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Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature. 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 blackout curtains that she fin Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature. 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 blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were 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.


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Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature. 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 blackout curtains that she fin Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature. 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 blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were 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.

30 review for The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kerrin P

    The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin is a lovely tribute to the people of London who survived the Blitz during World War II. The story emphasizes what true fighters Londoners were during this horrific time. Many of them had two jobs, first their regular employment, and second their numerous volunteer jobs such as firefighting, searching for survivors, bomb squads, and medical assistance. The heroine of The Last Bookshop in London is Grace Bennett. She moves to London with her best frien The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin is a lovely tribute to the people of London who survived the Blitz during World War II. The story emphasizes what true fighters Londoners were during this horrific time. Many of them had two jobs, first their regular employment, and second their numerous volunteer jobs such as firefighting, searching for survivors, bomb squads, and medical assistance. The heroine of The Last Bookshop in London is Grace Bennett. She moves to London with her best friend, Viv, in 1939 prior to the start of the war. The two women live with Grace’s late mother’s best friend, Mrs. Weatherford, and her son, Colin. While Grace had worked tirelessly in her Uncle’s shop in the country, he refuses to give her the necessary letter of recommendation to obtain a department store position. Based upon Mrs. Weatherford’s insistence with the owner, Grace gets a job for six months at Primrose Hill Books. While Grace is not a reader, she dedicates herself to cleaning up and organizing the messy store in hopes of getting the much-needed letter of recommendation so she can go work with Viv at Harrods. A handsome customer named George explains to Grace the magic of reading and gives her his much-loved copy of The Count of Monte Cristo prior to leaving for war. Grace soon becomes an avid reader and the business at the bookshop grows. She and George correspond when possible during the war and bond over their love of books. Grace volunteers three nights a week as an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) warden, a job many deem unsuitable for a woman. Grace becomes known for her reading of books inside the local tube station during air raids. The struggles she faces in the midst of the destruction sometimes seem overwhelming. But Grace, like most Londoners, keeps calm and carries on. On her website, the author, Madeline Martin, describes her writing style as follows: “I write books filled with twists and turns, adventure, steamy romance, empowered heroines and the men who are strong enough to love them.” Since I don’t normally read steamy romance novels, I was hesitant to request this book, which is her first World War II historical fiction. I am so glad I did. This charming book does not fit her usual writing style. 5-Stars. Book club recommended. I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Thanks to Hanover Square Press/Harper-Collins for my advanced reader copy in exchange for a review. This novel will be on sale on April 20, 2021.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    THE LAST BOOKSHOP IN LONDON is my kind of cuppa: The Blitz, lit, friendship, romance, and gutsy Brits who keep calm and carry on through constant bombings. Based on a true story, which shows that when all else fails, books and friends radiate hope in darkness. Especially apt during COVID times. 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 20 Apr 2021 #TheLastBookshopinLondon #NetGalley Thanks to the author, HARLEQUIN – Trade Publishing (U.S, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    This is WWII Historical Fiction. This was a solid 3 stars for me. I liked the idea behind the last bookshop in London. Grace, the MC, kind of fell into working there and was able to breathe life back into the store. She was also a strong character which was nice to see. And she had a strong moral compass. The one thing that kept this from being 4 stars was the overly sweet nature of so many elements. Even though I liked the MC, she was just a little too "cotton candy" for me. Plus add in the poli This is WWII Historical Fiction. This was a solid 3 stars for me. I liked the idea behind the last bookshop in London. Grace, the MC, kind of fell into working there and was able to breathe life back into the store. She was also a strong character which was nice to see. And she had a strong moral compass. The one thing that kept this from being 4 stars was the overly sweet nature of so many elements. Even though I liked the MC, she was just a little too "cotton candy" for me. Plus add in the polite children, adopting orphans, falling in love with Mr. Perfect, having so many warm and fuzzy parent like figures in life and Grace's King Midas touch. It was sprinkled liberally over everything. If this were a donut then fine....bring on the sprinkles, powdered sugar and the glaze, but it's not. So 3 stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Grace and Viv left their small home town of Dayton and moved to London to get away from an uncle and overbearing parents. They had no idea things would get as bad as they did. Grace found a job in a bookstore....how fun to arrive in London and to work in a bookshop. Viv worked as a sales clerk at Harrod’s. The funny thing was that Grace had no love of books, but that was the only job she could find since war was about to break out. She had to deal with the grumpy shop owner, but she made the best Grace and Viv left their small home town of Dayton and moved to London to get away from an uncle and overbearing parents. They had no idea things would get as bad as they did. Grace found a job in a bookstore....how fun to arrive in London and to work in a bookshop. Viv worked as a sales clerk at Harrod’s. The funny thing was that Grace had no love of books, but that was the only job she could find since war was about to break out. She had to deal with the grumpy shop owner, but she made the best of the situation. A handsome, helpful customer, George, that visited the book shop and smiled at Grace made the shop more bearable. He was also helpful and gave Grace ideas about getting the shop organized after all these years. Grace brought new life and more business to Primrose Hill Books. Her organization had customers buying more and staying longer. She was a success and knew she would get a wonderful letter of recommendation if she could last for her required six months. All things weren’t great, though. The children in London were taken from their parents and sent to the country, and George and Colin, their landlady’s son, were sent off to war leaving Grace, Viv, and Mrs. Weatherford alone. As the women are alone, Grace learns the beauty of books and how they can take you to another place and keep the story with you. Viv learns that she can’t work at Harrod’s when she knows other women are doing things for their country. Mrs. Weatherford learns to cope with her son being gone and with helping others while continuing to take care of Grace. Readers will hear of the London bombings which I didn’t know were so often and so devastating, but for the most part bookworms will not want to miss THE LAST BOOKSHOP IN LONDON. It is a must read because of the bookshop setting, London, and the endearing characters. The characters are just so heartwarming and genuine. This book would definitely be good for a reluctant reader because Grace shares how she turned from a non-reader to one who can’t stop reading and recommending and turning others into readers and book lovers. THE LAST BOOKSHOP IN LONDON is a lovely, lovely read and a tribute to mankind in times of need. You will need some tissues and many ways to tell everyone how wonderful this book is. 5/5 This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sundin

