Book Club: Lost For Words

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Author: Stephanie Butland
ISBN: 978-1-785-76259-8
RRP: $29.99

Stephanie Butland is an author I was not familiar with before Lost For Words but she is one who is certainly on my radar now.

Lost for Words, something most would say I never am; though that is not altogether true it was enough to grab my attention. A secondhand bookshop and tattoos, well that was certainly two things guaranteed to pique my interest and when they are so poetically linked there was no chance I could resist.

I love books and I love reading, owning a bookshop is one of the things that I sometimes dream about and a bookstore is definitely somewhere I would love to work so this book had my attention from the start.

Loveday Cardew is our complex and intriguing heroine and I loved her from the very first page. She is quite the closed book so to speak, she prefers books to people and doesn’t open up easily. I thought Loveday must have been a nickname or assumed name because it’s not a first name you come across often; but no, that is what her parents named her.

I don’t really know where to start. The bookstore was a sanctuary, which is apt because I think all bookstores offer sanctuary of a sort. Lost For Words was Loveday’s safe haven, she found it as a teen and Archie, the owner, took her under his wing and offered her a part time job. A decade later and Loveday is now working full time and knows the store front to back. It is a store with character, it’s shelves mismatched and collected over the years.

Loveday isn’t a fan of people, she prefers books. Because books keep your secrets and they don’t judge. Loveday is pierced, tattooed and prickly; she doesn’t allow people in and she certainly doesn’t share personal information. Customer service is probably not the best career option for her but if she can avoid face to face interaction with the customers and focus on the books she is wonderful at her job, thorough and dedicated.

The story is told on separate timelines that all come together near the end to offer a complete picture. Slowly, through her memory, we learn about Loveday’s past. We know early on that something traumatic happened, something that changed her life fifteen years ago and she is still trying to heal from but we don’t know what it is. The way the story unfolds offers a wide scope of options and I was left guessing through a lot of the story trying to work out what had happened that affected her so profoundly.

Nathan is a magician by day and a poet by night, he has his share of quirky habits and skeletons in his closet that helped shape the man he is now. He is perceptive and caring, allowing Loveday the room she needed to piece the events together.

Archie was larger than life, there was always something going on. Loveday was pretty sure that a lot of his stories were at least a little exaggerated but it was beginning to seem that there may be more truth to them than anyone suspected.

Lost for Words is an engaging read that tugged the heartstrings and excited the imagination. This was a book of healing, addressing the past and moving forward but most of all it was a book of learning to trust again. It was a story of books and their significance in our lives.This is a story for all book lovers.

Stephanie Butland can be found on Facebook, Twitter and

Lost For Words is published by Allen & Unwin and is available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin 10 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading Lost for Words so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments.

9 thoughts on “Book Club: Lost For Words

  1. Loveday Cardew is someone you will fall in love with. A book lover who has tattoos of her favourite book quotes, she is a troubled soul who prefers the company of books to people
    Things change when she meets Nathan a magician and a poet
    The book skips from three different times. We travel back to Loveday’s childhood, back a few years and also the present time
    This book is magical. I loved the characters and how their very individual personalities all had a part to play in Loveday’s metamorphosis.
    “Lost For Words” will leave you bleary eyed as you will not want to put it down. This is a coming of age novel, but it is so much more. I highly recommend it


    Right from the start, the authors writing captured my interest and had me quickly turning through the pages. I’m sure many authors have done it before but the way the main character Lovedays’ inner thought monologue was written was amazing. She would be described as an anti-social, prickly, tattooed girl in a book shop, and we see that she is often a woman of little words. As the reader however, we still get the after thoughts of… ‘what she wanted to say’ or ‘she thought that’ or ‘she would say this but she’s being conscious of the other person’ & I know I’m being a little crazy about one little quirk in the writing.. but it was so relatable in a way I don’t often connect with other main characters in fiction.

    The book travels back and forth between her past and present and her secrets are slowly revealed throughout the story. I loved the chapters on her childhood, and we really see the metamorphosis of Loveday and how her circumstances shaped her into the bookworm girl with tattoos of her favourite first lines through these chapters of the past.

    I also loved the characters Archie and Nathan, and thought that Rob the ‘ex’ character was written so well. I agree with Michelle that Stephanie Butland was a writer I wasn’t familiar with but I will definitely be on the look out for other titles by the author.

    Thanks B&L for choosing me to review, it’s now a favourite. I highly recommend to all bookworms! Pick this up!

  3. Lost for Words is a totally unique piece of fiction. It had such an original story line, that it kept me guessing from start to finish. I also enjoyed the style that it was written in. I couldn’t work out if it was more like reading Loveday’s diary, or more like having a conversation with a best friend. Either way, it felt intimate in the story telling.

