Bookstores are more often than not filled with quirky characters, as depicted in Deborah Meyler’s debut novel titled simply The Bookstore. Young, impressionable Esme Garland, a British art history student living in New York with a scholarship to Columbia, discovers much more than an assortment of oddballs at the used book store The Owl where she gets a job during a very difficult time in her life.
Esme finds herself pregnant and alone in Manhattan when her wealthy boyfriend suddenly dumps her. Deciding to not tell him about the pregnancy and raise the child on her own while staying in New York and pursuing her degree, the courageous Esme’s time spent working at The Owl introduces her to a world of fascinating individuals who exist on books.
From the artistic to the idealistic to the outrageous, there are many types of people who call this shabby second hand bookstore home at all hours of the day and night, including the homeless themselves. It becomes an unlikely refuge for Esme, a much needed escape from her troubles. But Esme has some painful choices ahead, including whether or not to take her boyfriend back.
This witty and inspirational tale about the struggle to find happiness in a sometimes cruel and unpredictable world is also, in many ways, a tribute to New York City and the magic of books.