Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Book Review: The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: The Little Shop of Found Things
Author: Paula Brackston
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: Hardcover; 307
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Source: NetGalley / Publisher
Genre: Historical Fiction

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy more of a cozy historical fiction feeling.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
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.

I'm still dabbling in Historical Fiction because, I'll freely admit, it's a genre that intimidates me. It might be irrational, but when I don't know much about the time period the book is set in I get anxious. I'm worried that I'll be lost. So when I started The Little Shop of Found Things, and found myself in the tiny town of Marlborough, I was utterly enchanted. Xanthe and her mother immediately felt like home. The people she met in town felt like family. Brackston made me feel like this was a story I belonged in, and it was wonderful.

Granted, this was all before Xanthe actually sent off on her historical adventure.  However, even when she did find the chatelaine and discover she could travel back in time, I never had a moment where I felt out of place. This story makes it easy to follow along, no matter how much you know about the 1600's. Xanthe's character is sweet, but determined. She's someone who you would follow forever. It helped that Brackston puts all manner of intriguing people in Xanthe's path as she navigates the 1605 version of her new home. The fact that there was also no heavy romance present, but simply the sweet outline of one, made me smile. I won't spoil, but Samuel Appleby is definitely one of my favorite people in this book.

In terms of pacing, this story does an excellent job of gently leading the reader by the hand. There's no hurry, but neither did I ever feel like things were dragging. Xanthe spends just enough time in each location to make it feel realistic. I loved how she consistently had to remind herself of what a person of her standing would say, and do, in that time period. It felt like Brackston had a lot of fun fitting Xanthe's fiery personality into an older world where women were better seen and not heard. It made this a lot of fun to read.

Rambling aside, I'll simply say that this book was a treat. I wasn't expecting to love it, and yet the story was so easy to get lost in that I soon found I couldn't stop reading. Accessible historical fiction like this, stories that reach out and pull you in, is exactly what I've been looking for. I'm so pleased that I discovered The Little Shop of Found Things.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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