Book Review: The Dictionary of Lost Words

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) The Dictionary of Lost Words – Pip Williams

I didn’t know what to expect from this book but I had heard good things about it so thought I’d give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the story and characters, as well as the social commentary on what is deemed important enough to be recorded and who gets to decide. 

Esme is a young girl who lives with her father near Oxford University who follows her father to work each day as he and a group of scholars endeavor to create the first Oxford English Dictionary. As the years go by, Esme becomes aware that only some words are deemed important enough to be included in the dictionary and she quickly realizes that many words women and common folk use do not make the cut. As Esme faces the challenges of life in the early 20th century, including women’s suffrage and the first World War, she continues to gather ‘lost words’ in hopes of saving them for future generations and giving voice to the women who live in a world formed by them. 

This story is based on true events and Pip Williams does a brilliant job of weaving the historical narrative with an intriguing story containing both historical and fictional characters. This was a great book to get lost in (pun intended)! The mixture of great storytelling, historical narrative, and social commentary made this book tough to set down! If you enjoy good storytelling and historical fiction I highly recommend picking this one up! 

Read on my friends!

-Haddi encourages you to support local, small, independent bookstores whenever possible. If you would like to purchase online while still supporting independent bookstores, please consider purchasing from

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