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Review: The Emporium of Imagination by Tabitha Bird

September 19, 2021

About the book:

Welcome to The Emporium of Imagination, a most unusual shop that travels the world offering vintage gifts to repair broken dreams and extraordinary phones to contact lost loved ones.

But, on arrival in the tiny township of Boonah, the store’s long-time custodian, Earlatidge Hubert Umbray, makes a shocking realisation. He is dying . . .

The clock is now ticking to find his replacement, because the people of Boonah are clearly in need of some restorative magic.

Like Enoch Rayne – a heartbroken ten-year-old boy mourning the loss of his father, while nurturing a guilty secret.

Like Ann Harlow, who has come to the town to be close to her dying grandmother. Though it’s Enoch’s father who dominates her thoughts – and regrets . . .

Even Earlatidge in his final days will experience the store as never before – and have the chance to face up to his own tragedy . . .

My thoughts:

Wow. Well when the review notes say that you will laugh and cry this is not an exaggeration. This book is a glorious, emotional festival of fantasy, whimsy and magic. I loved reading it and I recommend it to everyone.

Three characters are at the heart of this story, but really there are four. The Emporium itself is at the heart of this tale. It is a magical shop that travels to where it is most needed and stays for as long as it takes for a town to experience its magic and be healed. Earlatidge is the custodian and he travels with the Emporium. He is linked to the Emporium in more ways than are immediately obvious. He is the one to find the Shopkeeper and the Key to open the shop and bring magic to each new town. Ann and Enoch are both keeping secrets… secrets that are tearing them apart from the inside out. Earlatidge discovers a shocking truth and terrible things are starting to happen to the Emporium. Earlatidge must hurry to find the Shopkeeper and the new custodian quickly or the Emporium’s magic will be lost. Unless they can all come to terms with their heartbreaking grief, the magic will be lost forever.

Grief comes in many forms. Grief over the loss of loved ones, grief over lost love, grief over what we give up to grow up and grief over lost dreams. Grief becomes regret becomes a pain that will never heal. The magic and whimsy and love experienced as children slips away as we grow up and grow old. We forget. The Emporium is a magical place where you are gifted a chance for a final conversation with those you have lost. It is also a chance to remember what dreams you may have forgotten that you once had and provides a little spark of magic (in food, clothing, pictures and hobbies) that can bring those dreams back to life. Everyone in this novel, everyone in life, has a story to tell. A story they are hiding from. Everyone has a secret they are keeping that is tearing them apart, have loved ones they have lost, and are experiencing unimaginable pain in dealing with untold regrets. The Emporium brings all of this grief out into the light of day to be seen and recognized and accepted. Grief is not undone but is given a chance to heal.

I wish the Emporium was a real place. In my dreams perhaps it is. This book will catch you right in the feels and emotions you thought dead and buried will resurface to be reviewed in the light of this tale. Beware – the Emporium is a magical place and visiting will change your life.

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