Reviewing Carole Wallace’s The Finding of Martha Lost

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This is one of the books I was incredibly excited about reading. Currently my reading world has been taken over by Gone With The Wind which just isn’t finishing and I was actually very excited to put that book down for a little while and read all about Martha Lost.

Martha is lost.

She’s been lost since she was a baby, abandoned in a suitcase on the train from Paris. Ever since, she’s waited in station lost property for someone to claim her. It’s been sixteen years, but she’s still hopeful.

In the meantime, there are mysteries to solve: secret tunnels under the station, a suitcase that may have belonged to the Beatles, the roman soldier who appears at the same time every day with his packed lunch. Not to mention the stuffed monkey that someone keeps misplacing.

But there is one mystery Martha cannot solve. And now the authorities have found out about the girl in lost property. Time is running out – if Martha can’t discover who she really is, she will lose everything…

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This is a story about a young woman, who lives and works in Liverpool’s Lime Street Station, trying to find herself and people who will love her. I think that sentence doesn’t convey the warmth and humour in this book, or how much Caroline Wallace, the author, loves The Beatles.

Martha has had a very unconventional upbringing after being abandoned in the station’s lost property office. Mother, the woman who raised her has convinced Martha that if she leaves the station the station will crumble, and that the Devil resides in the basement. Martha spins from place to place rather than walk and when she touches lost objects she can see their story – it’s her superpower (at least in my head). I absolutely loved that. Some of my favourite parts of this book were when Martha was describing a lost object’s story to becoming lost.

When Mother dies Martha is told by Management that she needs to provide her official documents in order to carry on working in the lost property office and carry on living above it. But she has no idea who she is or where she came from and she doesn’t have any of the documents they want. While this is going on, the real life story of Mal Evans is also happening. Friend to The Beatles before he was shot in LA, his ashes and a suitcase full of Beatles memorabilia have gone missing. This brings Aussie Max to Liverpool, a man who thinks he has the suitcase and really, really wants the ashes.

Martha, her best friend Elizabeth, the Roman soldier George and the man who lives in the tunnels underneath the station, William all try and solve both mysteries with varying degrees of success. As I said above it was the humour and warmth in The Finding of Martha Lost that I truly loved. Martha, Elizabeth, George and William truly love and care for each other, while Martha really was hilarious, occasionally saying what everyone is thinking, and other times not completely understanding social cues.

I was smiling throughout reading because it really is such a wonderful book. It’s told from Martha’s point of view with occasional letters and newspaper clippings thrown in and I thought this was perfect. Martha is an unusual character just because she has had such an unusual upbringing – learning about her through another character’s eyes wouldn’t have made me love her as much as I did. I am not a Beatles expert so I don’t know how much of that plot line was fictionalised but none of it seemed shoe horned or unnecessary: the city of Liverpool thrummed through this book and The Beatles make a substantial part of the city’s history.

I really do recommend The Finding of Martha Lost – it’s out on March the 10th so keep an eye out for it because I think it’s going to do well.

My review is definitely my own and neither it nor my opinions haven’t been swayed by the free book swag.

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