Review: Spellbook of the lost and found, Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Rainy Ireland, bike rides to school, abandoned houses and estates, lost belongings, old books and strange spells: this is, in a nutshell, what you can expect from Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s latest book, Spellbook of the Lost and Found. Last year, I fell in love with her debut and, at the same time, with magical realism, this genre rooted in reality, yet sometimes flying away from it with strange, inexplicable events happening to the characters, the places, everything. It feels a bit like magic rooted in our real world, really. In The Spellbook, we find that very same sensation I had while reading The Accident Season – maybe a little less stronger, though, but still very present, making the read all kinds of magical.


 “Be careful what you wish for;
Not all lost things should be found.”


There is no denying that Moïra Fowley-Doyle is a talented writer. With a couple words, she takes us right in Ireland, her country, alongside country roads, rainy days and everything I have come to known and love since I have been there this summer. It was funny, really, to read this book as I was in the very same country – which rarely happens so, points off for reading a book NOT set in the U.S. In this story, we’re following Olive and her best friend, as they start to lose things one after another. Small things, keys, a charm bracelet. Bigger things, things that won’t get spoken of by her best friend, Rose. As events unravel, strange disappearances happen more often than not, the author is setting an uncomfortable, weird atmosphere as we follow the girls trying to figure out everything that’s happening.



“Being with you makes me feel like I deserve to be loved. Like I’m less of a monster. Like if you trust me that means I can trust myself.”


Told from multiple points of view, Spellbook is taking us in Olive, the main character’s mind, but also in Hazel’s, the strange-just-moved-here-girl, not really going to school, living in an abandoned estate with her twin brother, Ronan and their friend, Ivy. There’s also Laurel, part of a group of three girls, taking the lead as she tells her own story.

I’m not really going to spill the beans here and tell you everything about the characters, because it might be spoilery and take away all of the enjoyment for the book. If it took me a little bit of time to get accustomed to the different point of views, I appreciated how they were all quite different and, most especially, how naturally diverse the cast was. Our main character, Olive, is deaf in one ear and bisexual. Rose is bisexual as well; and both girls are experiencing attraction towards boys and girls in the story. Hazel is also gay. What I really appreciated was how naturally it all flew, was part of them and not made a big deal of at any times. All books should be like that, if you ask me.

A great deal of the story is about the friendship building between Olive, Hazel, Rowan, Ivy and I appreciated it so much. Obviously, the story changes at some point and different kind of relationships developed but I loved how friendship felt at the hear of everything here.

This story also brings us something I absolutely love in my books: a supportive, present family…with its own quirks. Olive’s dad, singing poems at the top of his lungs every morning. Olive’s mom – because yes, parents are both there, yes!! Olive’s sister, quite the surprising little feminist. I just loved this family – even if they weren’t too much at the heart of the story, they got their shining moments in the teenager’s life… as they should in every contemporary.


“If you’re not careful you can spend your whole life looking for what you’ve lost.”


Spellbook of the lost and found quite reads itself like a puzzle, even if, at first, you don’t really get it. The different point of views, the events happening, the elements that are lost and found again, everything are scattered along the pages, for us to put together by the very end. I did not expect the ending to come, I did not expect the revelations to be like that. To be honest, I was clueless for most part of the book – with a slow, but not bothering at all, kind of pacing, the author takes us from one point to another, from the first lost moments to the last revelation, leaving us eager to find ourselves the own magic in our lives, seek that damn spellbook at the top of a tree, hop onto a plane to Ireland, get lost in abandoned estates and just see what happens.


Strange and captivating: The Spellbook of the lost and found will appeal to more than one, fan or newbie in the magical realism genre. With diverse, endearing characters and a mystery at its heart, it’s one book you ought to try, just to try and get lost into what the world could be, with a hint of strange magic in it.

Final rating:  4 drops!

Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Spellbook of the lost and found,  Published by Corgi Chidrens, June 1st, 2017.


One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.

Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets.

When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .

Did you read Spellbook of the lost and found, or do you want to read it? Do you like magical realism – why, or why not?! If you have any recommendations in the genre, I’d LOVE to hear them! Otherwise…what was the last book that was super-weird, but that you ended up enjoying SO much anyway? Let me know in comments!