    While Loveday was lovable, at times I also wanted to give her ‘a kick up the backside’! The book highlights the complexity of the human emotions, and shows how those emotions can effect the way people behave (good and bad).

    While this book was an easy read, it also had a lot of substance. It dealt with a number of issues that effect many humans beings. It tackled domestic violence and mental illness in such a sensitive and compassionate way, that I was thoroughly impressed.

    Stephanie Rutland is not just an author, she’s an artist. Highly recommended.

  4. I just found my new favourite author!
    I absolutely fell in love with this book. I was drawn into Lovedays life from page 1 and could not put the book down until I had read every single word.
    If you crossed Loveday in the street you would see a 25 year old tattooed gothic looking girl. But don’t let her appearance fool you! She is a very intelligent, funny and lovable character who had a very happy childhood until an event changed the rest of her.

  5. For those who love books, who wouldn’t want to read a book about a person who works in a bookshop,
    “Lost for Words”is exactle that.
    Loveday has the dream job of working in a bookshop, but she does not come across to us readers as such.
    She carries many secrets and through books she is able to cope with what has happened in her life.
    This story touches many themes such as loss and mental illness.
    It is beautifully written and to me it seems that this book is an expression of her life.

    Thank-you Beauty and Lace for allowing me to review this book.

  6. I would describe “Lost for Words” as a charming book full of character and interesting characters. The story weaves around her life as an adult touching on episodes of her childhood that show a troubled family of which she was the young daughter of two of two adults who seemed to be at odds in the face of their own challenges. While very much loved, Loveday who has triumphed and is exceeding in the life she has always wanted to live is tainted by the actions and decisions made by her parents all those years ago.

    The main character Loveday is an interesting person full of surprise, love and also sadness. Many taboo subjects are touched on and these are written through a child’s eyes so an interesting aspect is given with her not often understanding how things seemed so normal but were actually quite traumatic now she realizes as an adult.

    I liked the way Stephanie Butland had an unusual way of softening the Loveday character with her quirky use of favorite story lines for tattoos. This showed a soft but also a strong character with Loveday choosing these tattoos as a reminder of words that have meaning to her. Each has a story and memory attached which gives youa little more insight into her character.

    A very well written and enjoyable book with a few twists and turns to keep the reader interested and curious. A book which will have a place in my bookshelf for many years to come.

    I look forward to reading more books by Stephanie Butland in the future.

  7. This book was truly inspiring.
    I enjoyed it so much that I would not put it down.

    after finally receiving it I had a very late night. reading it through and enjoying every moment.
    Loveday is an endearing and complex character which had me spellbound from the moment that I started reading. She has a history which is frightening and abnormal. She has fought so hard to both hide her bath and lead a quite and simple life.
    Archie was a beautiful character, the perfect person to look after Loveday and provide her with both security and independence. I found it achingly beautiful to watch her Loveday’s life change and open as I turned the pages.
    The dangers from Rob the nerdy drop-in to the book shop created such a confronting dynamic to Loveday’s story. He became such a repugnant character and one that creates anger and frustration as you read the becoming events of their relationship before it unfolds and hope that it wont amount the way you are believing it too. Shedding light on domestic violence from two different perspectives in both clever and important.
    I found her meeting with Nathan endearing and playful and loved their connections through literature and life experience and the pain associated with it.
    Stephanie created such a lovely book and it is was such a powerful story to read. There was a lightness throughout but the depth of past issues and continuing struggles for the characters created such a compelling story and I felt so personally attached to the characters.
    Losing Archie and gaining Nathan was a somber but heartfelt ending to the story with stones overturned in the journey of a different and challenging future full of hope and love.

  8. ‘Lost for words’ is a touch of the surface look into the life of Loveday Cardew and the life she lives in the “Lost for words” bookshop. This book took me quite a while to get into, the characters didn’t really draw me in until after half way through and the loss of a major character at the end felt unnecessary. The discussion of books throughout felt minimal and unstructured, the issues Loveday dealt with should have been dealt with in more depth and the reunification of mother and daughter should have been the climax of the story, instead it was left as a postscript. Overall, however this was an easy read, some further editing could have been done throughout on some of the expression used, but would recommend for a quick summer read.

  9. Belated review… this book was found in my neighbours house! Yup.. delivered to the wrong house and they forgot to drop it in. sigh..

    However all is right in the world. I have the book. I read the book. I LOVED the book.

    Loveday is our main character and I adore her. Interesting plots and themes draw us in and get us involved in Lovedays life. As with many characters there is a troubled past to be addressed and I think this was successfully done. A modern girl with lots of quirks and problems to work through.

    I found this book, easy to read and memorable. I look forward to the next book from Stephanie Butland.

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