Monday, 27 November 2017

Emma's Review: Lucy's Book Club for the Lost and Found by Emma Davies

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Sometimes you’ve got to run away to find yourself… 

Twenty-four-year-old Lucy needs a fresh start. Forever single and frustrated with her studies she gives up everything to run a little library in the leafy village of Tilley Moreton. 

Lucy loves reading almost as much as she loves fixing other people’s problems, so starting a book club seems like the perfect opportunity to do both. As she meets her new members, it’s clear she’s going to have her work cut out for her. Handsome but silent Callum is the biggest puzzle of them all... 

But Lucy’s meddling begins to cause more problems than it solves, and no one is more surprised than Lucy when Callum steps in to help. Could there be more to him than people think? 

As Callum and Lucy start working together to fix the broken hearts of the library’s most loyal customers, the first sparks of romance begin to fly.

Can they right all the trouble Lucy has created, and might there be a chance for a happy ending of their own?

Amazon Affiliate Link: Kindle 

Many thanks to Bookouture via NetGalley for my copy of Lucy's Bookclub for  the Lost and Found to review and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.

For those of you who have never read a book by Emma Davies, then you are seriously missing out on a ridiculously good author. I have loved all her books, my favourite so far being the festive novella and first part in the Appleyard series, Merry Mistletoe. I was delighted to see a few months ago that Emma had secured a publishing deal with Bookouture, a publisher renowned for the range and diversity of brilliant books they bring to us each year, and that her writing would now reach a much bigger audience as such excellent and wonderful writing deserves to be brought to the attention of as many readers as possible.

The fact that books featured in the title meant that straight away once again Emma Davies was onto a winner for me. But what surprised me the more I became engaged in the story was the depth of emotion throughout and the fact I felt Emma had really stepped her writing up another gear. As in the fact there were so many lines I wanted to write down and treasure because they resonated so much with me and she summed up how I feel about certain stages in life far better than I ever could. At times I felt she took the sentiments and thoughts right from my head and crafted the words together so beautifully on the page. Lucy's Book for the Lost and Found was an excellent read in which I loved every minute of the time I spent with Lucy and the friends she makes through her book club.

Lucy works as a librarian, she is one of those people who is always pleasant and never angry or irritated with people. She enjoys her job but is aware the library is seriously short staffed and that cuts are on the way. Yet her love for books and for interacting with people will never abate and she does her best to make the library a place where people can come to read and relax, to use the computers or simply just to meet up. It's a place that offers comfort ad warmth for keen readers or simply people who feel a bit lonely. That's where her book club comes in, she wants to share her love of books as well as encouraging people to interact and get away from things for awhile. Lucy had the best can do attitude, nothing seemed to ever get her down, she was always on the go helping people but it never felt like she was interfering. It was more like she could never rest and was happiest doing something for others. She saw little connections that needed to be made in order for problems to be solved and she nudged people in the right direction even if they didn't actually realise that was the way they needed to go. Lucy created a lovely, warm inviting atmosphere at the library and the fact she knew its days may be numbered, or severe cutbacks could be on the way, meant she just gave it her all whilst along the way harbouring her own little ambition. An ambition she really doubts she can fulfil but perhaps the friends she makes and people she helps will give her enough fuel for her dream to become a reality once she can push aside the doubt that niggles away at her. Lucy certainly was a person who didn't realise the strength of her own character and personality and the way she can make situations work to the best advantage of everybody. Throughout the story I really felt she was the glue that held everybody together.

