Book Review: The Emporium of Imagination by Tabitha Bird

Published in Australia on the 30th March, 2021 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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Australian RRP: $32.99

Format: Trade Paperback

ISBN: 9781760895914

Genre: Magical Realism, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction.

Page Count: 352

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Penguin Books Australia

A captivating novel of magical realism about a fantastical shop that brings comfort, peace and hope to those in need. You won’t want to miss the opening of this shop!

From the author of A Lifetime of Impossible Days (winner of the Courier-Mail People’s Choice QLD Book of the Year Award) comes this beautiful and uplifting story, that will make you laugh and make you cry.

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 Review:

I received a copy of The Emporium of Imagination from author Tabitha Bird and Penguin Books Australia in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

I didn’t really know what to expect from The Emporium of Imagination, not having read Tabitha Bird’s debut (though it’s absolutely on my TBR!), but once I started reading The Emporium of Imagination, I was instantly drawn into the lives of Earlatidge, Ann and Enoch, all struggling to grapple with their own very personal grief.

I absolutely loved the concept of The Emporium, a magically wonderfully place that provides comfort, whimsy and the opportunity to contact dearly departed loved ones via old phones. It’s there to cater to everyone’s individual needs with Earlatidge being able to sense people’s forlorn grief, ensuring that everyone gets that slip of paper with a time to receive that call from a loved one. Earlatidge himself as well, he read as such a mysterious character, as soon as I met him I found myself wondering about his own grief, it’s so evident that he’s gone through so much personal tragedy, then he finds out he’s essentially living on borrowed time until he finds a new Owner and Custodian for The Emporium, honestly, I was invested throughout every point of this beautiful book and I found myself completely drawn into the pages!

Each character flowed so completely vividly and evocative across the pages, it’s their emotions that I was completely swept up in, I hadn’t read a book that so openly and honestly dealt with grief in such a long time! I loved especially that The Emporium of Imagination was split into Earlatidge’s, Ann’s and Enoch’s points of view, allowing readers to really get into their mindsets and feel their harrowing grief and as I read more of their chapters, it quickly became evident that they’re all delicately connected, just how much though is so fragile and delicate, your heart just can’t help but break for them all!

I honestly won’t go into too much detail about the characters or the developing plot, purely because I honestly think it’s best going into The Emporium of Imagination without knowing more about the characters and how they’re connected, Earlatidge too. What I will say though is that from quite early on, I felt like The Emporium of Imagination quite swiftly became a five star read for me, even when I was close to finishing it, I felt like I already wanted to reread it!

Tabitha Bird’s beautiful writing, embedded with lyrical and emotive undertones, and magical realism throughout makes for absolutely essential reading! It’s become one of my favourite books of the year and I completely encourage you all to add it to your TBR!

Happy Reading,


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