The Bookshop Girl is a charming book about a young girl who was abandoned in a bookshop when she was five-years-old. The proprietor's son (Michael Jones) discovers her and puts her in the lost property cupboard, but she is soon taken out again by his mother, Netty. She is promptly adopted by Netty, and named Property Jones.
The three members of the Jones family seem to have a cozy life, and enjoy living in a bookshop despite not having any money. Every evening they share a ritual in which each of them read the same book. It never occurs to Netty or Michael that a five-year-old child might not know how to read. At first Property is content to just mimic Netty and Michael, and then she comes to love this ritual too, but feels ashamed that she never shared her secret with them. She is clever and soon figures out how to excel at helping out in the bookshop, so that no one guesses that she is illiterate.
Six years later, their cozy life is interrupted when they decide to take their chances and enter their names in a contest to win a famous bookshop in London. To their absolute amazement, they are chosen as the winners. Property feels a sense of loss at having to leave the little bookshop behind, but shares in her mother's obvious joy. The new bookshop is wondrous and magical. They fall in love with it immediately. Property is curious as to why the owner of the bookshop, a charming man named Mr. Montgomery, would choose to give up such an extraordinary and famous shop. It isn't long before the answer becomes apparent. The Jones family have to find their courage and do something a bit unorthodox if they are to keep possession of their precious shop.
There was so much to love about this book. For one, it had just the right blend of whimsy, darkness, and humor. For another, the characters were quaint and charming. This middle grade book is perfect for any bibliophile, young or old.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free galley to review. This was a 5 star read for me.