Filled with literary references, this book will keep you guessing
A review by Shannon Fetch
“That was the thing about riddles. They were always simple. Cleverer riddles were just better at hiding their simplicity.” -Amy Myerson “The Bookshop of Yesterdays”
Amy Myerson’s debut novel, “The Bookshop of Yesterdays” follows a young woman named Miranda Brooks on a journey that reveals a history that she had no idea existed. Growing up, Miranda was very close with her uncle Billy. Named for a character from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Miranda spent a great deal of time in the stacks of Billy’s bookstore, Prospero Books, as a child and literature has always been a major part of her life. On Miranda’s twelfth birthday, she sees her mom and Billy arguing, though she doesn’t know why, and Billy disappears from her life. Sixteen years later, Miranda receives news of Billy’s death. She goes home for his funeral, and what Miranda thought would be a short trip home quickly turns into much more. Back in her hometown of Los Angeles, Miranda finds Billy has left her his bookstore, which is struggling to stay open, and one last scavenger hunt. Now a history teacher, Miranda must follow the clues left for her by Billy in order to discover the truth about her own past. The clues lead Miranda to several classic books as well as people from Billy’s life who help her uncover what happened all those years ago, and why Billy vanished from her life. As a librarian and book lover, “The Bookshop of Yesterdays” was an obvious choice for me. I checked it out from the library thinking it would be a simple, cozy read. I didn’t expect to be kept guessing at what would come next. I loved the literary references; it was fun when I realized I had read the book to which one of the clues was referring and was able to figure out an answer. This aspect of the story also helped me to expand my never-ending to be read list. I found this story to be a bit slow starting and it did take me a little bit to really get into it. Also, the big mystery of the book, the secret Miranda is trying to figure out, was fairly predictable, but it was still fun to read as Miranda tries to figure it out. When I read, I do so to escape the reality of our world and Myerson did a good job of bringing me into the world of the book. When Billy disappeared from twelve-year-old Miranda’s life and she tried so hard, yet failed to get in contact with him, I felt sad for her. When Miranda found out her family’s secret, I felt betrayed and angry for her, and I was excited when she dumped her jerk of a boyfriend and pursued the life she believed she was meant to live. All in all, this was a good read and I would definitely recommend it.
“The Bookshop of Yesterdays” is available to listen to on Hoopla with your library card number and PIN.
If you enjoyed this book, you may also like “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” and “The Bookshop on the Corner”. Similar authors include Fredrik Backman, Phaedra Patrick and Ruth Ware.