Pages & Co.: The Last Bookwanderer

Pages & Co.: The Last Bookwanderer

Pages & Co.: The Last Bookwanderer











Pages & Co.: The Last Bookwanderer

Anna James

HarperCollins, 2024

416pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99


“From outside on the busy north London high street, Pages & Co looked like an entirely normal bookshop. but once inside it didn’t quite make sense how everything fitted inside its ordinary walls. The shop was made up of five floors of corners and cubbyholes, sofas and squashy armchairs, and a labyrinth of bookshelves heading off in different direction.  A spiral staircase danced up one wall, and painted wooden ladders stretched into difficult-to-reach corners.  Tall arched windows above made it feel a little like a church when the light spilled in and danced on the air. When it was good weather the sun pooled on the floor and the bookshop cat – named Alice for her curious nature- could often be found dozing in the warmest spots.  During the summer the big fireplace behind the till was filled to bursting with fresh flowers, but at is was October, a fire was roaring there…”

Does this not conjure up every booklover’s dream of a magical place, a bookstore where magic and mysteries, adventures and escapades beckon?  And for it to be the home of Tilly who prefers the company of book characters to the people in real life and, although not having been outside London, is a seasoned traveller within the pages of the books that abound on the shelves just shouts that this is going to be a series for booklovers and readers that will deliver all that is expected and more.

But what if your favourite characters could not only come out of the books and have real-life conversations with you but could also take you back into the book to have your very own adventure within the story? Tilly discovers that this is part of her relationship with her books and that, unlike other series where it is a secret power, this one is shared by her family,  There is much more to her grandfather and grandmother and the family’s history and lives than she ever imagined. Bookwandering is what this family does, and it might explain the mysterious disappearance of her mother and the absence of her father.

Keen readers have followed the adventures of Tilly and her friends since 2018, and if Ms Now 13 is an indication, they will be as eager to read this final instalment as they were the first, for it is, indeed, “as comforting as hot chocolate” as the blurb says.    In this last adventure, Tilly, Oskar, Milo and Alessia venture into King Arthur’s realm in search of the wizard Merlin, and  discover that the magic of bookwandering is not at all what they thought. Together, they must journey into myth and legend – to bargain with the trickster Loki and unlock their destinies with the help of the Three Fates – and find a way to untangle the Alchemist’s grip on the world’s imagination.  To save Pages & Co. and the very foundations of bookwandering, Tilly and her friends will have to learn the true power of imagination in a thrilling final adventure, but an unexpected enemy stands in their way . . .

If you don’t have the series in your collection, it is available in a variety of formats including a boxed set, but you may have to search beyond your usual suppliers for the five earlier books because it is a series that is best read in order.  It will be well worth the effort because this is one of a handful of series that I have sought out all the additions to review over the years, and one which my granddaughters yelled “yes please” when I told them I had the final, even though they are so much older now. This is a series that, like The Magic Faraway Tree  and Harry Potter,  will be kept for their own children to enjoy.  It is for independent readers with a penchant for magical bookshops and being able to really delve into the world of stories and become part of them. And for those who have to wait their turn, or those who ask, “What next?”  you could suggest The Bookseller’s Apprentice and The Grandest Bookshop in the World.For those a little younger, suggest The Travelling Bookshop series

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