by Pip Williams - £14.99 Vintage Publishing (2021)
hardback ISBN 13: 9781784743864 | ISBN 10: 1784743860
Discover the internationally bestselling debut, Shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
In 1901, the word 'bondmaid' was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it.
Motherless and irrepressibly curious, Esme spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of lexicographers are gathering words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Esme's place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard.
One day, she sees a slip containing the word 'bondmaid' flutter to the floor unclaimed. Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women's experiences often go unrecorded.
She begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words.
(Price & availability last checked: April 2021)
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