After a broken engagement and facing a bad case of writer’s block, bestselling author Katie Cabot flees Virginia for her best friend’s home in Mayfair, London. As she takes time to regroup, Katie finds comfort in the nearby Heywood Hill bookshop, a book lover’s paradise that has survived both world war and the internet.
When a customer arrives one day seeking a lost manuscript written by the iconic Nancy Mitford, eldest sister of the famous aristocratic family, Katie thinks she’s stumbled on the perfect distraction. During World War II, Nancy worked as a bookseller at Heywood, where she hosted midnight literary salons, and spied on French officers for the British government. But the more involved in the search Katie becomes, the less it seems she can avoid her own reality. And when her quest reveals a surprising link between the past and present, she’ll have to decide if life can ever measure up to fiction or if she’ll need to redefine the idea of a storybook ending.
Alternating between wartime and contemporary London, and featuring fascinating historical figure Nancy Mitford and the real-life Heywood Hill bookshop, The Bookseller’s Secret is Michelle Gable’s most thrilling novel yet.
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published August 17th 2021
by Graydon House
This is my first time reading Michelle Gable, I was drawn to this book partly because of the bookish theme but also it's fun to discover new authors.
Told from 2 POVs, with one being author Nancy Mitford during WW2. She is also a new to me author, I was hoping to feel that desire to read some of her books. I enjoyed getting to know her and her family dynamics, what an assorted bunch, and the setting of an actual bookstore, Heywood Hill's was nice.
Current day is Katie who has an obsession with Nancy Mitford. I found it interesting how she arrived in England, a recent separation from fiancée/writer's block (she is also an author). While searching for inspiration discovers Heywood Hills and begins a search for a long lost manuscript.
The Bookseller's Secret is a dialogue driven story and while that works (sometimes) I missed the atmospheric elements and feeling the era. While I struggled to connect with the characters I did enjoy the history lesson of Mitford's life but given the time period I would have liked more of a connection to the war to have felt more of an impact it had on the lives of Nancy and her friends.
For me The Bookseller's Secret was an okay read, while I didn't love it I have The Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable in my TBR pile and will give it a go.
My thanks to Graydon House (via Netgalley) for an e-arc of this book. It is on sale now.
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