The story is about a man named A.J. Fikry. He is old school, a book seller on Alice Island, who lives above his store. He abhors the electronic way of reading. Like I said, old school. (Like me.)
His wife is dead, his life is pretty predictable, book sales are down, and a rare collection of Poe poems, which he cherished, has been stolen.
Then life becomes totally unpredictable. He comes in from a run, and finds the front door is open.
He hears a cry, and finds a young child plopped on the floor of one of the book aisles. There is a note to him. Saying the mother wants her child, Maya, to live there and be a reader.
The mother writes that she has no one to help her, the baby’s father is not in her life, and that the child is 25 months old. She wants her child to grow up in a place with books, and among people who care about such things.
At first he is horrified. Who would have done such a thing? Leave a small child in an empty book store. And what does he know about children?
But he takes the child upstairs, and calls the police. It seems he might have to care for the little girl until social services has time to drop by and fetch her.
But A.J., despite all his reservations, becomes attached to little Maya. The child is quite precocious and she steals his heart, one bit at a time. After a time he is allowed to adopt her.
The other story here is that A.J. has found himself attracted to a book rep, who he managed to be quite uncivil with last she visited his place of business. He wants to rectify that. A.J. is not a smooth sell. He will have to win her over somehow.
So this is a story about a man who does indeed have a heart, though it will have to come out of the freezer. A young child who becomes his by way of a simple letter asking him to take her. A book rep that A.J. has feelings for, and a few other interesting characters.