April 7, 2021
Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, London, Books About Books, “might also be a love story”
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Thank you for my invitation to participate in the 2021 Historical Fiction Blog Tour for The Last Bookshop in London. Thanks, #NetGalley @HarlequinBooks for my complimentary e ARC of #TheLastBookshopInLondon by @MadelineMMartin upon my request. All opinions are my own.
The Last Bookshop in London is a book about bookstores and a book about books set during the London Blitz during WW11. Grace Bennett has always wanted to move to the city, but the life she finds is not nearly what she expected as she hunts for a job, endures air raid shelters, and puts up black-out curtains. The only job she can find is at Primrose Hill, a dusty, old bookstore with a curmudgeonly owner. Grace, not sure she even loves reading that much, organizes and cleans the bookshop, gradually develops a love for books, enjoys a friendly relationship with a handsome and well-read customer named George, finds ways she can contribute to the war effort and the book community, and discovers the power of storytelling during the most difficult times.
The magic of reading in George’s words:
“Reading is going somewhere without ever taking a train or ship, an unveiling of new incredible worlds. It’s living a life you weren’t born into and a chance to see something colored by someone else’s perspective. It’s learning without having to face consequences of failures, and how best to succeed.”
Lots to Love! I’ve been eager to write a review for The Last Bookshop in London ever since I read the ARC last fall and it made my “Most Memorable Reads of 2020” list! This memorable story earns all the stars because it checked all my boxes for an especially satisfying, engaging, and enjoyable reading experience:
- likable, endearing, spunky, and realistic characters
- all the book talk…the joy of bonding over a book (The Count of Monte Cristo for Grace and George)
- a small, supportive community
- London and bookstore setting
- vivid details of the Blitz that will put you right on the street and in the shelter
- thoughtful and poignant themes: determination, perseverance during difficult times, kindness, found family, power of storytelling, community, the “keep calm and carry on” attitude of Londoners, loss and grief, and friendship
- a sweet romance
- a good balance between character-driven and plot-driven
- ordinary people making a difference, serving/helping others
I Wish: I found myself wishing that the author would have included letter excerpts between Grace and George. It was mentioned that they exchanged letters and built a relationship…readers like me would have appreciated a glimpse! Letter excerpts would have added even more enjoyment for me.
Gas Mask training during WW11.
Recommended: I’m enthusiastically recommending The Last Bookshop in London for WW11 histfic fans, for readers who love stories set in London, for those looking for a story about regular people courageously facing life in difficult times, and for book clubs. The story is surprisingly uplifting in light of its heavy subject matter.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Meet the Author, Madeline Martin
Madeline Martin lives in sunny Florida with her two daughters (known collectively as the minions), one incredibly spoiled cat and a man so wonderful he’s been dubbed Mr. Awesome. She is a die-hard history lover who will happily lose herself in research any day. When she’s not writing, researching or ‘moming’, you can find her spending time with her family at Disney or sneaking a couple spoonfuls of Nutella while giggling over cat videos. She also loves to travel and attributes her love of history to having spent most of her childhood as an Army brat in Germany.
Is The Last Bookshop in London on your TBR?
Do you love books about books and bookshops?
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text
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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.
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