Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Mayfair Bookshop by Eliza Knight

USA Today bestselling author Eliza Knight brings together a brilliant dual-narrative story about Nancy Mitford—one of 1930s London’s hottest socialites, authors, and a member of the scandalous Mitford Sisters—and a modern American desperate for change, connected through time by a little London bookshop.

1938: She was one of the six sparkling Mitford sisters, known for her stinging quips, stylish dress, and bright green eyes. But Nancy Mitford’s seemingly dazzling life was really one of turmoil: with a perpetually unfaithful and broke husband, two Nazi sympathizer sisters, and her hopes of motherhood dashed forever. With war imminent, Nancy finds respite by taking a job at the Heywood Hill Bookshop in Mayfair, hoping to make ends meet, and discovers a new life.

Present Day: When book curator Lucy St. Clair lands a gig working at Heywood Hill she can’t get on the plane fast enough. Not only can she start the healing process from the loss of her mother, it’s a dream come true to set foot in the legendary store. Doubly exciting: she brings with her a first edition of Nancy’s work, one with a somewhat mysterious inscription from the author. Soon, she discovers her life and Nancy’s are intertwined, and it all comes back to the little London bookshop—a place that changes the lives of two women from different eras in the most surprising ways.

Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 12, 2022 
by William Morrow Paperback
3.5/5 stars

It has been ages since I’ve read a Eliza Knight book. Prisoner of the Queen is one of my favourites, taking place during the reigns of Queen Mary and Elizabeth.

The Mayfair Bookshop takes place in the years preceding WW2, I haven’t been reading much HF lately and was anxious to get back at it. Coming in 400 pages I did alternate between print and audiobook.

The past storyline revolves around author Nancy Milford’s life in England and that of her family. I knew she had sibling who were supporters of Hitler but not to the extent it was. This book was a learning curve.

The present day story was minimal in content and to be honest wasn’t really necessary.

The Mayfair Bookshop is well written with details of Mitford’s relationships with family, her husband and the Heywood Hill Bookshop. It was hard to pinpoint exactly what the plot was - the war, marriage or her family. The last 100 pages are where things livened up as she took control of her life. I have added Mitford's book The Pursuit of Love to my tbr since that is the book she wrote during that time period.

The Mayfair Bookshop released on April 12 and available for purchase in all formats.

This book was part of my 2022 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge

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