Received to review via Netgalley
I hadn’t heard anything about Lost for Words before I picked it up, but it’s set in a bookshop — a bookshop which gradually leads Loveday, the main character, towards growth and healing after a troubled childhood. I was sold from the word bookshop, of course; I kind of expected something romance-based with some quirkiness, because, well, bookshop.
There is a certain degree of that, and the romance is quite good — Nathan is sweet and understanding, a sort of undemanding romance that is a joy to read. Loveday’s background is darker than I expected, and sadder; I found it interesting to read about her process of coming to terms with it, but it wasn’t quite what I’d expected. The ending was sadder and more dramatic than I’d expected too.
Even given that, I’d rate this higher if it weren’t for the stalker psycho ex. He’s supposed to have bipolar disorder, but the ‘warning signs’ Loveday mentions are things like his obsession with doing things at a certain time or in a certain way. That’s more like obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it doesn’t make you hurt anyone. For me, it just means laundry has to be done on Fridays (unless it’s bedsheets, which can be done on Saturdays) and I can’t stop reading on an odd-numbered page or chapter. From all these books you’d think you should run screaming the minute someone wants to line things up in a particular order because ooh it’s a warning sign! You should’ve known! But for most people, it’s not a warning sign that they’re ultimately going to hit their partner and set a place on fire with them inside it.
I wish the psycho ex wasn’t used so often to create drama and tension. That character could’ve acted in that way without all those little tags of mental illness which lead some people to assume that any sign of mental illness is only a skip and a jump away from arson and abuse. Being “off your meds” doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to do something awful; can’t we just drop that trope?