The Dictionary of Lost Words


4.13 (50,592 ratings by Goodreads)
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'An enchanting story about love, loss and the power of language' Elizabeth Macneal, author of The Doll Factory

Sometimes you have to start with what's lost to truly find yourself...

Motherless and irrepressibly curious, Esme spends her childhood at her father's feet as he and his team gather words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary.

One day, she sees a slip of paper containing a forgotten word flutter to the floor unclaimed.

And so Esme begins to collect words for another dictionary in secret: The Dictionary of Lost Words. But to do so she must journey into a world on the cusp of change as the Great War looms and women fight for the vote. Can the power of lost words from the past finally help her make sense of her future?

'A brilliant book about women and words - tender, moving and profound' Jacqueline Wilson

Readers LOVE The Dictionary of Lost Words:

'If you only read one book this year, let it be this one!'
'If you're a fan of The Binding and The Betrayals you will surely love this'
'A glorious combination of words, growing up, friendship, love, feminism and so much more'
'The best love letter to words and language'
'This book broke my heart ... I highly recommend it to any historical fiction fans ... it's one I will be reading again'
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Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 26mm | 342g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9781529113228
  • 2,322

Review Text

I absolutely loved this book! Thought-provoking, touching and subtly romantic; I finished it in tears
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Review quote

A brilliant book about women and words - tender, moving and profound -- Jacqueline Wilson An extraordinary, charming novel... Williams pins a whole, rich life to the page * The Times * Poignant, perfectly paced... a beautifully nuanced work -- Eithne Farry * Mail on Sunday * I absolutely loved this book! Thought-provoking, touching and subtly romantic; I finished it in tears -- Katie Fforde Williams's satisfying novel animates a fascinating history and imbues it with a feminist slant, asking how words mean different things to men and women -- Patricia Nicol * Sunday Times *
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Pip Williams was born in London, grew up in Sydney and now calls the Adelaide Hills home. She is the author of the much-loved memoir One Italian Summer and the national number one bestseller, The Dictionary of Lost Words, which was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize 2021. Pip has also published travel articles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
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Rating details

50,592 ratings
4.13 out of 5 stars
5 39% (19,618)
4 40% (20,465)
3 17% (8,464)
2 3% (1,647)
1 1% (398)
Book ratings by Goodreads
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