Set during World War II, this novel for adults is inspired by the true story of several bookshops that survived the Blitz, the Nazi bombing of London, England. In 1939, 23-year-old Grace and her friend Viv move to London to get away from their dreary lives in a small town. The young women envision a lively, cultured existence in the big city. What they experience is anything but glamorous as the threat of a Nazi invasion looms.
Grace finds temporary employment in a dusty, disheveled bookshop in order to gain experience and a letter of recommendation as her ticket to a better place of employment. Convinced that she will complete her job in 6 months, Grace is hesitant to throw herself into the work. However, the encouragement of her employer, Mr. Evans, and a handsome young man, George Anderson—both avid readers and lovers of literature—change her perspective on the joys of reading and the importance of maintaining bookshops during times of crisis.
As the Blitz wears down the resolve of Londoners, Grace steps out with courage, serving as an air raid warden and reading novels to people hunkered down in a London subway station during the nightly bombings. Soon, she’s giving readings at Primrose Hill Books, building relationships with community members suffering the disorientation of war and “bringing them all along with her to a world where there were no bombs. There might be loss, and sometimes there may be fear, but there was also courage to face such challenges.”
Author Madeline Martin skillfully weaves together historical facts, a gentle romance, and an exploration of the human cost of war to make The Last Bookshop in London an informative and sensitive reading experience. (Hanover Square Press)