    Charming and uplifting, The Last Bookshop in London shows the beauty of what happens when people reach outside themselves and help others. With excellent research, Madeline Martin brings World War II London to life, and her characters are rich and varied. This novel has become a New York Times and USA Today bestseller with good reason. For my more sensitive readers – please note this is a clean read – enjoy!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    Poignant, affecting, and beautifully written! The Last Bookshop in London is an engaging, moving tale set during WWII that follows Grace Bennett, a young woman who heads to London in the fall of 1939 in the hopes of a better life and a glamourous career only to find herself employed in a dusty bookshop and war being declared. The writing is seamless and smooth. The characters are brave, resilient, and supportive. And the plot is an absorbing tale of life, loss, family, heartbreak, friendship, self Poignant, affecting, and beautifully written! The Last Bookshop in London is an engaging, moving tale set during WWII that follows Grace Bennett, a young woman who heads to London in the fall of 1939 in the hopes of a better life and a glamourous career only to find herself employed in a dusty bookshop and war being declared. The writing is seamless and smooth. The characters are brave, resilient, and supportive. And the plot is an absorbing tale of life, loss, family, heartbreak, friendship, self-discovery, community, determination, tragedy, survival, and love. As some of you may already know, I’m originally from Coventry, a city heavily bombed during the war. And as my dad was born in 1937, I grew up hearing how a bomb exploded in his backyard 30 ft from the house leaving a crater two garden widths wide, and how he would count the number of new houses missing each morning on his way to school. But as that generation ages and memories start to fade, these stories are so important in reminding us how much novels helped and continue to help people cope with devastating circumstances and unimaginable losses, as well as how the strength, courage, selflessness, and sacrifices of that generation enabled us the lives we lead today. I loved The Last Bookshop in London, and I hope everyone who enjoys historical fiction picks this one up. Thank you to Madeline Martin & HTP Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    All the stars! ALL THE STARS!! This book just took my heart out of my chest, stomped on it and put it back. Sad tears and some happy tears. There are not enough WW2 books centered on ordinary people. Not everyone was a spy in WW2. More books like this, please!

