Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Book: The Little Shop of Found Things (The Little Shop of Found Things 1) by Paula Brackston
Release Date: October 16th 2018
Tags: Adult / New Adult / Paranormal / Ghosts / Psychometry / Sci-Fi / Time Travel / Antique Shop / Disability / Rheumatics / Historical
Trigger Warnings: Mentioned Hangings / Mentioned Religion Prosecution
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.
When I was offered a chance to read this book for review through Netgalley I hesitated for a minute. I wasn’t sure if this was my kind of thing. I certainly wouldn’t have requested it on my own. But I am glad I gave it a chance and read it.
The Little Shop of Found Things focuses on the life of Xanthe who is a psychometrist, someone who can gain information or memories about items by touch. This doesn’t happen to her with all items but only those that are special. She has a draw to them. With her mother, Flora, Xanthe moves to a small town called Marlborough (England) to start their own antique shop. As they are searching for items for their new shop Xanthe stumbles upon such an special item. A special item that will let her experience things she hasn’t before. One of those things is time travel…
I really enjoyed the idea this book had. The idea to gain information about people through items, that through their special item ghosts they still try and communicate with us to settle things in our world. To slowly piece together what happened. To crack that mystery. This book attempted that but missed the mark in the build up and set up of the mystery in the real world. By the time we go into the past I wasn’t quite as invested in the story and mystery as I could have been. The fact is also that relatively little happens in the past as the story sidesteps a bit to romance. It had just the wrong balance for this book to really grab me.
The story is also written in a limited ominous point of view which felt a little weird at the start but once I got used to it managed to drag me into the story well enough.
As for the characters, Xanthe is pleasant to follow around but I’m not sure I have a handle on her character. She is a bit defensive because of the past she has had and as such has put up quite some walls. She is also fiercely protective of her mom who has rheumatism and uses crutches. I loved seeing their relationship. It has its ups and downs but they are there for each other. I also enjoyed seeing some of the vibrant side characters in the present time that really shaped the place of Marlborough. The past time didn’t quite have that.
Our ghost doesn’t quite get as much dimensions as is possible. I also thought that it was strange that at the start of the story the ghost specifically thinks that she can’t directly communicate with Xanthe and then later on in the story she can. That was never properly explained.
Lastly, as I mentioned the romance took a bit away from the plot in the past time. It is a bit of an instalove, and in a way forbidden for that period. While there was some chemistry I wasn’t wholly invested in their romance.
Having said all that, I am certainly interested in reading on with this series.