"Delightful." --People, Pick of the Week
*Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Katie Couric Media, the CBC, the Globe and Mail, BookBub, POPSUGAR, SheReads, Women.com and more!*
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.
Jenner (The Jane Austen Society) spins an illuminating yarn about a London bookstore. Evie Stone, one of the first female graduates of Cambridge University, begins cataloging rare books at Bloomsbury Books in 1949 after being denied a position at Cambridge as a research assistant. Vivien Lowry, a stylish woman and budding writer whose titled fianc was killed in WWII, also works at the shop and constantly competes with Alec McDonough, the store's head of fiction, over whose ideas for author appearances will bring in the most business. Grace Perkins, a mother with two young sons, enjoys working at Bloomsbury for the time away from her mercurial husband, Gordon. Though the business is struggling, the owner is reluctant to sell, because he enjoys seeing how the store brings together people of various walks of life. As London continues to recover from the war, the women depend upon one another to find fulfillment, with Vivian pulling off a luncheon at the store with Daphne du Maurier, and Grace considering whether to risk taking her sons and leaving Gordon. Evie, meanwhile, discovers love and adversity with the store's head of science and naturalism, Ashwin Ramaswamy, even as their relationship elicits racist scorn. Jenner's well-plotted narrative gains strength from the characters' bonds. Fans of emotional historical fiction will be charmed.
Great Book club Pick!
Vivian, Grace, and Evie work together in a male dominated workforce after WWII at Bloomsbury Bookstore in London. When their boss falls ill and has to take time off, will they be able to break his rules and start running the bookstore the way they see fit? Will they be able to break barriers? Will the men they work with be supportive and help them achieve their goals?
I loved how the author at the beginning of the book listed the characters and included a drawing of the book store! Helped to visualize where these ladies worked and how the store was laid out.
I absolutely loved this book from the cover to writing to the story, it just draws you in! Perfect book for those who loves a good Historical Fiction Read! Great for book clubs as well!