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…
This was a truly cute book! I loved Martha right from the beginning. She is a highly endearing character, filled with wonder, innocence and kindness for everyone. In her sixteen years of life, Martha has only ever seen the inside of Lime Street Station in Liverpool. The woman who found her and raised her in the lost property office, Mother, has her convinced that the whole station will collapse if she ever dares to set foot outside. Even though her life, spent mostly inside the lost property office with Mother’s religious fanaticism and constant abuse, could very well be a miserable one indeed, Martha manages to turn every day around and live happily with her books, her friends and her magical gift for finding lost things.
The station was a fantastic setting, filled with quirky characters and action. I loved Elisabeth, the cafe owner, as a character. She is incredibly full of life, and she clearly shows how much she cares about Martha and their other friends, George Harris the Roman soldier and the eccentric William, who lives in the tunnels underneath the station.
Together, this unlikely group of friends try to solve the mystery of the missing ashes of a Beatles roadie. Although not the best part in the book, this was actually quite interesting in itself, and I did learn many things about the Beatles and Liverpool city that I didn’t know before. I also liked seeing Martha grow through meeting Max, an Australian writer with an incredibly low morality threshold. There is nothing he won’t say or do to reach his objectives, playing with Martha’s innocence and trust, and that definitely made him one of the most despicable characters ever!
This was definitely a very enjoyable read, filled with cute and funny characters. Martha in particular stands out, with her indestructible joie de vivre, constantly looking for the good in everyone and the joy in the little things. This book deals with some sensitive topics (like domestic abuse) in an incredibly delicate manner and builds a gorgeous modern fairytale about finding yourself.