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Title: Dictionary of Lost Words, The
Authors: Williams, Pip
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 422
Year: 2020
Language: English
Description: Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the 'Scriptorium', a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary.

Esme's place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word 'bondmaid' flutters to the floor. Esme rescues the slip and stashes it in an old wooden case that belongs to her friend, Lizzie, a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world.

Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women's experiences often go unrecorded. While she dedicates her life to the Oxford English Dictionary, secretly, she begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words. [Taken from book blurb, Affirm Press]


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A fascinating story with a splendid mix of the literary and the realities of life, with fine writing, good pace and gentle sympathy."

"An innovative and compelling story."

"I found this particularly interesting as the author included actual characters of the Scriptorium, who were involved in collating words for the Oxford dictionary."

"It's a pretty easy read but a bit once over lightly for me. It did have a nice twist telling the story within the Baden Powell principles."

"Historically, a fascinating read."

"The development of language and the concept of feminine words has been a revelation."

"I think most would enjoy this book, although perhaps it's more for women. The history of the time particularly affected woman."

"The photos in the book support the story and make it very credible."

Categories: Fiction, Family Saga, Feminism, Gender Issues, Grief/loss, Historical, Literature oriented, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, England, 2023 Titles - Coming Soon

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