Esme Garland is an English girl in New York. She is studying art history at Columbia University after gaining a first from Cambridge. After a shaky start she’s loving life in New York. She has made friends, met a wealthy boyfriend, Mitchell van Leuven, and more importantly found a great second hand book shop, The Owl. Unfortunately she gets pregnant and dumped before she can tell Mitchell. Desperate for work she gets a job at The Owl. Staff and regular customers help her through the trials and tribulations of the next year.
I loved this book, devoured it in an evening, entranced by the poetry of the storytelling. Esme’s internal conflict as she wrestles with a life changing decision is beautifully portrayed. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to slap Esme and Mitchell.
The cast of characters are well developed and entertaining; each has their part to play in Esme’s story as she becomes an adult and a ‘proper academic’. The bookstore is a safe place with a character of it’s own; a disorganised mess of treasures waiting to be found and read.
A thoroughly enjoyable and accessible work of literary fiction; highly recommended.