Monday, March 6, 2017

The Lost Book Of The Grail: A Novel by Charlie Lovett

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Charlie Lovett’s first novel The Bookman’s Tale, a delightful mystery set against the centuries-old controversy over the true authorship of Shakespeare’s plays, was a Barnes & Noble Recommends pick and a New York Times and Indie bestseller, making it one of 2013’s most charming debuts. Since then, Lovett, a playwright and former antiquarian bookseller, has written two more popular bookish tales involving more of history’s most beloved authors: Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. In The Lost Book Of The Grail (Viking; On-Sale: February 28, 2017; ISBN: 9780399562518; Price: $26.00), his fourth and most ambitious book yet, Lovett gives us his whimsical take on the legend of King Arthur and the Holy Grail.
The Lost Book Of The Grail is a deftly layered mystery written in the bold, questing spirit of Arthurian tales. Set in the fictional English cathedral city of Barchester, the novel chronicles the story of Arthur Prescott, a middle-aged, obsessive bibliophile and Holy Grail fanatic, who for years has haplessly worked to uncover a long lost secret about the cathedral’s past and its connections to King Arthur. But it’s not until Arthur meets Bethany Davis, a beautiful young American Millennial with a penchant for modern technology, that his quest takes on new meaning. Soon Arthur and Bethany’s search takes on grave importance, leading the pair to discover secrets about the cathedral, about the grail, and about themselves that neither expected.
Imbued with reverence and mythical storytelling, The Lost Book Of The Grail is a mystery of the kind that’s wildly popular in the entertainment world—think Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and National Treasure, not to mention Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code—yet deeply ruminates on timeless themes like faith, perceived truth, and how the past has informed the present day. Here Lovett provides a wholly entertaining story that will not only make you smile and laugh, but also think—prompting readers to reconsider the important roles that spirituality, family, and, yes, reading, play in their lives.

my thoughts:

Every time I read a book by Charlie Lovett I am swept away to England.  The crisp fresh air.  The countless cups of tea.  The small villages with tiny book shops crammed full of books.  The local pub stocked with fish, chips, and a hearty ale.  And I am in bliss. What more could I want?  How about a bookish adventure to follow along on?  One that involves a missing book, King Arthur, the Holy Grail, and a mysterious Saint named Ewolda...hmm...sounds like a must-read to me!  

In Lovett's latest novel, The Lost Book Of The Grail, we find ourselves befriending Arthur Prescott, an English professor at the local university in Barchester.  A bibliophile to the max, he is unnerved by the modern ways of his colleagues, students, and friends.  Arthur does not like that his students refer to him as Arthur instead of Mr. Prescott (apparently, its a university thing) and that they read books off of electronic gizmos (ipads) and want to write papers about tweets (he thinks it has something to do with birds).  What is the world coming to?  Luckily for him, he can take refuge in his favorite spot - the cathedral library.  In fact, he's been tasked with writing a guide for the cathedral.  His friend Gwyn, the dean of the cathedral, keeps reminding him to hurry up and finish the guide.  She is determined to find funding for the Lady Chapel that was destroyed in 1941 by German bombs and needs help in advertising their cathedral to tourists.  Of course, Arthur is convinced he can't finish the guide without finding out the story of St. Ewolda - plus, he likes how empty the cathedral is.  Oh, and did I mention the BBs - The Barchester Bibliophiles.  Its a trio that meets weekly to discuss books, bookish finds, and everything books.  The BBs consist of Arthur and his two friends, Oscar and David.  You see, Arthur is man who relishes routine and books.  His life is peaceful and he wants it to stay that way.  Only, there is that promise he made to his late grandfather.  When he was young, his grandfather told him that the Holy Grail was real and that it was in Barchester.  He made Arthur promise to keep it a secret.  Arthur agreed and has been searching for it ever since.  Except, sometimes secrets aren't meant to be kept secret.

Bethany Davis is American and a techie to the max.  She has been dispatched to Barchester by her boss, the gazillionaire Jesse Johnson, to digitize the cathedral library.  He wants to make these books (along with many others from all over the world) available to the masses for free.  Arthur is aghast at the idea.  Reading a book online - the horror, the horror!  Suffice it to say, the two meet and sparks fly (well, eventually they fly).  Turns out that Bethany chose to be sent to Barchester.  Apparently, she is a Grail junkie and knew of Arthur.  Yep, she stalked him.  And now that Arthur knows why she is really in Barchester, well, let's just say, that's when the adventure truly begins.

Now, I know I haven't revealed a lot about the book, but I can't.  Its just too good to be missed.  This is a book that you NEED to read.  It goes perfectly with a cuppa and a comfortable reading chair.  You will get swept away to England, caught up in Arthur's adventure, and fall in deep with the history of Barchester.  I am serious - you are going to LOVE this book!!  It is unputdownable and unforgettable!!  I find myself thinking of it again and again.  And, I'm compiling a new TBR list based on this book - it will include books about King Arthur, books by Wodehouse (Arthur's a huge fan), and Lovett's books (I want to re-read them all).  This book just makes you want to read, read, and read.  It truly is a bookworm's book.  

I would happily recommend The Lost Book Of The Grail to fans of Charlie Lovett's books, fans of the King Arthur and the Holy Grail, and book lovers.  You will most definitely LOVE this book!!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!


Lark said...

I can't wait to read this book! There's something about Lovett's books that I absolutely love. Hopefully my library will finishing "processing" this new arrival soon so that I can take it home and savor each and every word. :)

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Lark, you are going to LOVE it!! Yes, there is something about his books that you can't help but fall in love with them :) Let me know what you think of it!!

The Librarian Witch said...

This sounds like such a lovely book!
I already live in England but your review makes me want to be swept away there anyway! (is that event possible?)
I'll be sticking this one on my to-read list!


A Bookish Way of Life said...

Jodie, it really is. Definitely check it out!