Updated: May 1, 2020
I had a Goodreads glitch when posting this review; I swear there was some sort of bloody monkey in the system messing with my star ratings. I wrote my review text, but at the time I was unable to leave a rating. When I went back a week later, it had appeared as a 2 star review! Bloody mind-boggling hell! I was mortified! This is one of the best historical fiction novels I've read in such a long time. I even put down Hilary Mantel's latest, so that I could read this, which believe me is saying something.
I love a book about a book at the best of times - what can I say, I'm a word nerd - so The Dictionary of Lost Words caught my attention early. I also had the opportunity to join Pip Williams 'virtually' through Dymocks great Chapter One online series, in which authors talk about their novels. I was so impressed with how 'cool and collected', how relaxed and entertaining, how well-researched and knowledgeable, how smiley Pip was talking about her debut novel. Talk about dazzled!
As a result, I couldn't resist downloading The Dictionary of Lost Words to my Kindle that night. It was so so good I then went and bought a physical copy because I wanted it on my bookshelf so I could pore and paw over it. I also bought it for my mother for Mother's Day!
If Pip reads this (and she has been known to visit my website!) suffice it to say, I am abject in my apology (and I bloody hope Glitchy Goodreads is too!). Thankfully, if anyone actually read my review they would see I had actually given the novel 6 stars in the text. All is now rectified, thank bloody God, but I think this might be the end of my brief love affair with Goodreads. Gah!
For what it is worth, I strongly urge you to read this book because ... well, here is my Goodreads review:
My review in Goodreads:
I loved this novel for so many reasons. I'm a sucker for a 'book about a book', this one was set on very familiar turf (Oxford), and it's historical fiction. I decided to tune into Pip Williams talking about how she researched and wrote the novel hosted on Dymocks, Chapter One, virtual author talks. Unable to wait, I downloaded it to Kindle and plunged straight in, and I still wasn't prepared for how much I was going to love it.
The writing is breathtaking, simple yet compelling, subtle but brutally honest, and so beautifully brilliant it had me reading into the small hours, silently weeping and unable to put it down. For book and word nerds like me it is the perfect antidote to the current circumstances. I was intrigued in the way Pip Williams observed how words and language meant different things to different genders, but also in different times, new vocabulary being forged by the horror of World War One. It was a riveting, spell-binding read and I thoroughly recommend it to everyone! 6 stars! P.S. I'll be buying a hard copy too because this book is too good not to add to your shelves. I'll be returning to it time and time again. Wonderful!