West Palm Beach has a lively downtown area known as the historic arts and entertainment district. The heart of this district is Clematis Street. This area is known for its indigenous flavor for arts, music, food, boutiques, specialty shops, and nightclubs. Thursday nights from 5:30-9pm come alive when Clematis Street transforms into Clematis By Night.
In my upcoming novel, Shrink Me, which is a romance mystery, I contemplated the perfect location for Jolene (my heroine) to have her “meet-cute.” The meet-cute is that special scene where the hero and heroine meet for the first time and a spark is ignited between them. Oftentimes, that original spark is squelched by a clash of interests or personalities only to be rekindled later in the book.
Oh how I love a sweet love story!
It wasn’t long into my search for the meet-cute location that I found the perfect store on Clematis Street. It’s a charming little shop called Liberty Book Store.
Prior to my flight into Florida, I contacted the store owner, Thorne, via email and asked him if I could highlight his store in my story. He generously agreed and when I was in town, Thorne personally showed my husband and I around his shop. It was a splendid adventure.
I learned a lot from Thorne about his knowledge of literature and pricing vintage books. He says, “Condition is everything.” Wear and tear. Stains. Complete pages. Smell. The spine. All these things factor into the worth of a book.
In the back of the store is a special room that will make a book collector’s dream come true. The antiquarian book room contains hundreds of association copies, first edition, signed and rare books. Locked glass display cases hold prized collections of Charles Dickens and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The Nonesuch Dickens 24 Volumes are a limited edition and includes the steel plate for the image “Mr. Noodle is led to the contemplation of his destiny,” proof print, and letter of authenticity. The price: $6,500.00.
In a glass case, near the front of the store was an item I found worn and beautiful. It was a copy of the Holy Bible printed in 1811. Price: $1,350.00.
On the door of the rare book room is a sign that says, “I cannot live without books,” by Thomas Jefferson. That quote says it perfectly.
I am in love with books. I am in love with writing them, reading them, studying them, and collecting them. I need books. I’m drawn to book stores like a kid to a candy shop. Perhaps that is why I needed my heroine, Jolene to love books as well.
If you are ever on the east coast of Florida, make it a point to visit Liberty Book Store located on Clematis St., Ste. 117 , West Palm Beach, FL 33401.