The Last Bookshop in London... #BookReview

About the book:
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.

I finished The Library Spy by Madeline Martin and was thrilled to realize that I had The Last Bookshop in London on my kindle.

Books about books are some of my favorite stories. 

The novel spans the duration of World War 2. Grace, and her best friend Viv, move to London just before the war starts. Viv starts work at Harrods Department Store and Grace gets a job working at dusty old Primrose Hill Books for crotchety Mr. Evans. Viv soon joins the war effort and leaves London, but Grace remains behind.

The story is more narrative driven rather than character driven. Often the timeline moves along simply from descriptions of what happened during those weeks and months. Sometimes it felt like reading a history timeline. The story is also fairly predictable and focuses on what happened in the neighborhoods of London during the air raids and bombings. Characters and relationships are simple, but sweet.

But what the story lacks in depth, it makes up for in charm. It's a sweet story about a girl who doesn't read much until her boyfriend gives her his favorite book, The Count of Monte Cristo. As Grace reads it, a new world opens up to her and she discovers the joy that is literature. Working in the bookstore, she has ample reading material and she begins to make over the bookstore into something that draws people in. 

There are many nights of air raids, but reading helps so many people get through them, and through her reading and the bookstore, Grace begins to find a community. A community that comes together when she needs it.

I found the story quite delightful and heartwarming.

Thank you to the author and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Madeline Martin on her website or Instagram.

Read 3/23

* * * *
4/5 Stars