My third consecutive reading centered on the inter-World war period, The Haunted Bookshop reflects the optimism and social consciousness of that period, but overlaps a period romance and a mystery. That the mystery involves an international bomb plot will jolt modern readers. Lots of preaching; boring at times. Much gushing over the power of literature to change the world even as the tale reflects jingoistic nationalism.
The plots are well-developed and intertwined with just enough mis-direction to entertain. The text is clear of typographical errors which plague digitized older texts.
The twentieth century featured three international conflicts—World Wars One and Two and the Cold War. Each ended with a flare of hope that man would finally learn to avoid future wars. We haven’t. And the euphoria was shorter lived after each successive victory. The Cold War ended and the Soviet Union dissolved even as the international community united to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. Ten years later, the Middle East was at war again and a Soviet Union wanabee emerging from the failure of democratic Russia.
The printed word inflames as well as soothes the savage beast which dwells deep in each of us.