August 30, 2021
Genre/Categories/Settings: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Books About Books, Librarians, Library, English Village
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary eARC upon my request. All opinions are my own.
A shy, lonely, and quirky librarian, June Jones, and a colorful cast of characters band together to fight against the closure of their local public library. Can June find courage for the fight and forge true friendships?
Quirky Characters: If you’ve followed my reviews and reading preferences for long, you might know that I adore quirky characters and admire their courage to live their best lives. June Jones gets added to my growing list of beloved quirky characters. She’s socially shy and bothered by loud noises but she has a heart for her library patrons and is the first to help them in any way possible. She sees that the library is a refuge for many, including herself. A cast of colorful characters and a handsome and kind male friend add to the story’s enjoyment.
Setting: Of course, a library setting in an English village warms my heart to the story! The library becomes like a character as we also care what happens in the fight to save it. We come to understand that the library is more than just books. It is a refuge for the elderly on hot days, a safe place for adolescents when they have no where to go after school, a place to check email, use a computer, or the printer (and get help using it), a place to see friends, a place to take classes and find helpful information, a place where you can ask questions, and a place for a homeless person to use the restroom.
POV and Structure: We experience the story from June’s point of view in a chronological timeline (a few flashbacks help us understand her childhood and her current situation). The first half of the story is heavily character-driven as the characters are developed, and the latter half of the story picks up the pace as the fight for the library and personal relationships intensify. I think the relationship between Alex and June could have been developed a bit more, but romance is not the focus of the story.
Themes: Thoughtful themes include the importance of libraries in the community and services they provide; books as a source of comfort, courage, and inspiration; friendship; courage; taking risks; finding your voice, self discovery; banding together; grief (moving on with life); and following your dream. I was able to overlook the predictability of the story and it’s neat and tidy ending in light of some heartwarming themes! I especially love the important reminder that libraries are a vital community resource and that librarians perform an essential service.
Recommended: Readers who are looking for a light, feel-good, HEA story will appreciate The Last Chance Library. Fans of books about books and libraries/librarians will find additional enjoyment! Librarians will certainly make a personal connection.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Meet the Author, Freya Sampson
Freya Sampson works in TV and was the executive producer of Channel 4’s Four in a Bed and Gogglesprogs. She studied History at Cambridge University and in 2018 was shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize. She lives in London with her husband, two young children and an antisocial cat.
Is The Last Chance Library on your TBR or have you read it?
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