Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay

Title: The Secret of Lost Things
Author: Sheridan Hay
# pages: 349
Date published: 2007
Genre: fiction
Challenge(s): Spring Reading Thing 2008

Setting: Tasmania (briefly), Manhattan

First Sentence:

“I was born before this story starts, before I dreamed of such a place as the Arcade, before I imagined men like Walter Geist existed outside of fables, outside of fairy tales.”

Synopsis from Barnes & Eighteen years old and completely alone, Rosemary arrives in New York from Tasmania with little other than her love of books and an eagerness to explore the city. Taking a job at a vast, chaotic emporium of used and rare books called the Arcade, she knows she has found a home. But when Rosemary reads a letter from someone seeking to “place” a lost manuscript by Herman Melville, the bookstore erupts with simmering ambitions and rivalries. Including actual correspondence by Melville, The Secret of Lost Things is at once a literary adventure and evocative portrait of a young woman making a life for herself in the city.

Reason for Reading: St. Pete book club’s April 2008 pick.

Random Thoughts: The Arcade is fashioned after the Strand bookstore on 12th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. With over 55,000 square feet of books, the Strand is just as dusty and packed as Hay’s Arcade. Once one of 48 bookstores in Manhattan’s Book Row, today the Strand is the only one left. The language Hay uses transported me back to the days I spent roaming in the city and in the Strand.

Unfortunately, Hay’s main character started to drive me nuts by the end of the book. I really just wanted to shake her. Some strange, distasteful, and, I thought, unnecessary events toward the end of the book really turned me off. Too bad, it started with such promise.

Rating: 2.5 (Okay)

Also reviewed by:
Foreign Circus Library
Booking Mama


alisonwonderland said...

the title sounds intriguing - but i guess i won't bother. thanks for the review!

Kristi said...

You're welcome, alisonwonderland (love the name ;>)). Sorry to say, it wasn't my favorite. Oh well, we all can't like all of them ;>). Happy reading! ~Kristi

Valerie said...

Read your review on LT after writing my own. I totally agree with you about the main character, Rosemary. This book had such promise at the beginning.

Enjoy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The sequel arrives in the US next week!