“Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she’ll never show you.

Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can’t hide any longer.

Lost for Words is a compelling, irresistible and heart-rending novel, with the emotional intensity of The Shock of the Fall and all the charm of The Little Paris Bookshop and 84 Charing Cross Road.”

Let me just say first of all that the wonderfully named Loveday Cardew is my favourite character of 2018 so far! (I’m reliably informed it’s a traditional Cornish name.)

Loveday is a 25 year old bibliophile working in a little second hand bookshop, the titular ‘Lost for Words’, in York. She has an interesting collection of literary tattoos and a nose ring, and absolutely loves working day in, day out with her beloved books. Being completely honest, she prefers books to people, except perhaps for Archie, and even then she keeps him at arms length as much as he allows. She’s quite spiky, but as we find out, with good reason.

As we meet Loveday, she has just found a poetry book on the floor near a bin. She’s fairly outraged and disappointed in the human race for discarding a book with such disregard but decides to give the reader the benefit of the doubt and assume that they might have accidentally misplaced the book. She puts a notice on the lost and found board in the bookshop, and a few days later, into her life walks Nathan Aveyard.

The story is told in several narrative strands that are labelled in a way similar to library books; Crime, Poetry and History. Each label pertains to a particular strand of the story – Loveday’s past, her previous experience with a scary ex, and her present with Nathan. This journey takes us deeper into her life experiences and gradually reveals her tragic past; the reason behind her reluctance to get into a serious relationship.

This comes to the fore as Nathan and Loveday hit it off. She finds herself falling for this poetic, gentle soul, and every step closer he gets to her, she takes one step back. She doesn’t believe she can ever make a relationship work

Archie is watching all of this from the wings. The eccentric, larger than life bookshop owner with the celebrity lifestyle and a closer eye on Loveday than she can possibly imagine. A father figure to her, she knows he cares about her, but she doesn’t really know how much he has actually done for her.

Throughout the book, Loveday grows before us, emotionally and mentally and we watch as her relationship with Nathan first grows, then falters under the weight of her past pressing down on her.

Full of quirkiness and little tips of the hat to those of us who love to read, this is a wonderfully written book with engaging and likeable characters, and some real gut-punching emotion.


Thanks to Netgalley, Bonnier Zaffre and the author for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.