24th November, 2021

Review: The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams by Mindy Thompson (Viking)

If you are looking for a magical read that is going to touch you deeply, look no further because this book has got you covered. 

It's 1944 Sutton, NY, and Poppy's family owns and runs, Rhyme and Reason, a magical bookshop that caters to people from all different places and time periods. Though her family's world is ravaged by World War II, their customers hail from their past and their future, infusing the shop with a delightful mix of ideas and experiences. The shop runs on a set of rules handed down from one generation of bookseller to the next, with their cardinal rule their most strict: shopkeepers must never use the magic for themselves.

But then Poppy's brother's best friend is killed in the war and her brother wants to use the magic to save him. Young Poppy is caught between her love for her brother and loyalty to her family, all the while knowing that her brother's actions could have devastating consequences that reach far beyond the bookshop, feeding an insidious, growing darkness.

The setting of Thompson's novel is magical in itself. I immediately fell in love with "Rhyme and Reason" and its idiosyncrasies. The descriptions of the bookshop simply gave me warm and fuzzy feelings and I wish places like these actually existed. 

The characters were lovely. Poppy is fierce and strong, even if she doesn't know that at first. The conflicts she and her brother are going through were convincingly drawn and even though Al's reaction might seem a big strong at first, there is an explanation later on that worked for me. The most interesting characters besides the protagonist, however, are the shop's regulars. I loved Bibine and her grandchildren, and I found myself particularly fond of apprentice courier Ollie. 

In essence, this is a story about darkness and light, about good and evil and about the things we do out of grief. It is a tale about overcoming adversity and doing everything we can for the ones we love. And last but not least, it's a story about the power of stories and about the narratives that make up our lives. It's the perfect book to curl up with this winter. 

Rating: 5/5 stars

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All texts and photographs are mine, unless indicated otherwise.