EXCERPT: Xanthe shook her head, refusing to let her own experiences hold her back. She was not here for herself. Someone was calling her. Someone else was trapped and afraid. Aside from her own memories, she could feel another level of anxiety. One that was connected to the antique silver in her hands. Was the fear that she was experiencing that of whomever had owned the chatelaine, or her own nervousness at what might be shown to her? At what she might be made to feel and experience? Or at her reluctance to meet again that malevolent presence that had so scared her the time before? And then, as she hesitated, she heard a voice, as clearly as if someone had been standing right in front of her. It was a young woman’s voice, and it was taut with emotion.
“Help me!” she begged. “Oh, please, help me!”
ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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.
MY THOUGHTS: I don’t know quite what I expected from this book, but I didn’t get it. I thought the premise held so much potential that failed to be delivered, and I struggled to finish the read. I simply did not feel the magic.
I thought the writing was heavy-handed. The author belabored points, telling us the same thing several times to the point where I felt that I was being hit with a piece of 4 x 2! (Yes, I actually got a headache reading this book!) One example is ‘The contrast between the world’s workaday activity, her own problems with money, her mother’s poor health, her time-traveling, and being haunted by a desperate ghost made her feel dizzy. Made her feel disconnected from the solid, sensible, non-time-traveling folk of Marlborough. Made her feel more than a little bit as if she were losing her mind.’
And the questions! The book is full of questions!
I really did not connect at all to any of the characters, found the plot slow, and can find little to recommend except for the very pretty cover, and that the book talks about the debilitating effects and pain of arthritis, not something we hear much about, not a ‘glamour’ affliction, but one that is very real to many. I am sorry that I failed to find the magic in this read, and I won’t be following through on this series.
I understand that reading is an entirely subjective experience and that, while this book wasn’t one I enjoyed, you may well love it. So if the excerpt piques your interest and you like the sound of the plot synopsis, please get a copy and read it.
THE AUTHOR: Paula Brackston (aka PJ Brackston)is the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter, The Winter Witch, and The Midnight Witch(2014).
Paula has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. In 2007 Paula was short listed in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book ‘Nutters’ (writing as PJ Davy) was short listed for the Mind Book Award, and she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to St Martin’s Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2389811480