REVIEW – Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

Published 20th April 2017

by Stephanie Butland

Read by Imogen Church
Approx. 9hrs

Rating: ****

*May contain some spoilers!*

Lost for Words

Yorkshire lass, Loveday, works at a bookshop and has done for a long time now. One morning she finds a neglected book by the bus stop and hoping someone has just accidentally dropped it and wants it back, she posts a found notice in the window of the bookshop. To her amazement, Nathan, a man who is too good to be true turns up to retrieve it. Loveday is someone who usually keeps to herself and her books, but somehow Nathan is able to persuade her to go to poetry nights and share in their love of literature.

At the bookshop, a number of boxes turn up each day that need to be sorted onto the correct shelves. Some books contain pressed flowers and a strangers memories used as a bookmark, some contain her own memories. It is not just people that keep secrets, books keep them too.

If I had made predictions for this book I probably would have said that it was a cheesy love story about an introvert and an extrovert. The male protagonist in the story would hold some mystery that the female finds out, maybe with the help of her books and the bookshop she works at, and their relationship must stand the test of life as all his secrets are found out. It’s very clear that I didn’t read anything about the book before I read it. It’s safe to say that I was entirely wrong and pleasantly surprised.

Firstly, I just want to say that the reader of the audiobook, Imogen Church, was perfect for the role. Her accents and tone of voice made the story so easy to follow, understand and literally visualise in my head.

Onto the story itself.

I saw myself in Loveday, but then I am a book lover also so I couldn’t help but automatically envisage myself as the character. When Nathan came along, I immediately presumed he had mystery surrounding his life, but turns out that I was wrong. Archie at first seemed a bit creepy and a bit arrogant so I wasn’t too sure if I liked him at the start, but then I came to realise that I’d completely misunderstood him. In fact, he is such a sweet guy and I would love a boss like him. Rob was creepy from the start and my opinions of him didn’t change. When the recognised books started coming into the shop, I thought nothing of it, still caught up on the idea that this book was in fact a cheesy romance. Until I started noticing that the chapter titles were genres of books and crime kept coming up. Listening to the audiobook, it took me a while to realise that the time period being spoken about kept jumping around in reference to the memories from the books. Finding out about Loveday’s past, her parents, being in “the system”, and her relationships, it was quite harrowing. I can’t say I’ve read (or listened) anything like it before. It felt autobiographical. So true and real. You hear about domestic abuse all the time on TV or on adverts telling people to get out of the relationship or tell someone if you can’t; to get help. This story touches on that showing how it can affect a whole family and how sometimes you might not want to tell anyone because you love them and all you can do is hope they stop and things can go back to normal. It was both lovely to be reading something that truly covered the topic but also saddening to think that someone could write about it or that it is even a thing in the world, something that likely goes on even more than you might think. When Loveday recounts her own experience of her relationship, it’s easy to see that just because you get away, the other person is ill, or what happens wasn’t that much in comparison to what others go through, you can push it away and not let it affect you until it’s too late. Sometimes it’s just better to tell someone. But sometimes you can’t or really don’t want to or feel like you need to. It is quite a thought provoking story, yet it’s such an easy read. It didn’t have me hooked wanting to find out more all in one go but, on the opposite end, I couldn’t stop myself from finishing it (if that even makes sense). At the beginning I found myself wondering if there was a bookshop I could work in, and at the end I just constantly felt shocked. Shocked by the ways things turned out throughout the story. Shocked by all the twists and turns. Heart-warmed by the bittersweet ending.


I’d definitely recommend reading this if you’re looking for something a bit meaningful yet not too difficult to read. I gave it 4 stars above, though I would probably say it was more like 3.5 mainly because it didn’t have me wanting to read it all the time. That said, it is definitely worth the read. If you fancy, listen to the audiobook. It’s available on Audible and BorrowBox.

Onto the next book…

– KC

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