BOOK REVIEW: Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

It’s time to turn the pages of her past…
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 show you.
Into her refuge- the York book emporium where she works- come a poet, a lover, a friend, and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories.
Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past and she can’t hide any longer. She must decide who around her she can trust. Can she find the courage to right a heart-breaking wrong? And will she ever find the words to tell her own story?

Publisher: Zaffre

Pages: 352

Stephanie Butland has written a marvellous book. I’ll be honest, I did not know a huge amount about it when I bought it, I was completely swayed by it being set in a book shop but once I began reading, I discovered that it was about so much more.
Loveday Cardew works for Archie in his second-hand bookshop in York. She has had a tough start in life and she doesn’t have much but she loves her job and the shop has become her place of safety; more of a home than the flat she lives in. Stephanie Butland reveals Loveday’s story gradually throughout the book; the pace was perfect. There are a fair few surprises along the way and I struggled to put it down.
Loveday’s sanctuary is threatened when she becomes aware that somebody has discovered her past. A past she does not speak of. She was just beginning to enjoy some new found confidence and the start of a new relationship when she is forced to retreat and isolate herself; it is the only defence mechanism she knows. However, Loveday has glimpsed a future for herself so maybe it is time to confront the past instead of running from it?
Loveday is one of those literary characters that you don’t forget in a hurry. She is fierce, loveable and frightened; I felt so protective of her by the end of the book. Stephanie Butland spends a large part of the book looking at Loveday’s childhood and although some of this is quite dark; it added a very nostalgic feel to the book which I very much enjoyed.
My favourite character was Archie who owns the bookshop. Slightly eccentric but so loveable ; he is a calming element in Loveday’s life and the book. The bookshop itself almost felt like a character, I loved reading about it’s layout and the customers passing through.
The author delves into several quite difficult subjects within the book and I was impressed with the sensitivity and care in her approach.
In one way, Lost for Words is a book about books and the power and influence they have in many people’s lives but it is also a book about love and hope. Stephanie Butland has written a beautiful book that I urge you to read.

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