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

41 thoughts on “Review: Spellbook of the lost and found, Moïra Fowley-Doyle

  1. Ahh, this sounds amazing!! I’ve been seeing this book everywhere and am coveting it. I can’t remember the last time I read a book set in Ireland, but I LOVE Ireland and rain and magic. I haven’t really tried magical realism so that would be interesting. I think the last super weird book was Vassa in the Night. It was almost too weird, but I loved it.
    Awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much, Lenna! ❤ ❤ I hope you'll want to read that one and end up loving it as much as I did. It was so mysterious, I loved that atmosphere so much! It's true you never tried reading magical realism yet? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m especially glad to hear about the atmsphere! That is the best.
        I guess I made it about a quarter through a magical realism once, but I couldn’t stand the writing, setting, or story so it was hard for me to enjoy the magical realism part of it. I actually just started reading a different magical realism book today; it’s called The Memory Trees and it comes out next month. It is STUNNING. I’m interested to see if I keep liking it, haha!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review for this book Marie. I’ve seen one other review for Spellbook of the Lost and Found and basically it sounds like the kind of book I’d love, especially given you’ve described it as a book that will appeals to fans of the magical realism genre (which I definitely 100% am).
    This sounds like an amazing story as well. I love the fact that there’s so much diversity, that Olive has such a strong family dynamic, and that there’s an incredible friendship between the four main characters. 🙂
    I’d like to say I’ll try and get around to this book soon, but really there’s so much on my TBR list that if I get around to it by the end of this year it will be nothing short of a miracle! 😀
    Again great review Marie. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you so, so much, Beth! I hope you’ll read and love it, I feel like it would be your kind of book as well 🙂 I hope you’ll be able to get to it by the end of the year but…no pressure, I get the endless TBR problem, it’s SO hard to know which books to prioritize! 🙂
      Thank you! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right! 😀 ❤ I do hope so, I've seen it around loads but it wasn't until I saw the reviews that I actually became interested enough in it to consider picking it up.
        Yeah I own so many books I need to read before anything else, one day I'll get around to this one though, I promise! 😀
        That's all right. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review, Marie 🙂 I picked up on the ‘weird atmosphere’ in your second paragraph.
    Reading this…I’m very intrigued, and will definitely put it on my- ever growing- list 😊 ’cause now I have to know how the puzzle pieces come together at the end 🤓
    Thanks for sharing 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow this book (and author) sounds amazing- I will have to check it out!! and yes to natural diversity!! I love when it just feels real 😀 And I *love* what you said about this leading the reader to find the magic in their lives- what a beautiful thought!! Awesome review!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I read it! And it was really enjoyable, the characters were diverse and strong, the writing was really quirky and plot was really fun! I think I was expecting more creeptastic vibes from this one and for it to be more like The Accident Season (which I LOVED) but ?? more of a 3.5 stars for me. Great review!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. OH YES. I’m glad you said this – this is exactly what I felt was missing from this book. These creeptastic vibes I got from The Accident Season and did not find here again. I’m so glad you enjoyed anyway 😀


  5. This one sounds wonderful! And how lucky to be in Ireland at the time you read it 😊
    My experience with magical realism is very small but I’m hoping to expand it. So maybe I’ll start here!
    I love that the family is present as well, and a supportive/lovely one at that! I also love the friendship aspect.
    I don’t like staying clueless for too long but it sounds like it more than makes up for it in the end.
    Lovely review, Marie! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really made it all more magical, reading about the setting and being able to explore it at the same time 🙂
      Oh, I’m really hoping you’ll try more magical realism, and end up loving it! I think that this author is a great way to start – I fell in love with the genre thanks to her debut, The Accident Season 🙂
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Sophie! I hope you’ll read and love that one ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great Review, Marie 💕
    This sounds really interesting! I’m such a sucker for magical realism and anything strange, plus I’ve been seeing this literally everywhere. I’m also happy to hear about the diversity, the great friendships and that you loved the family. Really looking forward to reading this one xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Both of Fowley-Doyle’s books were winners for me. You hit it right on the head — she does atmosphere masterfully. Magical realism is one of my favorite genres, and she Fowley-Doyle uses the elements well. She also builds the tension and hits us with twists. Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh I’m so glad to hear you loved both of her books so much, just as well! They were fantastic, I just love how she manages to create these crazy atmospheres, they are captivating.
      Thank you so much! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. DAMN!!!! MULTIPLE POV’S??? I LOOOOVVVEEEE THOSE! Like in Game of Thrones???? WOW!
    *Grabs for the book SOOO fast aaannnnddd THUD!!! 😂😂*

    But, seriously, I HAVEE TO READ THIS! And thank you, Marie, for introducing me to the book and YAYYY!! A NEW AUTHOR!! ☺☺☺


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww you’re so, SO WELCOME, I’m so happy I made you want to read this book! I hope you’ll end up loving it as much as I did. It was so mysterious and a LOT of fun to read! 😀
      Awww thank you, you are the sweetest!! 😍😍😍

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a lovely little review Marie ♥️ I DID NOT know this was set in Ireland otherwise I would have picked up the ARC for sure 😭 now I’m sad… honestly I haven’t read much magical realism and wasn’t sure I would love it or not… I do love puzzles too so I may slip this onto my TBR though I’ve been resistant to adding anything lately. (Not sure why!) You make a convincing arguement… I love when all the relationships are spot in – real and personal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh thank you so much, Dani! ❤ ❤ I hope you'll still want to read it someday, it is worth it and…IRELAND is so beautiful and the mysterious setting AND captivating writing are so good. I think you'd enjoy it! 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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