Friday, 15 April 2016

The Finding of Martha Lost - Caroline Wallace - wonderful

My thoughts on this truly wonderful book ......

The finding of Martha Lost isn't just a book its a fully immersive reading experience

If you can remember the heyday of the Beatles, Cilla Black, jukeboxes and the long hot summer of 1976 you’ll find a particular affinity within the pages of Martha Lost. If you can’t remember this era you’ll enjoy a little jaunt back into a magical past set in an unlikely location and peopled with larger than life characters.

This is one of the hardest books to categorize, I found it totally unique, mesmerising and wonderful. With faint reminders of Neverwhere and the book of lost things I did expect it was going to be more of a fantasy than it turns out to be, it’s certainly otherworldly yet all of it is based firmly in our world with very real human characters and Liverpool locations familiar by reputation If never actually visited. Lime street station, the Liver buildings, the Cavern club.

We meet Martha as she spins around the station greeting familiar faces all quirky and larger than life. Martha lives in the station with the revoltingly cruel Mother who runs the lost property office and has an apartment above it. I honestly thought Martha was about 6 years old at first and got a little confused when I realized she’s 16 years old and had to turn back a few pages and begin again. This is a coming of age story with real charm and a heroine I absolutely adored, though I did wish she would stop spinning everywhere – she made me dizzy!

Martha is a foundling, not only does she live above and work within the lost property office she belongs to it. This is where she was found as an abandoned baby and has been waiting ever since for someone to turn up and claim her.

Meanwhile she spends her days reuniting missing umbrellas, stray false teeth and abandoned books with their owners, creating a library of lost books and utilising her unique skill of being able to see the circumstances in which items went missing just by touch. But she can’t find out who she belongs to.

Next door is a coffee bar run by Martha’s friend Elisabeth who shows her support of Martha by providing large quantities of lemon drizzle cake and a shoulder to lean on, we meet an enigmatic Roman soldier called George and the very smelly but strangely loveable outcast William. Alongside Martha’s story is the parallel tale of the lost ashes of Mal Evans ex-Beatles roadie – a real character woven into this story who plays his own Post mortem part in Martha finding herself.

I must admit I wasn’t sure about reading this book from the description – it almost sounded a little silly and very far fetched and I worried I may be a little too pragmatic to enjoy it ….. WRONG on all counts. I read an excerpt of it on a blog which piqued my interest – I just HAD to read on.

The finding of Martha Lost, will I feel, stay with me for some time. It’s one of those books which made me feel bereft after finishing it as though I’d suddenly lost touch with a whole group of lovely friends.

It charmed and captivated me throughout and the ending was just perfect.

I received my e-book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review and I extend my thanks to them.

The Blurb

Martha is lost.

She’s been lost since she was a baby, abandoned in a suitcase on the train from Paris. Ever since, she’s waited in station lost property for someone to claim her. It’s been sixteen years, but she’s still hopeful.

In the meantime, there are mysteries to solve: secret tunnels under the station, a suitcase that may have belonged to the Beatles, the roman soldier who appears at the same time every day with his packed lunch. Not to mention the stuffed monkey that someone keeps misplacing.

But there is one mystery Martha cannot solve. And now the authorities have found out about the girl in lost property. Time is running out - if Martha can’t discover who she really is, she will lose everything…

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