  8. 4 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    It’s 1939 and Grace Bennett and her best friend Viv move to London to live with Mrs. Weatherford, a close family friend. Viv gets a job at Harrods but without any references, Grace is unable to join her friend working at the department store. To earn a letter of recommendation, she agrees to work for six months at Primrose Hill Books for Mr. Evans, a grumpy man who has let his shop become disorganized and unkempt. While Grace has never embraced books and reading, she is quickly able to clean up It’s 1939 and Grace Bennett and her best friend Viv move to London to live with Mrs. Weatherford, a close family friend. Viv gets a job at Harrods but without any references, Grace is unable to join her friend working at the department store. To earn a letter of recommendation, she agrees to work for six months at Primrose Hill Books for Mr. Evans, a grumpy man who has let his shop become disorganized and unkempt. While Grace has never embraced books and reading, she is quickly able to clean up the shop and find ways to boost business. Soon England declares war on Germany and Londoners experience the nightmare of the Blitz. With Grace’s help, Primrose Hill Books becomes a bright light in the community as death and destruction is all around them. The Last Bookshop in London is a moving homage to those who lived through this period and is also a celebration of books and the love reading. Grace becomes an avid reader and shares her love of books with the people around her. She reads aloud during the air raids to an audience needing an escape from all that is surrounding them. The magic of books was best expressed in the following passage, said to Grace from a man she meets in the bookstore after she asks him, “What do you like best about reading?” “Reading is...It’s going somewhere without ever taking a train or ship, an unveiling of new, incredible worlds. It’s living a life you weren’t born into and a chance to see everything colored by someone else’s perspective. It’s learning without having to face consequences of failures, and how best to succeed. I think within all of us, there is a void, a gap waiting to be filled by something. For me, that something is books and all their proffered experiences.” This engaging novel features a rich cast of characters who show remarkable resiliency during the worst of times. It demonstrates so well how people can come together and rebuild. And how books can make a difference. Rated 4.25 stars. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    One of the most precious things I get to do with my husband is read books. We love to sit in our favorite places and read together. We’re our own special book club. This novel kept reminding me of this because in this people talk, read and gathered because of books. You see, a book shares things with us. It changes us, transports us into something else. Books makes me grateful, sometimes sad, but always grateful. This all happened during the war in London and it was a wonderful story. I highly r One of the most precious things I get to do with my husband is read books. We love to sit in our favorite places and read together. We’re our own special book club. This novel kept reminding me of this because in this people talk, read and gathered because of books. You see, a book shares things with us. It changes us, transports us into something else. Books makes me grateful, sometimes sad, but always grateful. This all happened during the war in London and it was a wonderful story. I highly recommend it. The audiobook was done very well. This was a library loan from my local library. Happy Reading.

  10. 4 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    Comfort in a time of trial! The building of a story around a young woman, Grace Bennett, discovering the joy of books and bookshops. Translating that love into something special during these times. Grace ends up working in a bookstore off from the main drag. Ultimately she finds herself reading to assorted people who share her Underground Shelter during the London Blitz. Sometimes they come to the bookstore for continuations, a masterful stroke! Oh and yes there is a gentleman. He really is! Such Comfort in a time of trial! The building of a story around a young woman, Grace Bennett, discovering the joy of books and bookshops. Translating that love into something special during these times. Grace ends up working in a bookstore off from the main drag. Ultimately she finds herself reading to assorted people who share her Underground Shelter during the London Blitz. Sometimes they come to the bookstore for continuations, a masterful stroke! Oh and yes there is a gentleman. He really is! Such a joyous story in the midst of hardship and tragedy. What is special is the way Grace grows from a shy country girl into her own person A Harlequin ARC via NetGalley

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    I absolutely loved this book. I borrowed a library copy and after finishing I immediately bought a copy for my own bookshelf. There’s just so many golden nuggets of inspiration between its pages. Heroine Grace Bennett’s story is centered around a small, much older bookshop, Primrose Hill Books, during wartime London. This is a story of hope and courage during the darkest of days. Grace and her best friend move to London, but without any references Grace has to take the only job offered - a clerk I absolutely loved this book. I borrowed a library copy and after finishing I immediately bought a copy for my own bookshelf. There’s just so many golden nuggets of inspiration between its pages. Heroine Grace Bennett’s story is centered around a small, much older bookshop, Primrose Hill Books, during wartime London. This is a story of hope and courage during the darkest of days. Grace and her best friend move to London, but without any references Grace has to take the only job offered - a clerk at a bookstore. The problem she faces at her new job is she’s not a reader. She meets a customer George who introduces her to The Count of Monte Cristo. From there she goes on to more books, finding pleasure in reading and enjoying George’s frequent visits to the bookshop. Then Britain declares war on Germany. George is a pilot and is called into service. Through written letters, a romance blooms between Grace and George. I loved the many endearments of friendship, kindness, generosity and encouragement - all to be found through this one small bookshop, and it’s new community of readers brought on by war. They are an entity in itself all brought together through their shared love of books. This is an all around heartwarming story that brought smiles to my face, along with a few tears. It’s excellent from beginning to end. I highly recommend.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David

