Dorothy Caldwell Minor, aka The Book Whisperer, finds a story of triumph, resilience, and strength in New York Times bestselling author Madeline Martin‘s The Last Bookshop in London.
A little about Dorothy:
“I am an avid reader and also enjoy Indie and foreign movies. I retired from teaching English at Tulsa Community College after teaching as an adjunct first and then twenty-four years as a full-time faculty member. I was also involved in faculty development, planning and facilitating workshops for colleagues. I like technology and using technology to enhance learning. As an adjunct, I started a book club on campus, and it is still going strong thirty-one years later! I also belong to two other book clubs.I’ve included a picture from a Chautauqua Tea at TCC, complete with hat and brooch! I enjoy collecting vintage rhinestone brooches.”
Dorothy’s book club, Circle of Readers:
“We meet twice monthly. The first of the month, we all read a book and discuss it; the second time we meet, we discuss other books we’ve read. We enjoy inviting authors to join us! We have 20 members, and we are located in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. We enjoy reading fiction, historical fiction, memoir, nonfiction, YA.”
Read on for Dorothy’s review of The Last Bookshop in London:
As a fan of historical fiction and a fan of stories set in libraries and bookshops, I turned to The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin expecting a great read. I quickly discovered I had a hit in my hands.
Readers meet Grace and her lifelong friend Viv as they move from their village to London in 1939. While the girls have long dreamed of being in London, they arrive on the cusp of war, so they find that what they expected will be quite different from reality. Still, both Grace and Viv had little in their home village to which to return.
Mrs. Weatherford, Grace’s mother’s friend, rents a room to Grace and Viv. Grace’s mother had died; following her mother’s death, Grace learns her home actually belongs to her uncle. While her uncle and aunt allow her to live with them for a time while Grace works in her uncle’s store, her aunt makes it clear that she is not happy about having Grace around.
Viv immediately gets a job in a department store, but Grace has no references since her uncle refused to provide one. Mrs. Weatherford steps in and persuades a bookshop owner to give Grace a trial run of six months so that he can then write a letter of recommendation for her. Grace is not happy about a job in a bookstore since she is not much of a reader and fears she will be out of her depth.
Grace quickly discovers that a bookshop is not so different from her uncle’s store. And this store needs a good cleaning to begin with. Then Grace can begin to develop an understanding of the books and how they are arranged.
As the war continues and becomes more dangerous, Viv, Grace, and Mrs. Weatherford all face trials and challenges. They meet those challenges head-on and find ways to remain safe. Even when tragedy strikes, the women find ways to help others as a way to assuage their own grief.
The story is one of triumph over adversity and Martin has thrown in a little romance to sweeten the plot. When Grace begins reading to others trapped in bomb shelters until the all-clear sounds, I found myself rooting for her even more because she finds a way to keep people engaged and keep their minds off the potential bombing outside. On safe days, she continues the readings at the bookshop too.
Readers will find a story of triumph, resilience, and strength in The Last Bookshop in London.