Review of 'The Vintage Shop Of Second Chances' - Libby Page
Updated: Jan 17
Uplit is one of my favourite genres to read - they provide a good dose of reality and even if the ending is not a 'happy ever after' they're always incredibly satisfying. For me, the fact that they reflect real life, without ever losing that all-important sense of hope, is what makes it such a life-affirming genre to read.
Libby Page is a leading light in this genre and her books never fail to leave with me with an enormous sense of contentment. This particular one has the colour yellow at its heart. I'd never describe it normally as one of my 'favourite' colours, but my associations with the colour are such that it felt particularly poignant when I was reading this book. Lou's mother has recently died and that sense of the loss of a close parent-child relationship pervades all strands of the book and is seen from different perspectives. For me, it brought back memories of losing my father. Seen through a lens of twenty plus years, my emotions are no longer as raw, but I recognised them in Lou. For Lou, it is a yellow dress that keeps her mother alive. For me it is yellow roses. After my father's death, I found out that he always referred to me as his little ray of sunshine and my mum had chosen yellow roses for my wreath because of this. Since then, my husband has always bought me yellow roses when he thinks I need reminding to smile. The yellow dress has a similar effect on Lou.
Colour is hugely important throughout the book and I found it particularly interesting when Lou explained why she chose such colourful outfits. As I type this, I'm sitting in my usual Writer in Residence spot in Brightlingsea Lido Cafe, having just had a conversation with a lady wearing a rainbow jumper. My jumper is similarly bright and we've just been discussing the importance of wearing bright clothes in Winter, as a way of keeping our spirits up. When I was teaching, I always made sure my top, shoes and make up followed the same colour scheme; back then the colour was a kind of armour. I was putting on the person I needed to be in the classroom.
By the time I got to the end of book and my reflections upon it, I'd come to the conclusion that the book itself had had a similar effect on me to wearing brightly coloured clothes. It doesn't solve any of life's problems, it doesn't resolve the energy crisis, it has no effect on the cost of living crisis, but what it can do is make you forget them, just while you're inside its covers. And actually, do you know what? Sometimes that's enough.