Title: The Grandest Bookshop in the World
Author: Amelia Mellor
Genre: Historical fantasy
Intended audience: MG
Date Read: 19/03/2021 – 24/03/2021
Oh gosh this was lovely! There was something about knowing that the Book Arcade in this book was once a real place that made it extra special.
I got a lot of Nevermoor vibes reading this. It had the same charming, whimsical veneer whilst getting deep into issues of grief, sibling rivalry, and a child’s feelings of powerlessness against more powerful adults.
The descriptions of Cole’s Book Arcade, which really existed in Melbourne in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, made me wish I could have visited! Edward Cole sounds like a fascinating person and Mellor draws such a vivid picture of his whole family!
The magical aspect was simple but provided far-reaching application, giving Mellor a broad canvas of magic that many of her characters could perform.
I was never quite sold on the Obscurosmith’s reasons for wanting to get his hands on the Arcade, and I felt at the end he was defeated perhaps a little too easily, but because I was being swept along for the ride, I didn’t mind too much.
The book sometimes does get a little dark and might be scary for some younger readers. It’s also reasonably long as far as MG novels go. But I think a mature reader will absolutely love it!
This review is part of my 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.