I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Publisher: Hodder Studio
Published: July 2021
THE LOST STORYTELLER is the heartwarming debut novel from a stunning new voice in fiction, Amanda Block.
Rebecca can hardly remember her father Leo Sampson. All she knows is that he was a beloved children’s television star who disappeared when she was just six years old, and her family have managed very well without him thank you very much.
But when Ellis, a journalist, turns up at Rebecca’s office asking for information about Leo, she begins to wonder if there is more to the story of her father’s disappearance than her family have led her to believe.
Then Rebecca is given a book of seven fairy tales, written by Leo, dedicated to his daughter. And through the magic of each of these stories, Rebecca has the chance to get one step closer to the lost storyteller, her father, to discover who he was and what he went through – and even where he might be now . . .
THE LOST STORYTELLER celebrates the magic of forgotten fairy tales and the power and resilience of imagination.
I am struggling to find words to express how much I loved this book, even as I write this over a week after finishing it. The Lost Storyteller is easily one of the best books I have read this year so far, and it’s almost hard to believe it’s only this author’s debut!
This book has everything: a compelling mystery in the search for Leo, Rebecca’s father; family secrets; creepy, multilayered fairytales; atmospheric settings; a slow burn romance; and, above all, the strength of human relationships. This book is about Rebecca’s search for her father, yes, but it’s also about so much more.
As Rebecca embarks on her journey into the past, which takes her across England and Scotland, she takes us readers along a parallel journey. This is a journey of self-discovery, about finding your place in the world and being true to yourself, discovering little by little what are the things that matter the most and going after them. It’s a journey of acceptance and, possibly, forgiveness, without shying away from the difficulties and the ugliness that sometimes lie in between.
This, for me, was the true strength of this book: its honest, multilayered depiction of family, love and life, mental health and the battles that are fought just under the surface, unknown to everyone else. The author’s beautiful writing style certainly helped, as she perfectly managed to paint a picture with her words, so much so that I could almost see this playing out as a movie (which very, very rarely happens to me). I was completely captivated by this from the beginning right up to the very last page. I loved the delicate yet honest way in which mental health was described, showing the character’s persistence and resilience as well as the struggles.
The seven fairytales written by Leo for Rebecca are a brilliant inclusion, and definitely helped this book to become even stronger. These allegorical tales were the perfect blend of creepy and magical while helping to give a clearer picture of Leo’s character. Now, I have to admit from reading the summary at first I thought there would be a magical element to this (think The Hazel Wood or Inkheart), but that wasn’t the case and I am actually really happy about this, as I think grounding the story in reality made its message even stronger.
The Lost Storyteller was a wonderful surprise since, while I had an inkling I would enjoy it, I never expected to love it as much as I did. I am very much looking forward to Amanda Block’s next work.
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