    The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin provides a look inside London during the Blitz by German bombers and the impact on the local population. Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature. August 1939, as London prepares for war and Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe, Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin provides a look inside London during the Blitz by German bombers and the impact on the local population. Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature. August 1939, as London prepares for war and Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe, Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. In addition she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop in the heart of London but giver her limited work experience, this was one of the few opportunities she found available to her. 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. As time goes on and the war continues she finds herself growing fond of the bookshop clientele as well as the gruff old owner who will give her a recommendation for a better job after she finishes working there for 6-months. She almost immediately begins to leave her mark with improvements to the look and organization of the shop and even develops her own love of reading and sharing stories during the bombings.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    We have read many books about heroes from WW II. They are inspiring and make us wonder what we would do if there were a national crisis. What we often forget is the role ordinary people play in helping their neighbors and keeping up morale. Grace Bennett is one of those people. When she came to London she was riding the coattails of her friend Viv. She was not a reader, but the bookshop job was available so she took it. Then war strikes and the air raids begin. In the midst of the tumult of war We have read many books about heroes from WW II. They are inspiring and make us wonder what we would do if there were a national crisis. What we often forget is the role ordinary people play in helping their neighbors and keeping up morale. Grace Bennett is one of those people. When she came to London she was riding the coattails of her friend Viv. She was not a reader, but the bookshop job was available so she took it. Then war strikes and the air raids begin. In the midst of the tumult of war and the blitz, Grace Bennett shines. When she begins reading 'Middlemarch' aloud to fellow Londoners while taking shelter in the train station I had to grab my tissues. What a poignant reminder of the power of books! We can't all be a Nancy Wake ('Code Name Helene' by Ariel Lawhon) or a Virginia Hall ('The Invisible Woman' by Erika Rebuck), but we can be a Grace Bennett. We can show up. We can look out for our neighbors. We can be a light. Thank you to Hanover Square and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Admittedly I don’t read much historical fiction, but when I do I really like when the book is inspired by true events like this one was. Also, a book being set partially in a bookstore is always a bonus so I was intrigued before I even started this. It begins in mid 1939 as Grace and her best friend Viv head to London hoping to find jobs. Grace needs a letter of recommendation so she takes a job as an assistant at a bookshop even though it’s the last place she actually wants to work. Soon enough Admittedly I don’t read much historical fiction, but when I do I really like when the book is inspired by true events like this one was. Also, a book being set partially in a bookstore is always a bonus so I was intrigued before I even started this. It begins in mid 1939 as Grace and her best friend Viv head to London hoping to find jobs. Grace needs a letter of recommendation so she takes a job as an assistant at a bookshop even though it’s the last place she actually wants to work. Soon enough all hell breaks lose as the war starts and it’s an emotional, compelling story of community, friends who become family and ultimately hope. I really enjoyed my time with this one and found it to be a true escape for me. Grace was a lovely character and the supporting cast was full of interesting and endearing people as well. If you’re looking for a book that will leave you feeling hopeful in the end, give this one a try.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Loved this novel. I didn’t want it to end. Enchanting characters. Outstanding narrator. A rich, full story of living in London during World War II. This brought out the best in many people while the hardship was endured.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kav

