely discovering she indeed matters and what she wants and needs from her life is just as important as what everyone else wants and needs from their own lives. The discoveries Martha makes on her journey are often painful, but once she is able to see beyond the pain, she is able to see her life from an entirely new perspective and in a far more positive light.
The Bottom Line: I can’t say I loved this book, but I think, based on the Goodreads rating, I enjoyed it far more than most. In large part, I enjoyed the total transformation Martha Storm goes through; in fact, this is one of the best character evolution books I’ve read in quite some time. In the beginning, Martha is a thoroughly disagreeable character and then that book comes into her possession and the switch flips! Martha taking control of her life, overcoming her insecurities, and finding the person she had so much promise of becoming as a child is truly entertaining. The cherry on top of the character evolution had to be the change in the others around Martha following her own transformation. The moment Martha begins to respect herself the pity and the using stop and that is a beautiful thing. Though I think this book may be a bit of a rough read for some, I found it to be totally worth the time and effort especially if you are particularly interested in total character transformation.