The Bookshop on Jacaranda Street by Australian author Marlish Glorie is a heart-warming, contemporary women’s novel embarking on a transformational journey.
Helen Budd-Doyle is a woman who is ready to reclaim her life. Trapped for twenty-eight years in a marriage living with a hoarder, she has had enough. Enough to the point she gets up at 5am and chops her bed to smithereens and sets it alight. As she watches it burn, she feels the nightmares of the past incinerate, but never the grief of losing her firstborn, Leif.
Arnold Budd-Doyle is a self-employed gardener. He hates his job and despises his clients – his true love is searching the tips for anything valuable and accepting his clients’ cast-offs to add to his collection. He knows Helen isn’t impressed with all he has accumulated, but he wants more out of life than just mowing lawns.
Not wanting to return home, Helen’s friend and neighbour Astrid and her husband Hendel invite her to stay. When she knew Arnold would be at work, she packed a bag and left him a note “I have gone for good. Living with Astrid.”
If there was one thing Helen loved in life, it was books. She was an addict and would source them from everywhere. When an unexpected windfall lands in her lap and an offer to buy a dilapidated second-hand bookstore from a man in a pub arises her dreams have come true, and she grabs the opportunity.
Unexpectedly, Helen and Arnold’s two sons Gabriel and Vivian return home with their own issues. They try to assist their parents, but sibling rivalry occurs, and it seems they are creating more chaos than helping. Has Helen made the right decision?
The narrative style is liberating, entertaining, and rejuvenating to engage readers and make them feel like part of the story. I loved the well-crafted, small-town feel with characters who you’ll miss long after you have put the book down. So many layers, some surprises, twists and turns, filled with humour, wit, and laugh-out-loud moments while exploring the ups and downs of marriage and family life.
Glorie has created a joyous, and incredibly relatable protagonist in Helen, she felt like a friend I had known all my life; charismatic, caring, a little bit problematic, yet so very lovable. It was great to see her evolve and become stronger, you wish nothing but the best for her or at the very least some resolution and contentment.
I adored the supporting cast of characters. I was pulled into their quirky lives and resonated with the complex interweaving of their relationships. The description of the bookstore had me picturing every scene in vivid detail. The author masterfully utilized the craft of showing, not telling.
This novel offers hope and inspiration, the sense of accomplishment in overcoming a difficult situation is genuinely profound. As demonstrated throughout the book, our courage and actions can shape the outcomes we desire in life.
The Bookshop on Jacaranda Street is a breath of fresh air and credit goes to Marlish Glorie. I highly recommend it.
Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Fremantle Press for the opportunity to read and review.
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading The Bookshop on Jacaranda Street by Marlish Glorie. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
My love of books started at a very young age. My mum has always been a reader and encouraged me to read, buying me endless book from classic fairy tales advancing to the world of Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Kathryn Kenny, Carolyn Keene, Francine Pascal. In my adult years the list of authors is endless and every room in my house is filled with books.
One of my favourite novels is Narnia which has always has a special place in my heart. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1978 and when I was given this book to read it let me escape to another world where I felt like I was in the book with all the characters, it wasfun and exciting to escape from reality and eased the ups and downs of the disease at such a young age.
In books nothing is impossible and there is endless potential and hundreds of places to explore or being taken to places that are only made up from the authors’ great minds, the past and future to navigate, characters lives you step into taking you on an emotional rollercoaster ride or being scared out of your wits. I can experience things that I can’t in real life because they’re not possible or real. It challenges my perspective and mindset expanding my worldview.
I find joy, comfort and peace with books, many people may not get it, but I know bookworms like me truly understand. Reading makes my heart happy.