Author: Natalie Jenner
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
Book Description: Natalie Jenner, the internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society, returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way in a fast-changing world in Bloomsbury Girls.
Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare book store that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager’s unbreakable fifty-one rules. But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans:
Vivien Lowry: Single since her aristocratic fiance was killed in action during World War II, the brilliant and stylish Vivien has a long list of grievances–most of them well justified and the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the Head of Fiction.
Grace Perkins: Married with two sons, she’s been working to support the family following her husband’s breakdown in the aftermath of the war. Torn between duty to her family and dreams of her own.
Evie Stone: In the first class of female students from Cambridge permitted to earn a degree, Evie was denied an academic position in favor of her less accomplished male rival. Now she’s working at Bloomsbury Books while she plans to remake her own future.
As they interact with various literary figures of the time–Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others–these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: I absolutely did not want this book to end, I loved it so much. I adored Jenner’s first book, The Jane Austen Society, and I was worried this could be a sophomore slump, but this book far surpassed my expectations, and in my opinion is so much better. Natalie Jenner is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.
Taking place post WWII in a hundred year old bookshop, named Bloomsbury Books. The general manager, Mr. Dutton, runs the shop with a set a rules that employees must live by or be fired. Dutton, believes that women should not be promoted and they are best on the floor and making tea for the male employees, much to the dismay of the women and some of the men working there. Vivian, who lost her fiancé during the war, is made acting fiction manager when Mr. Dutton, take an extended leave and Alec is made acting General Manager. This action sets in motion things that will forever change the bookstore and the people who work there.
We also have a guest from The Jane Austen Society, Evie Stone who comes to work at the shop, but there might just be other motives for her working there. There are lot’s of appearances from famous authors and women who supported their famous literary husbands that help facilitate the progress of this story and make it all the more charming.
I cannot say enough of this book. It was so much fun to read this story, and I could not help rooting for these Bloomsbury Girls from the very first page. Jenner’s description’s are beautiful of this old book shop and the surrounding area of London. There is, mystery, romance and just about something for every reader out there. This will likely go down as one of my favorite books of this year.
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.