Review: The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick

☆☆➹⁀☆ 4.5 stars☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

Have you ever wished you were someone else?

Mother of two Liv Green barely scrapes by as a maid to make ends meet, often finding escape in a good book while daydreaming of becoming a writer herself. So she can’t believe her luck when she lands a job housekeeping for her personal hero, megabestselling author Essie Starling, a mysterious and intimidating recluse. The last thing Liv expected was to be the only person Essie talks to, which leads to a tenuous friendship.

But when Essie dies suddenly, a devastated Liv is astonished to learn of her last wish: for Liv to complete Essie’s final novel. But to do so Liv will have to step into Essie’s shoes, and as Liv begins to write, she uncovers secrets from the past that reveal a surprising connection between the two women–one that will change Liv’s own story forever.



My Thoughts:

Messy Lives of Book People is such an apt title for Phaedra Patrick’s latest book! The two main characters, reclusive author Essie Starling and Olivia Green, a cleaner, are both book lovers and both have very messy lives.

I enjoyed both of these characters. They are vastly different both in terms of social status as well as their personalities. The one thing that they have in common is their love of reading. I loved the references to books sprinkled throughout the story as Essie shares her suggestions with Olivia.

Readers learn Olivia and Essie’s stories mostly after Essie has passed away. As Olivia muddles through Essie’s last request that she finish the manuscript of Essie’s final Georgia Rory novel, she also muddles through her transitioning life. Her children are off to university. Her husband spends more time at work and taking phone calls in the coat closet than working on his marriage. So, the mystery of Essie Starling’s life and her “true love” easily becomes Olivia’s focus; not only does her sleuthing through the possibilities in Essie’s past provide her with a diversion, she feels it is key to successfully writing the perfect HEA ending for her very favorite Essie Starling character, Georgia Rory.

Olivia’s journey takes her outside of her comfort zone, and forces her to grow as a person and as a writer. The intricacies of Essie’s life are interesting, and her “true love” is an amazing twist in the story. The characters are engaging and the story is compelling. It is a story of books, writers, and how reality can weigh down one’s hopes and dreams if you let it.


About the Author: Phaedra Patrick studied art and marketing and has worked as a stained glass artist, film festival organiser and communications manager. An award-winning short story writer, she now writes full time in Saddleworth where she lives with her family. 

Her debut novel, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, was translated into over twenty languages worldwide and has been optioned by a major Hollywood film studio. 

Her second novel, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone (named Wishes Under the Willow Tree in the UK), has been made into a Hallmark Movie and will premiere on TV in Autumn 2021. 

You can find out more about Phaedra and her books at 

Please follow her on:
Twitter @phaedrapatrick
Instagram @PhaedraPatrick

© Copyright 2022 Book Junkie Reviews. All rights reserved.

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