The Little Shop Of Found Things (Found Things #1) by Paula Brackston
Read: 9th – 19th September 2018
My Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
So, before we get into what I thought about this book, I want you to know that I was lucky enough to be given a digital version of this book for free from the publisher (St Martin’s Press) in exchange for an honest review.
The expected publication date is 16th October 2018.
…So what’s this book about?
The Little Shop Of Found Things is the first book (approx 320 pages) in Ms Brackston’s new series The Little Shop Of Found Things. It is a beautifully written tale set in Marlborough (a town in Wiltshire, England) that spans the ages – quite literally – that would sit quite happily in the literary fiction genre while dipping its toes in the historical, ghost and time-travel genres too.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know that I don’t post spoilers or reveal plot twists in my book reviews, so here’s what the official blurb has to say about the story:
A new series about a young woman whose connection to antiques takes her on a magical adventure, reminiscent of Outlander
New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance to launch a new series guaranteed to enchant her audience even more.
Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. So when she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.
It’s while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century. And shortly after, she’s confronted by a ghost who reveals that this is where the antique has its origins. The ghost tasks Xanthe with putting right the injustice in its story to save an innocent girl’s life, or else it’ll cost her Flora’s.
While Xanthe fights to save her amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave.
With its rich historical detail, strong mother-daughter relationship, and picturesque English village, The Little Shop of Found Things is poised to be a strong start to this new series.
…So, what did I like about it?
Although historical fiction isn’t my usual choice of reading material, St Martin’s Press gave me the opportunity to read this and as I really enjoyed Ms Brackston’s The Silver Witch back in 2015 (read my review here) I thought I’d give it a try.
As before, I found myself captivated with Ms Brackston’s beautiful and descriptive use of language. The prose she uses is intelligent, eloquent and very reminiscent of a historical novel; the words chosen and the sentence formation, while still managing to set the scene beautifully in one’s mind.
I liked the way that this intriguing tale was told from Xanthe’s perspective, our heroine, and as my regular followers will know, I always enjoy a story more if the lead female character is intelligent, resourceful, resilient and has plenty of gumption; in this tale both Xanthe Westlake and her mum, Flora had these traits in spades.
I felt that the sad scenes, tense scenes, mysterious scenes and romantic ones were all written particularly well giving us a good balanced plot, with a sprinkle of humour thrown into the mix.
Although this is a work of fiction, the attention to historic detail and the care that was obviously taken when writing her characters made Ms Brackston’s world and the people in it feel very real to me. I enjoyed the fact that this foray into the past is not a rose tinted one; life was harsh and the rules of etiquette numerous. Although I feel that a bit of licence is permitted to aid a fictional tale too much can turn it into a mockery; Ms Brackston hit the right balance for me.
The Little Shop Of Found Things has made me rage with indignant frustration, put a soppy smile on my face as well as had me holding my breath, on the edge of my seat and I loved the way that the story kept me guessing in both present day Marlborough and in the 17th century.
…So, ummm, was there anything I disliked about it?
OK, so here’s when I have to be completely honest and tell you why my rating was 4 stars rather than 5.
I think that I have to recognise that my knowledge of everyday life in historical England is possibly above average (I watch a lot of documentaries) because parts of this story, e.g. some of Xanthe’s thoughts and actions during her time travelling – became a wee bit frustrating.
It’s important to remember that this is an opener to a new series, I have read reviews that complained of a slow start, the introduction of too many characters without building depth and the too subtle romance aspect of the tale but I enjoyed the gentle way in which Xanthe’s and her mum, Flora’s life to date and their personalities were revealed, how the mystery in the past and subsequent dangers gradually built and I liked that Ms Brackston left enough teasers to continue in subsequent books.
…So, basically what I’m saying is…
I really enjoyed reading this cliffhanger-free book. It has everything that I look for in a story; a good mystery, a sprinkling of romance, a nice balance of gentle humour with the added bonus of being within my favourite genre – paranormal.
I would recommend this book to fans of mystery stories, historical fiction and paranormal tales as well as readers of YA novels too as there is no explicit sexual content and only a handful of expletives, having said that, some of the beliefs, customs and laws of 17th century England may cause offense to your modern sensibilities.
So, has my review of THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS encouraged you to find out more? Just click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself or to find out more about the author. To see the other books I’ve read, take a look at my profile on Goodreads.
Oh, before I go, I just wanted to let you know that I am part of the Amazon UK Associates program. I don’t work for Amazon, I’m just a woman who loves to blog and share stuff but Amazon (and I) want make sure that you understand that the Amazon UK link that I’ve included in this post is “commercial” in nature (I get a (very) small commission if you buy the book after clicking on the Amazon UK link I posted above).