Book Review: The Emporium of Imagination by Tabitha Bird

The Emporium of Imagination…

About the Book:

A captivating novel of magical realism about a fantastical shop that brings comfort, peace and hope to those in need. You won’t want to miss the opening of this shop!

From the author of A Lifetime of Impossible Days (winner of the Courier-Mail People’s Choice QLD Book of the Year Award) comes this beautiful and uplifting story, that will make you laugh and make you cry.

Welcome to The Emporium of Imagination, a most unusual shop that travels the world offering vintage gifts to repair broken dreams and extraordinary phones to contact lost loved ones.

But, on arrival in the tiny township of Boonah, the store’s long-time custodian, Earlatidge Hubert Umbray, makes a shocking realisation. He is dying . . .

The clock is now ticking to find his replacement, because the people of Boonah are clearly in need of some restorative magic.

Like Enoch Rayne – a heartbroken ten-year-old boy mourning the loss of his father, while nurturing a guilty secret.

Like Ann Harlow, who has come to the town to be close to her dying grandmother. Though it’s Enoch’s father who dominates her thoughts – and regrets . . .

Even Earlatidge in his final days will experience the store as never before – and have the chance to face up to his own tragedy . . .

My Thoughts:

If you think of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, add a dash of Mary Poppins and a shake of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, you might have an inkling on what to expect with The Emporium of Imagination. Well, sort of. At least, that’s what I felt like whilst reading this remarkably unique and truly inventive story.

Tabitha Bird is a highly imaginative writer whose creativity is akin to sunbursts and showers of stardust – magical, fragile, beautiful, incredible. This is a novel about grief: death, missed opportunities, failed moments, lost relationships, guilt over the things we wish we could change. It’s beautiful and devastating all at once.

‘And here is the stillness I was dreading. Here is the ordinary, extraordinary moment. The one when all my world changes, and everything that was, now isn’t.’

The Emporium of Imagination is a novel to linger over, to reflect on and take your time with. It is magical realism with emphasis on the magical. But at the heart of the story is an essential message: we need to grieve in order to live. Whatever the loss: a person, an opportunity, a relationship, a pet, an object of great importance. In order to heal, we must first allow ourselves to break.

‘Sometimes the hardest part of being sisters is that you share many of the same wounds from childhood. You share a darkness and it doesn’t always bring you together.’

Structurally interesting with a brilliant cast and a magical storyline, The Emporium of Imagination is the type of novel that offers each reader a unique experience. I don’t feel as though any two readers will read this story the same way. Just as the Emporium offers each person what they need at this point in time, so too does this story. It’s a remarkable achievement with a deeply personal attention to detail that has me filled with admiration.


Thanks is extended to the author for providing me with a copy of The Emporium of Imagination for review.

About the Author:

Tabitha Bird is a writer and poet who lives and works in the rural township of Boonah, Queensland. By day Tabitha may be found painting, working on her next book or with her husband, three beautiful boys and Chihuahua.

The Emporium of Imagination
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
Released 30th March 2021

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Emporium of Imagination by Tabitha Bird

  1. Pingback: Classics and Literary Round-up: March 2021 | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

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