- Title: The Last Bookshop in London
- Author: Madeline Martin
- Publisher: Hanover Square Press on April 6, 2021
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Pages: 251
- Formats Available: Hardback, Paperback, Audiobook, Digital, and Audio CD
- Rating: 5/5
Trigger Warnings: Death, War, Graphic Descriptions of War Dead
Many thanks to NetGalley and Madeline Martin for providing me with a digital copy of The Last Bookshop in London with a request for an honest review.
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The Last Bookshop in London Blurb
August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and drawn curtains that she finds on her arrival are not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.
Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.NetGalley
Madeline Martin steps out of her historical romance shoes to try her hand at historical fiction with The Last Bookshop in London. As a lover of both genres, I can say with ease that Martin’s foray into historical fiction is a hit. She touches on every aspect of what makes me love history so much.
Grace and Viv leave country life to live it up in the big city. But things don’t quite go as planned. The girls’ plans to work together at Harrod’s as shopgirls hit a snag, and Grace ends up working at a dusty old bookshop. But, when Grace meets a handsome stranger he turns her world upside down with the gift of a book. Then the adventure really begins.
The second world war brought many changes to London. Bombs and incendiaries became commonplace. Friends and neighbors met a tragic fate. Rationing became the lay of the land, while victory gardens took over the majestic flower beds. I have no experience here as I am way too young to have lived in this era, but Martin made it all feel real. While I was in those pages, she made it come to life. I found myself wishing my grandmother was still here to ask her about her experiences during the war. I felt a pang in my heart that I never asked about her life while I had the chance.
It was nice to live vicariously through Grace. We are different in that I grew up loving books, while Grace discovered her love of words later in life. But, as her love for books grew, I came to know her. We were the same then, allowing the pages to make up our lives. I know that had I been a London resident at that time, I too would have lined up to listen to Grace read aloud. Her magic was more than her war work. Her magic was the love of sharing words.
I adored this book and never wanted it to end. For this reason, I award The Last Bookshop in London a full 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this novel to those who want to get swept away in the magic of books.
About the Author – Madeline Martin
New York Times and International Bestselling author writing historical fiction and historical romance.
She lives in sunny Florida with her two daughters (known collectively as the minions), one incredibly spoiled cat and a man so wonderful he’s been dubbed Mr. Awesome. She is a die-hard history lover who will happily lose herself in research any day. When she’s not writing, researching or ‘moming’, you can find her spending time with her family at Disney or sneaking a couple spoonfuls of Nutella while laughing over cat videos. She also loves research and travel, attributing her fascination with history to having spent most of her childhood as an Army brat in Germany.