Book Reviews

Review: The Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

All spells require a sacrifice – and those that ask for the most, pay the highest price. This magical realism story more complicated than I ever thought, but it had an eerie quality that prevailed until the very end.


On the night of the town bonfire, Oliva and Rose make a commitment to get drunk and cry. But what ends up happening is something much more complicated. The whole town begins to lose things: a bracelet, or a shoe. However, it seems Rose has lost something even larger than that, something she won’t talk about, something that causes Olive to fear she may have lost her best friend. One night Olive meets three mysterious runaways, and together they all find a spellbook – one with a spell to find lost things. This is the chance they’ve all been waiting for, a moment for them to reclaim what was taken or misplaced – but they have no idea of the secrets that await them, or the price they must pay.


I was absolutely transfixed just from the premise alone, but what ended up happening is that I too became bewitched by this book. On the surface, the book seems to go many directions, but when they all come together they combine to produce a plot that is absolutely captivating. Throughout the book there is something magical and ominous in the air and Fowley-Doyle maintains this eeriness, even building up and turning into a powerful storm.

My Favorite Character: Olive

The book is narrated through a variety of perspectives that begin to bleed together, only increasing this burning desire to figure out the mystery beneath the pages. Olive was my favorite, not only because I could see myself in her (fellow lover of ‘The Sound of Music’ here), but because I loved the family dynamics in her backstory. Her literature obsessed parents and feminist sister have to be some of my favorite book family members in a while. (I am in love with literature references within books and the list of all the poems at the end makes my English major heart sing). In terms of diversity, Olive has a hearing aid and is bisexualand another character may be as well (it’s a little unclear in the story).

I love the theme of losing things and having a spellbook to retrieve them. That just gets me every time. Fowley-Doyle does an amazing job of maintaining this thriller-esque tone throughout the entire book, that ends up pulling family secrets, sorcery, and redemption together. It only seems to get better as the book continues, becoming more complex and sinister.

The Ending: Is it too neat?

That is why I was so disappointed upon reading the ending. I felt there was something so deliciously menacing to the tone of the book and at the same time something so cosmically coincidental the way the book was progressing. When the ending of the book was so abrupt, and a little too neat for my liking, I was let down. It was more about a universal ending and I was displeased by the lack of resolution on some key plot points.


This is such an enjoyable read and I am in love with so many aspects, except the ending. And as the ending is what you’re left with at the end of the day that has overshadowed a lot of my positive feelings. Would I recommend this? Absolutely. This is a story seeped in magic, sacrifice, and secrets that is wonderful to read. But just be prepared for some questions at the end.

You can pick up The Spellbook of Lost and Found on Amazon(US), an indie near you, or add it to Goodreads. It releases Aug 8, 2017.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from First to Read.


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