Welcome to the Wilted Rose Book Club Discussion #3 of The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston! I want to add here my final impressions about this book. I have to confess that by the end of the last chapter I was on the verge of tears. I’ve rooted the whole time for Xanthe and Samuel and seeing that they parted ways after freeing Alice, it was very disappointing, but we know that sometimes events take over and decide for us. We are covering chapters 18-26. Use the “Leave a Replay” field to make a comment!
The Little Shop of Found Things Discussion #3
1- An interesting discovery is that Samuel is the architect behind the lockup where Alice was kept before the hearing. The lockup was built on one of the ley lines. These lines are said to carry energy. At their intersection points, (better known as vortices) sacred sites were built. Stonehedge, the Great Pyramid of Giza, Mt. Shasta, Cathedral Rock in Sedona are some of the vortices on Earth. Have you ever been to one of these sacred sites?
2- Alice is a young girl, who lost her family in a horrible way. She was so frightened to be labeled as a traitor that she preferred to plead guilty of theft at her trial, rather than admitting her faith. In a time where people were not free to express themselves, women were more disadvantaged just for being women. Alice knew this very well and she knew that she would have been executed no matter what. Xanthe found out that she could use a law that was called Benefit of Clergy, however, this was not applied to women who were not nuns, as a consequence she and Samuel failed Alice. How things have changed for women who live in the 21st century, compared to women who lived in the 17th century?
3- “There are men far braver than I who put themselves at risk for the greater good… I found myself at times, unable to remain merely a bystander to world’s events. In particular those about which I have the opportunity to be of use. To do something to save their lives, perchance”. Samuel is slowly opening up to Xanthe and he’s ready to reveal a secret to her: he’s Catholic and his mother knew Alice’s family, labeled as traitors and executed because of their faith. He trusts her, but she doesn’t trust him enough to tell her secret. He even sees her disappearing in front of him and yet, she keeps her secret to herself. Are you disappointed by her behavior toward him?
4-Xanthe finds the missing pieces from the chatelaine and Alice is finally freed. Both women united by a common event, can go back to their lives. For Xanthe, Samuel is not enough important to renounce to her present and share her life with him. He accepts her, her secret, and her choice. He’s basically the perfect man every woman would want, but Xanthe decides to go back to her mother. Were you surprised by her decision?
5- Back to her time, Xanthe’s mother had made more renovations and ordered a new shop sign with the name on it: The Little Shop of Found Things. If you had an antique store, how would you name it?
The Little Shop of Found Things: My Thoughts
1- I visited Mt. Shasta in Northern California years ago, and I remember the energy that I felt. There was something magical about that place that I could not describe. I knew of the legends regarding the volcano, which I believe reveal some truths, but I didn’t know it was a vortex, now I understand why this place spreads so much magic around it. I also read a book about the Lemurian people who are connected to Mt. Shasta. Some say that strange events happen: people appearing and disappearing thru the volcano. Others say it’s a portal to other dimensions. I recently watched a documentary where a man who was interviewed saw an alien spacecraft going inside the volcano. Apparently, for people living there, it’s all normal!
2- Women in the 17th century were classified under 3 aspects: their family status, morality, and sexuality. Gervase Markham, a poet and writer of the time wrote a book by the title “The English Housewife”. He writes how a good housewife must be,
‘of chaste thought, stout courage, patient, untired, watchful, diligent, witty, pleasant, constant in friendship, full of good neighbourhood, wise in discourse, but not frequent therein, sharp and quick of speech, but not bitter or talkative, secret in her affairs, comfortable in her counsels, and generally skilful in the worthy knowledge’s which do belong to her vocation.’ And this one:
‘Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands,
as unto the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife;
even as Christ is the head of the church… therefore as the church is subject
to Christ, so let wives be subject to their husbands in everything.’
Ephesians 5.22 – 24
So we know that women basically had no rights, but reading about it through articles and books by authors of the time, gives a more palpable idea of how women were treated. There was a woman who was probably the first one to be financially independent from a man, her name was Aphra Behn (1640-1689), and she wrote of equal rights between men and women. Her works include a love for two men, too. Nowadays, if women have the right to be legally seen as individuals and not as objects, it’s because they have always fought for equality. In the 21st century, they have the right to vote and the right to education extended to all social classes.
Though, there is something that has never been abandoned and it resists throughout time: in many countries, when women get married, they decide to change their last name taking their husband’s. In my view, this is a vestige of a patriarchal society, and being a woman who comes from a country that forbids naming change after marriage, it really bugs me to see that in so many countries, women keep doing it. This practice is tied to the past when women were seen as the wife of x, when they were considered a property. I, as a woman, refuse it. I kept my name when I was married, and I remember the feeling of inferiority because I was being addressed personally or by mail with my ex’s last name; I felt like I didn’t have an identity anymore. If the mail was addressed to both, only the name of my ex was fully listed. I’ve always been an independent woman, and I’m glad to be living in this century, but as long as I’ll see women who change their last names after marriage, or who tell me that they are looking for a rich man who can provide for them, it only makes me think that equality still requires a lot of work and time.
3- I think that Xanthe should have shared her secret with him as he did. I feel like he needed to be treated differently. He’s always showed loyalty to her and her cause, risking his life, his social position, and his family’s. He had many questions, but he respected her privacy, while she kept him at distance for whatever reason. I think that when you feel that someone is trustworthy, you open up spontaneously. Instead, Xanthe did the opposite.
4- Xanthe stirs in me mixed feelings. A part of me would want her by his side, in his century, believing that such an honorable and lovely man could hardly be found anywhere else, however, I also see how she is devoted to her mother, who needs her help because of her frail health. Said that, I don’t think that she is so in love with him or else she would have renounced to her present. I do believe that strong love can make you more adventurous, not more cautious. Xanthe shows guiltiness and reminds herself all the time of her mother left alone while she travels in the past. In conclusion, I am not surprised by her decision, even if I hoped till the end for a different outcome, but it is clear that her feelings for him are not so strong.
5- I love finding names for things, animals, plants and humans! If I had an antique store I would probably call it Antiques and Oddities of Nostalgic Epochs. I like to romanticize about the past that I do believe is parallel to the present, but still, I get a feeling of nostalgia, because I’d want to be able to experience it to the fullest. I’d want to snap my fingers and be thrown back in time like Xanthe. Thus, the title.
THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS DISCUSSIONS
Now, it’s your turn! Let me know if you enjoyed the book!