REVIEW: The Bookshop Girl by Sylvia Bishop
A whimsical delight, crafted with quirkiness and a touch of classic charm
The Joneses have just won the Great Montgomery Book Emporium in a contest, and it’s every book lover’s dream! The pull of a lever calls forth a room full of marvelous wonders—from the Room of Woodland tales with its squirrels and mice, to the rocket ship in the Room of Space Adventures, and the aquarium ceiling in the Room of Ocean Tales.
But there is more to the Emporium than its thousands of books in extravagant displays. In fact, the previous owner is hiding something that could destroy absolutely everything for the Joneses.
Property Jones has a whopper of a secret too—and it might just be the key to saving her family and their bookshop from the clutches of a nasty villain.
Sylvia Bishop’s exceptional and fantastical U.S. debut features a cast of memorable, quirky characters, including the resourceful Property Jones herself and her cantankerous kitten side-kick, beautiful descriptions of the tactile pleasures of books, and the magical transporting quality bookstores can have for readers.
Dear Ms. Bishop,
What a scrumptiously adorable story. Abandoned Property Jones (her adopted brother Michael, not knowing what to do with a five year old, had stuck her in his mother’s lost property cabinet) becomes part of the family of bookstore owner Netty Jones and her young son. When they are picked to win an amazing raffle and get the world’s most amazing bookstore – for free! – they can’t believe their luck.
“An Object of Wonder” the Great Montgomery Book Emporium is the most wonderful – well, there’s no other word that fits it – bookstore ever. With hundreds of specialized rooms decorated according to the books kept there. Go to the “Room of Space Adventures” and see a room “painted all over in deep indigo, speckled with twinkling lights. The books were hanging from fine threads, so that they almost seemed to be floating in midair.” Then pull a lever and the room is replaced by an equally fantastic one. Not only is it a bookstore, it’s a mechanical bookstore. The Joneses are in blissful heaven – all this and it’s theirs.
Or is it? Soon a dangerous villain appears, bent on taking it all away. Unless Property can figure out just what it is about him that niggles a faint question in her mind. There’s something about him and if she can figure it out – along with the help of her new and very fierce gray kitten Gunther – maybe Property – despite her long held secret – can save the day. And the bookstore!
Well, I know that I want to visit the Great Montgomery Book Emporium. What reader wouldn’t? I love that young Property, a girl who observes everything, is the key to thwarting a villain and gets to be the heroine. The unconditional love of the Joneses is heartening too. I already have a fierce gray cat but I’m giving Gunther a home in my imagination. A-