Today I want to share with you an author that I've been following for a few years and one that I highly recommend for all those TST readers who send me lovely messages about how our bookish tastes align. If you're a reader of historical fiction, a lover of old-favorites-turned-new, or a bibliophile who can't get enough of books about books, then Charlie Lovett is one author you'll want to put on your to-read list this summer.
If you're following Modern Mrs. Darcy's Summer Reading Guide, then you may have seen this title already (and if you've checked it off that list, then I would love to hear your thoughts). This one started a bit slowly for me, but once I got into the rhythm of the book I loved the story. The Lost Book of the Grail follows Arthur, a man firmly grounded in habit and reverent of the routines of the church but not a believer in God Himself. He's been a follower of grail lore for his entire life, and when a captivating American woman named Bethanny brings technology into the library of ancient manuscripts that he holds so dear, he must reconcile with Bethanny's new methods for historical conservation in order to save the church that he loves.
In this, we follow Sophie, an antiquarian bookseller and Austenite. She's drawn into a mystery surrounding her favorite author when an obscure text, Richard Mansfield's Little Book of Allegories, comes to light and brings with it questions about Jane Austen's legacy and the authorship of Pride & Prejudice. This is truly a story for book lover's and I gave it 5 stars when I read it back in 2014.
This was the first book I read by Lovett (and his debut novel) and it made it on to my Top Ten of 2013. Out of the three novels I've read by Lovett, this one remains my favorite. It follows a man named Peter, who arrives in Hay-on-Wye (the most famous row of bookshops in England and a spot I desperately want to visit) nine months after the death of his wife. He's relocated from North Carolina to England, hoping for a fresh start as he indulges his love for antiquarian texts. Peter is shocked, however, when he opens an eighteenth-century text and finds a portrait that looks stunningly similar to his late wife. As Peter works to discover the origin of the portrait, his relationship with his wife is shown through flashbacks, and it was the love story between the two characters that really drew me in.
This is the only one of Lovett's novels that I have not yet read, but I think I'll save it for the end of 2017 (for obvious reasons).
It should come as no surprise that Lovett himself is an avid collector of rare books, and was once in the business of antiquarian bookselling himself. His characters are flawed and lovely, and I will continue to be a devoted fan of his as long as he continues to write novels that are geared toward his fellow bibliophiles. I've heard that he is at work on his next novel but there are no details yet as to when that will be published.
If you're also a fan of Lovett, leave a comment below or send me a message! I would love to discuss favorites with you.
P.S. Interested in more books about books? Read my collection of titles read & recommended by readers here.