Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore - Matthew Sullivan's debut novel. I loved it - and it's one you're going to want to get your hands on.
Lydia Smith lives a quiet life, working as a bookseller at The Bright Ideas Bookstore. She is quite happy with her quiet life. As a child she was the lone survivor of a horrendous event - and she keeps those memories locked away. But tragedy comes to the bookstore when a young man hangs himself. Joey was one of Lydia's favourite BookFrogs - one of the 'lost men' of the neighbourhood who make the bookstore their 'home'. (I'll leave it to you to discover the why of this name - it's the perfect book reference.) But how and why would Joey have a picture of ten year old Lydia in his pocket when he died? Lydia is also the beneficiary of Joey's eclectic book collection. Joey seems to have left a message in the pages of those books. Lydia needs to decipher what it is and what the connection to her could be.......
Sullivan has worked in bookstores, as have I. I identified so much with the settings he had created, the behind the scenes areas, the love of books and the eclectic staff. The book titles referenced are great fun - both real and imagined. Anyone who loves books would want to work or visit Bright Ideas. The supporting cast of quirky characters is just as wonderfully drawn - BookFrogs included. But it is Lydia who will capture your heart.
"Lydia's skills as a bookseller came mainly, she believed, from her ability to listen. A raging case of bibliophilia certainly helped, as did limited financial needs, but it was her capacity to be politely trapped by others that really sealed her professional fate."
Oh my goodness, Sullivan is a clever, clever writer. The plot went places I couldn't imagine - but when I got there, I couldn't imagine it unfolding any other way. "The act was impulsive and had only taken seconds, yet it had rippled through the decades like a shockwave." Curious now, aren't you?
Yes, it's a mystery, But romance, family, life and more populate the pages of Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. Absolutely recommended - this is hands down one of my favourite reads for 2017.