    First things first: for those of you who know that I'm an avid Christian Fiction reader, this isn't of that genre. I stumbled across it in my library's audio book collection and was beguiled by that alluring cover and the notion that stories help triumph over evil. That right there tugged at my bibliophile heartstrings! I'm happy to report that this is a clean read with the exception of a few (very few) mild expletives. So mild, that I'm guessing most readers won't even notice them or find them First things first: for those of you who know that I'm an avid Christian Fiction reader, this isn't of that genre. I stumbled across it in my library's audio book collection and was beguiled by that alluring cover and the notion that stories help triumph over evil. That right there tugged at my bibliophile heartstrings! I'm happy to report that this is a clean read with the exception of a few (very few) mild expletives. So mild, that I'm guessing most readers won't even notice them or find them offensive if they do. What I loved: The way this story captures the heart and spirit of ordinary Londoners during the Blitz. Honestly, I wept in places and am in awe of the resiliency and courage these ordinary citizens possessed. We watch it all unfold from Grace's perspective and it's funny and sad and poignant and heartwrenching and there's even a wee bit of romance. Exactly what you'd expect from a WWII novel...but with books!!!! One of my favourite quotes: "Reading is going somewhere without ever taking a train or ship. An unveiling of new incredible worlds. It's living a life you weren't born into and a chance to see everything coloured by someone else's perspective. It's learning without having to face consequences of failures and how best to succeed." This whole story is a celebration of books and how they help and comfort us through the darkest times. I've experienced their healing power in my own life and watching Grace's journey of discovery shot thrills through me. Because...gasp...she starts out as a non-reader! And then she walks into this dusty old London bookshop and her life is forever changed. The kind of spellbinding tale that leaves a reader euphoric by the end, weeping happy/sad tears and hiccup-sighing over the sheer beauty of it all.

  17. 5 out of 5

    ☕️Kimberly

    The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin drew me in with its World War 11 time period and bookshop setting in London. Rich, captivating and well written Madeline Martin pulled me into the story and endeared me to these characters. It’s 1939 and with the threat of an impending war with Hilter, Grace Bennett and her best friend Viv, set out to London to live in the home of her late mother’s best friend. Without a letter of referral from her Uncle, Mrs. Weatherford secures her a position at th The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin drew me in with its World War 11 time period and bookshop setting in London. Rich, captivating and well written Madeline Martin pulled me into the story and endeared me to these characters. It’s 1939 and with the threat of an impending war with Hilter, Grace Bennett and her best friend Viv, set out to London to live in the home of her late mother’s best friend. Without a letter of referral from her Uncle, Mrs. Weatherford secures her a position at the Primrose Hill Book Store with its owner the, curmudgeon Mr. Evans. Grace dreamed of working in the department stores like Viv, and knows nothing about books, but a handsome young man gifts her a book before he is called up to war and opens the door to a passion for the written word. From the bookish goodness, to the rich details of life in London during the bombings and the goings on in Grace’s life. We have a slow-burn side of romance, but the primary focus is Grace, the bookshop and her impact of the surrounding community during these dark and difficult times. Grace is wonderful and felt genuine. She affects the lives of everyone she touches. I found myself swept up and transported to London. I could smell the musty books and the fires that burned. I imagined myself in the bomb shelters, and after shortages from the pandemic, wondered at rations and conditions folks endured during the war. Martin touched on the losses too, and I swiped the tears from my eyes more than once. Fans of historical fiction with historical details of WWII in London will want to add this story to their bookshelves. Fans of bookshop tales who haven’t dabbled in historical fiction should give this one a try. The bookshop is central to the story with talks about some fantastic titles. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Lowe

    This ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is an interesting read, however it was just not memorable. The plot and setting of the story are similar to several WWII books that are currently available. As a librarian I would recommend this book for our adult book club, due its ease of reading and potential for a great discussion. The downside of this book is that it is just like all the other WWII books within the last two years. This topic has been overused, thi This ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is an interesting read, however it was just not memorable. The plot and setting of the story are similar to several WWII books that are currently available. As a librarian I would recommend this book for our adult book club, due its ease of reading and potential for a great discussion. The downside of this book is that it is just like all the other WWII books within the last two years. This topic has been overused, this coming from someone who is a history major and a huge fan of historical fiction. The book was okay, just not great.

