Lost for Words – Stephanie Butland

*I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*



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

Into her refuge – the York book emporium where she works – come a poet, a lover, a friend, and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past and she can’t hide any longer. She must decide who around her she can trust. Can she find the courage to right a heartbreaking wrong? And will she ever find the words to tell her own story?

It’s time to turn the pages of her past . . .


I began this book smugly comparing it to a combination of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Bookworm (both of which I loved by the way, just in case you can’t be bothered chasing the links to my reviews).

However, the further I read, the more Loveday allowed me in to her life, thoughts and memories, and the more enchanted I became with her individuality.  Yes, she suffered childhood trauma that marred her adult development like Eleanor, and yes, she retreated into books to avoid social contact like Lucy.  Still Loveday has a unique and engaging voice and her prickly attitude just makes the intimacy feel more rewarding.

Getting the story direct from Loveday’s narrative point of view allowed an intimacy that her character would not normally permit, but also created tension in the form of the mysterious books and her personal history.  As Loveday is an unreliable, if honest, narrator, we are led to follow her logical fallacies and misunderstandings in some places, where in others we can read between the lines to see what she is unable to.  I found myself pleading with the book for her to just ‘TELL HIM ALREADY!’ on more than one occasion, even as I understood why she didn’t and couldn’t.

I confess I wasn’t a big fan of Nathan and Loveday’s poetry.  I liked the emotions communicated, the content, of the poems, but felt the structures lacked a poetic rhythm and elegance that I somehow expected from those characters.  This was my only minor quibble however with an otherwise excellent and very enjoyable read.

I loved Archie, loathed Rob, ached for Loveday’s parents, and cheered her on every page of the way through her journey of discovery.  And naturally I loved the bookish references (including the carefully classified chapter headings)!

Highly recommend this one, and definitely intend to seek out more from Stephanie Butland to add to my teetering stacks.


A bookshop is not magic, but it can slowly heal your heart.

– Stephanie Butland, Lost for Words


Find more from Stephanie Butland at her website here or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Lost for Words is out on Amazon right now!




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