The Book

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Summary

An empty library. A forgotten young woman & the very last book in the library which leads her on a journey through her past & helps her find her voice Charlotte, abandonded by her alchoholic mother and disreguarded by the Grandmother she now lives with is lost and lonely living an empty life without purpose. One day a mystical little book, the very last book in the Library, a building she shares with her distant Grandmother, begins to attract her attention. This little red book and the secrets it revelas helps to lead Charlotte out of her anonimoty and compels her to write the next chapter of her life with a renewed purpose and direction.

Genre:
Mystery / Thriller
Author:
Jools Constant
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
23
Rating:
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:
16+

Chapter 1

Around a 40 minute walk in a southerly direction from central London stands the Library of St George. Six large windows wide by three stories high, with a grand Art Deco edifice of crisp red brickwork and sharp architectural abutments.

It is positioned in such a way that from certain positions on the high street, one might think a great ocean liner was steaming straight towards you. And yet despite its evident majesty, this chalice of knowledge lies forgotten and certainly ignored by the casual passer-by. What a pity that is, for within its walls and reaching to you from every empty shelf are the echoes of a very mysterious story. A story of how one woman’s need to fulfil an unspoken promise brought her to an end the like of which could not found in any of the pages, in any of the works, of the Library of St George.


Charlotte knelt on the floor within the library’s main reading room, excited and nervous as she opened the cover of an unfamiliar book. A new book was always thrilling, especially when it’s one from an unknown author, and doubly so when its title was simply: ‘The Book.’

To Charlotte, a seasoned literary traveller, an adventure was far more exciting the less that is known about the destination. All her life Charlotte had lived and worked within the library which was owned by her Grandmother, and all her life she had completely absorbed herself in the myriad of books. Fact, fiction, adventure fantasy, science and history were the building blocks of her identity. Her physical world was insular and quiet, but the books gave her freedom and company and a social life amongst the characters that stepped out of the pages and invited her to join them. In contrast to the reality around her, the books gave her joy and peace, they gave her a reason to continue, a reason to live.

She just loved to quietly share this joy with visitors to the library, although quite shy, she would quietly wander up behind browsers and gently whisper recommendations to them or softly she would silently pull a book half out of its column tap it making eye contact with the browser and leave them with a little smile by way of a review. She was in a way inviting them to the same dinner parties she had attended, she was sending them to the fantasy lands she had enjoyed or sharing with them the knowledge that had delighted her the most.

On closer inspection, The Book she was knelt in front of turned out to be an account of the history of a library. It didn’t take Charlotte long to realise that the Library in question was this library, her library. It contained details of its birth and on through the war years, from its restoration and new resolve and through the post war decades. But it was not only a record of the building and its purpose; it also touched upon Charlotte’s family where its activities were interwoven with the library.

Charlotte was a little surprised that someone had kept a log of the library and its events. It was even more surprising that it had been bound and published. The writing seemed factual and without frills but talked of her grandmother in the third person, and appeared to be written at an emotional distance to the daily workings of its subject. The binding and printing appeared shoddy: a quick flick through The Book revealed the last thirty pages to be completely blank. It was more than bad workmanship: it felt strangely frustrating. She inspected the last few paragraphs of text, before the blank pages. It wasn’t clear if a whole chunk was missing from the book, or if too many pages had been carelessly woven into the binding. The latter seemed unlikely, as on the last of the thirty blank pages two words stood bold and lonely: THE END.

She turned to the beginning and began to read in earnest, little knowing how this strange little red book would be pivotal both in determining her destiny and the very future of the library itself.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
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