Review of The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin
This World War II-set novel is a love letter to books, to looking out for others, to forming friends-like-family connections, and to continuing to put one foot in front of another with hope for the future.
The Last Bookshop in London was inspired by the true story of one of the last bookstores to survive the Blitz.
Grace has been unceremoniously kicked out of her uncle's house without a reference for the years of service she provided in his country store. Along with her best friend Viv, whose parents want her to marry and settle down (something she has no interest in), Grace heads to her deceased mother's old friend in London to take refuge as World War II begins to rock Europe.
The young women's wartime experiences take Viv to glamorous Harrod's, settle Grace in a dusty old bookshop, shakes their makeshift household and family, and results in unexpected joys and love among the many tragedies and dark days.
We see Grace become won over by the creaky old store and by her gruff boss, the shifting role each woman plays in resisting the Nazis and aiding those around them, and the heartwarming friends-as-family evolutions. The love for books that grows in Grace--as well as the essential role of reading and the collective escapism of read-aloud stories--is satisfying and lovely.
The Last Bookshop in London is never sentimental but very powerful, and I was brought to tears while listening to it. I love a World War II-set book, and I adored The Last Bookshop in London.
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Madeline Martin is also the author of The Librarian Spy and various romance series.
You might also like the books on the Greedy Reading List Six Great Stories about Brave Women During World War II.