For Odelia, Lia, reading is her sanity given the constant strain she is under caring for her mother Rose who is suffering from Alzheimers. Yes carer Gwen comes in daily but the brunt of the care and attention falls to Lia and the stress and strain is being to show. Coming to the book club gives her the rare chance to get way from it all and take some precious little time for herself. I totally identified with what Lia was going through. That you do your best for your loved one no matter what the situation is and no matter how wearing it can be on you but at some point you need to step back and take that little bit of time for you personally or else you will be no good to anyone. Thanks to an ingenious little bit of work/research from Lucy, Lia finds herself in a dancing class. Dancing had been her mother's passion, and Lia's secret ambition, but as she feels chained to her circumstances how could her dream become a reality. Thanks to fellow book club member Hattie accompanying her, Lia embarks on a journey that will change and enhance her life forever but not without plenty of emotions and happy and sad times along the way filled with love, laughter and tears.

Hattie is a single mother who loves reading but can't get out that much. Now that her daughter Poppy has started school Hattie grabs the chance to meet new people. Hattie became firm friends with Lia and in a way they needed each other without even realising it. Hattie had her own personal issues to deal with in particular the relationship with her mother. Without going into detail I could safely say that Hattie's mother was just abhorant. A mother is supposed to love their daughter, be there for her at every juncture in their life and offer kind, loving words and poor Hattie wasn't receiving any of the above mentioned characteristics. I felt deeply sorry for her and was glad she had the book club to help her take her mind off things. Yet the reader could see she was hurting deeply and I wouldn't have thought resentment and distrust was far from her mind. Hattie's strand of the story perhaps turned out to be the most bittersweet.

The last two members of the book club were Callum, who comes from a notorious family but he couldn't be more different from his relations. He spends his days on the library computers and develops quite a friendship with someone. Callum needs confidence above all else and maybe Lucy and her clever ways can help him out. As for library regular Oscar, a widower in his 70's, who enjoys the comforts and company the library offers, just what is eating away at him? With the help of Lucy and Callum, his story is brought to light and hopefully a satisfactory ending can be found in the most unexpected of ways.

Admittedly, there wasn't too much of a focus on the book club, as in the titles featured or further  book discussions, but it didn't really matter as this was more about the power of love and friendship and how people can support and encourage each other in their ambitions. Or to share a problem and confidants can help solve it. Lucy's aim with working at the library was that it would only ever be a temporary measure but now it feels as if she has come home as if the books were kindred spirits. Lucy wants to help everybody just like the heroines in books do 'Everything happens for a reason, and maybe if you give them a healing hand somewhere along the line, they'll help you out too, give you something back in return that perhaps you never knew you needed'. That's what exactly Lucy did throughout this book and in doing she she got the push she needed to kick-start her own long held desire.

Lucy had such a way of making people open up to her and share their stories and burdens and the fact she dealt with what she heard so well and tried to give people a better life was only to be admired. Lucy made both the characters and the reader understand that family, love, honesty, friendship and integrity are the most valuable, important things in life. These lines regrading Lucy's opinion of grief were perhaps the most powerful throughout the book and they offered great comfort and solace to me 'Grief was love, that much Lucy recognised. A deep and abiding love that had suddenly found itself homeless, the object of its affection gone, leaving it behind, lingering like a lost spirit. It was a love that would change time if it could, but sentenced now only to travel back and forth throughout the memories that sustained it'.

Without doubt Lucy's Book Club for the Lost and Found is the perfect addition to the catalogue of Emma Davies. It was evident Emma was really enjoying the writing as all the characters were so perfectly crafted but most of all Lucy. She was just so perfectly written when she could have been very OTT. Such care and attention was given to every aspect of the book. The reader gets a lot more than one would normally expect from some women's fictions books and soon all the members of the book club feel like firm friends and you are deeply invested in their problems and wish nothing but a positive, successful outcome for all. This is an uplifting, captivating read with such compelling writing that transports you easily to the heart of the story. It provided comfort and escape at a time of year when you may need it the most and has certainly made me eager to see what Emma Davies has next in store for readers old and new. Definitely one not to be missed.

All book titles in bold are Amazon UK Affiliate links which will earn me a few pence if anyone clicks through and makes a purchase - any money earned will go towards buying books or gifts for giveaways.

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