Dear Fellow Reader,
The Bookshop of Yesterdays is classified as fiction but it also contains a mystery. Or, I guess it could be said that it contains a quest.
Miranda Brooks is doing well. She is living in Philadelphia with her boyfriend, Jay. She teaches eighth-grade history in a private school and she loves it. The school year has come to an end and she is getting ready for a party she and her boyfriend are having to celebrate. She sees that there is a package that obviously contains a book in her mail. The book in the package is the play, The Tempest. Since Miranda is named after the character in the play, she knows the play well. The enclosed card has the message “Understanding prepares us for the future.” Then she notices that there are some passages highlighted in the play. She didn’t understand but she had a party to prepare for so she put the book and card away.
During the party, Miranda receives a call from her mother. Since she and her mother were very close, she was surprised that her mother called during the time she knew that Miranda was hosting a party. Her mother was calling to tell Miranda that her Uncle Billy had died.
Miranda had not seen her uncle in sixteen years. She knew that Billy and her mother had had an argument, but she never knew why they argued. She saw her uncle one time after the night of the argument and then he left and never returned. She tried to find him at the bookstore that he owned, Prospero Books, but he was not there.
Miranda’s relationship with her uncle had been special and one of the special parts was that he would create scavenger hunts for her whenever they were together. She would have to solve clues to move on to the next step of the hunt. She loved the time she spent with her Uncle Billy.
Upon hearing of his death, Miranda went back to California to attend the funeral. Her mother would not go with her. She went by herself and felt very strange among the group of people who were at the funeral. They all seemed to know each other, and she was the outsider. Uncle Billy’s lawyer came up to her at the cemetery and asked her to come and see him the next day about Billy’s will.
Her mother decided that she had to go with Miranda to the lawyer’s office. The lawyer informed them that Billy had left the bookstore to Miranda. There was also a copy of Jane Eyre. There were highlighted passages in that book also and a name in the front cover. Evelyn Weston. Miranda’s mother was upset about Billy leaving the bookstore to Miranda and even more upset when Miranda brought up the name Evelyn Weston. When prodded, she told Miranda that Billy had been married to Evelyn Weston before Miranda had been born.
The clues from the highlighted sections of The Tempest and Jane Eyre set Miranda on a quest to find out what Billy wants her to know. The process leads her to question her relationship with her parents and others. There are times she is ready to give up when suddenly things become clear and she moves ahead.
The Bookshop of Yesterdays is Amy Meyerson’s first book and it is very good. I enjoyed seeing how the story unfolded. The book has many literary references, which always make a reader’s heart beat a bit faster. An altogether good read.
Thanks for reading!