Paula Brackston has been a favorite writer of mine for a while now. I have read almost all of her ‘witch’ novels and I love them! She has such a nice voice in her stories and I love the mixture of magic and realism.
When this book came up for review, I was so excited to read it. I loved the cover and the title so much. It looked like something that I was going to be an instant favorite in my magical realism category.
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.
With its rich historical detail, strong mother-daughter relationship, and picturesque English village, The Little Shop of Found Things is poised to be a strong start to this new series (summary from Goodreads).
This book has been marketed to fans of Outlander and I can see why. Romance and time travel in an English village. But I don’t know that this is an ‘epic’ in the way that Outlander is. Though if you love Outlander (like me) then you will find lot to love in this book.
There is a lot of mystery, magic, and romance in this book and I absolutely loved watching those three elements come together. Xanthe, the protagonist, has the ability to ‘read’ objects in her antique shop and I thought that was an interesting aspect of this novel. I always wonder what stories antiques could tell and this novel explores just that and for that reason alone I was compelled to read this book!
Xanthe and her mother are quite close and while that was a nice touch in this book, for me it wasn’t necessary. I personally wanted the book to focus just on the romance and magic rather than having this mother/daughter relationship but in the end it worked nicely and was fine, just my preference would have been just the romance.
I thought the story itself was enchanting and exactly what I needed during the late fall nights. It was a fun read and I was thrilled to see that this is going to be a series. There was plenty of romance, history, and magic, as well as some mystery to keep readers engaged and excited to pick up the book and start reading whenever they have a minute to spare. I loved the characters and the plot, and the chemistry between Xanthe and Samuel was well balanced and rich.
As always, Brackston has penned another lovely read. Her witch books are still my favorites, but this book is right up there with some of my favorites. If you love Outlander and magic and romance, then this is the book you have been waiting for, it all comes together flawlessly under Brackston’s talents!
Also, side note—I want to go antiquing now! Especially in the English countryside and maybe happen upon an item that will magically time travel me!
- Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own
- Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5
- Genre: magical realism, romance, time travel, historical fiction
- Memorable lines/quotes