The Grandest Bookshop in the World
The Grandest Bookshop in the World

The Grandest Bookshop in the World

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Pearl and Vally Cole live in a bookshop. And not just any bookshop...

In 1893, Cole's Book Arcade in Melbourne is the grandest bookshop in the world, brimming with every curiosity imaginable. Each day brings fresh delights for the siblings: voice-changing sweets, talking parrots, a new story written just for them by their eccentric father.

When Pearl and Vally learn that Pa has risked the Arcade - and himself - in a shocking deal with the mysterious Obscurosmith, the siblings hatch a plan. Soon they are swept into a dangerous game with impossibly high stakes: defeat seven challenges by the stroke of midnight and both the Arcade and their father will be restored. But if they fail Pearl and Vally won't just lose Pa - they'll forget that he and the Arcade ever existed.

Museums Victoria's Cole's Book Arcade Collection houses over 80 wondrous and diverse items from the bookshop, including an booklet about 'Foolish and Sensible' clothing written by Coles himself, memorial medals for visitor's souvenirs and inspiration, an oak symphonion which would play music at the drop of a penny, and even an egg-laying mechanical hen! These are now on display in their own dedicated space, a recreated arcade in the Melbourne Gallery.
The arcade - also known as the Palace of Intellect - sold much more than just books, showcasing art, animals, confectionary and other curios from around the world. A destination in its own right, the store was visited by such figures as Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain, and often featured performers and live pianoforte. A true emblem of the Marvellous Melbourne era, this book - and collection - is an immersive dive into Melbourne's magical past.
Author: Amelia Mellor
  • ISBN: 9781925972955
  • Publisher: Affirm Press
  • Date of Publication: September 2020
  • Number of Pages: 320
  • Product Dimensions (cm): 13.5 x 20.5

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