Title: Bloomsbury Girls
Author: Natalie Jenner
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Publish Date: May 17, 2022
Source: Austenprose PR
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "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."
My Two Cents:
"Bloomsbury Girls" is the story of what seems like a wonderful bookstore in late 1940s, early 1950s London. Bloomsbury Books seems like the perfect place to while away the hours. Vast with an impeccable collection, it seems like a refuge of sorts. This place plays the perfect backdrop for three very fantastic protagonists: Vivien, Grace, and Evie. This is a great historical fiction story to sink into!
Each of these women is grappling with very different things in their personal lives but are brought together as they try to make their ways as women in a world that still very much seems to be grappling with women working outside of the home. Much of the book deals with how each of these women deals with the sexism that runs rampant through not only the book store but the world around them. The end of the war brought a lot of opportunity with it and it will take a lot for each of these women to find out how to seize the opportunity. I really loved how the author gave each woman her own back story and brought them together in the bookstore. It is clear that each of them are there for a very different reason but the bookstore still plays the role of both escape as well as a ticket to potentially better circumstances for each of our main characters.
The setting of Bloomsbury Books almost becomes another character in the book. Most of the main action in the book really happens within the walls of the bookstore. I love how the author even starts by breaking the characters down between those within the bookstore and those outside of the bookstore. It almost gives the feel of an upstairs-downstairs novel of sorts, which I loved. Breaking the characters out this way from the very beginning, really shaped the way that I thought about the book and was very effective to get the reader right into the action and understanding the roles of the different characters.
Some of the characters and story may seem familiar for those familiar with Jenner's previous offering: "The Jane Austen Society." Even if you haven't read that book, you can just as easily pick up this book and be right. I really enjoyed this book and this was a solid offering for my fellow histfic lovers!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Meg. I also enjoyed being in a London bookshop with the three main characters. The literary references were intriguing as well. I am all anticipation of what Jenner will write next.ReplyDelete
Looks like a book I'd enjoy. Have a great week.ReplyDelete