Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Bookshop of Yesterdays (Amy Meyerson)

I have always loved books about bookshops. There's just something so cozy about curling up with one and settling into the story (see Veronica Henry's fabulous How to Find Love in a Bookshop for a great example in this sub-genre). Amy Meyerson's The Bookshop of Yesterdays does not quite give off that cozy feel. There's too much mystery and drama for that, and not all of it fits in well with the story.

Miranda Brooks is a history teacher in Philadelphia living with her boyfriend. But she grew up in California, where she spent a large amount of time in her Uncle Billy's bookshop, Prospero Books. When Miranda turns twelve, Uncle Billy has a fight with Miranda's mother, and Miranda never hears from him again. But when Billy dies many years later, he unexpectedly leaves Miranda the now-almost-bankrupt bookshop, along with a literary scavenger hunt to tell her his secrets.

Throughout the book, I didn't think the characters were fleshed out as much as I would have liked them to be (with the exception of Miranda and her mother). The ending also felt a little flat and unrealistic. And as I said, when I read a book about a bookshop, I love to get that cozy feeling, and I didn't really get that with The Bookshop of Yesterdays. However, if you like your bookshop books to have a little mystery and drama in them, you may just enjoy this one.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Behind Every Lie (Christina McDonald)

I really enjoyed Christina's McDonald's suspenseful The Night Olivia Fell, so I was excited to read Behind Every Lie. While it didn't pull me in quite as much as the other, I still couldn't wait to find out what would happen.

Eva Hansen wakes up in a hospital, having no memory of being struck by lightning. A detective is also eager to talk to her about something else that happened that same night: the murder of her mother (Kat). Eva cannot remember anything of the tragic incident, but she was found unconscious just down the street. She soon becomes the prime suspect in the case.

Eva flees to London, where her mother is from, to uncover answers to her mother's many secrets and, at the same time, to try to clear her own name. McDonald wisely tells the story in Eva's and Kat's alternating perspectives. And because Eva is suffering from memory loss, the reader finds out what really happened to her mother right when Eva does.

Just like in The Night Olivia Fell, McDonald's writing is again superb, and the story itself is filled with twists and turns. The ending fell a little flat for me, though. Also, in an effort to make the reader feel sympathy for Eva, McDonald throws everything bad she possibly can at her, which in the end, feels unrealistic. But I still love this author's work and will continue to seek it out.