Monday, April 5, 2021

Review: The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin

Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature.

August 1939: London is dismal under the weight of impending war with Germany as Hitler’s forces continue to sweep across Europe. Into this uncertain maelstrom steps Grace Bennett, young and ready for a fresh start in the bustling city streets she’s always dreamed of—and miles away from her troubled past in the countryside.

With aspirations of working at a department store, Grace never imagined she’d wind up employed at Primrose Hill, an offbeat bookshop nestled in the heart of the city—after all, she’s never been much of a reader. Overwhelmed with organizing the cluttered store, she doesn’t have time to read the books she sells. But when one is gifted to her, what starts as an obligation becomes a passion that draws her into the incredible world of literature.

As the Blitz rains down bombs on the city night after night, a devastating attack leaves the libraries and shops of London’s literary center in ruins. Miraculously, Grace’s bookshop survives the firestorm. Through blackouts and air raids, Grace continues running the shop, discovering a newfound comfort in the power of words and storytelling that unites her community in ways she never imagined—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of war-torn London.

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: April 6th 2021
 by Hanover Square Press
4/5 stars

The Last Bookshop in London is a fictional account of a few surviving bookshops of WW2. It has that coming of age feel that begins on the eve of the war in London.  Friends Grace and Eve arrive as the world is changing drastically and what follows is a journey of self discovery that is filled with heartache, grief and personal growth.  It isn't just Grace's friendship with Viv but developing relationships and how books comfort during a horrible time. I love bookish themed books

This was an enjoyable read with authentic characters that showed a side of the war I don't often read about.  From the air raid sirens, the men fighting and women doing their part I liked getting to know Grace, Mrs. Weatherford and even cranky Mr. Evans.  The author did the research and it showed. The historical part put me there as I witnessed bombings from a street level.

This is my first time reading a Madeline Martin book, I liked her writing style, her attention to detail and drawing me into a story that kept me entertained. Definitely a book and author I recommend, especially to those that love historical fiction.

My thanks to Hanover Square Press (via Netgalley) for a digitial arc in 
exchange for a honest review.


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