  19. 5 out of 5

    ❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀

    4 Stars

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anna Holmes

    I received this book for free from the author for an unbiased review. Let me share my first favorite quote, "I think within all of us, there is a void, a gap waiting to be filled by something. For me, that something is books and all their proffered experiences." -Madeline Martin, The Last Bookshop in London. Never has there been a more honest quote about how I feel about books! Okay, I sat down at 9:00 Sunday night(last night) and at 11:30, I finished it. A mere three hours that caused me to lau I received this book for free from the author for an unbiased review. Let me share my first favorite quote, "I think within all of us, there is a void, a gap waiting to be filled by something. For me, that something is books and all their proffered experiences." -Madeline Martin, The Last Bookshop in London. Never has there been a more honest quote about how I feel about books! Okay, I sat down at 9:00 Sunday night(last night) and at 11:30, I finished it. A mere three hours that caused me to laugh, sigh, cry, and have tons of happiness fill my soul. Let me start at the beginning, because according to Mary Poppins, the beginning is a very good place to start. :) Madeline Martin is a phenomenal author/authoress, and I am a huge fan of hers. She generally writes romances that include strong feminine leads with Scottish men. Yeah, that is one of my favorite genres, but this book is a historical fiction, and not quite a romance at all. I am not saying there isn't hint of romance in hit, but it is not the focus. The focus of this book, if I had to choose, would be hope. Hence the following second favorite quote from The Last Bookshop in London, "It is through books that we can find the greatest hope..." The book opens with Grace Bennett and her best friend forever, Viv, enroute to London, England to live with her deceased mother's best friend, Mrs. Weatherford. The book begins in 1939 and ends in 1945. If you know me, you know that one of my favorite time periods to learn about is World War II. One of the best things about this author is that she does a crazy amount of research for all of her books, and the reader will undoubtedly learn something. Okay, I digress, back to Grace. Grace's mother died and she has spent the entire time since then being belittled by her uncle and aunt and running their store. Her friend, Viv, is this stylish lady, who apparently had to work in the garden her entire life and was not happy in her childhood. Where Viv is stylish and has tons of confidence to boot, Grace is unsure of herself, what to do, and how she is going to survive without being a burden. Mrs. Weatherford assists Grace in getting a job at Primrose Hill Bookshop, and the only catch, is that it is for six months and Grace isn't a reader or a lover of books. At this point in the book, I was like, do what? Why am I reading this? I don't understand non readers. But, I was super invested and had to know what would happen! World War II happens and you find out what kind of mettle Grace is truly made of. She is a hero in her own right and quite a champion, in her own way. I LOVE her! She is exactly what I want to be for the children I teach, and she isn't a teacher. She is a beacon of hope! I daresay, if you have read this entire review so far, you must go and purchase this book! It is amazing. In summary, it has the historical factor, it has the brilliant story, real characters, and action that keeps you anxiety up. It stirs you soul! Read it, my reader friends! This book is in my top ten favorite books of all time. It has this awesome quote in it that totally resounds with me, and I am sure, with you. I have included it here- "No one told her finishing the book would leave her so bereft. It was though she'd said goodbye for the last time to a close friend." Madeline Martin, The Last Bookshop in London. The craziness of 2020 has left us needing hope, just like the people and dear Grace in this book. Also the amazing things about books are that we can go back and reread to say hi again to those dear friends!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This is one of my favorite books of 2021 so far; definitely a keeper. How delightful it was to find an author who can immerse me in two of my favorite subjects, the love of literature and WWII without resorting to sex scenes or terrible language to do it. I am always leery when reading new secular authors because you never know. I read lots of Christian historical fiction, partially for that reason. Grace is an admirable character, and to experience her excitement as she begins discovering the j This is one of my favorite books of 2021 so far; definitely a keeper. How delightful it was to find an author who can immerse me in two of my favorite subjects, the love of literature and WWII without resorting to sex scenes or terrible language to do it. I am always leery when reading new secular authors because you never know. I read lots of Christian historical fiction, partially for that reason. Grace is an admirable character, and to experience her excitement as she begins discovering the joy of reading is amazing. I intend to see what else this author has written.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Linda Maxfield

    An absolutely amazing story about living in London during World War II and the Blitz. This is the first time I've read anything in this genre. It is Heart warming and heart breaking at the same time. I couldn't put it down. Madeline Martin did an amazing job in creating this story. I received an Advanced copy in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. An absolutely amazing story about living in London during World War II and the Blitz. This is the first time I've read anything in this genre. It is Heart warming and heart breaking at the same time. I couldn't put it down. Madeline Martin did an amazing job in creating this story. I received an Advanced copy in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elodie

    The Last Bookshop in London A Novel of World War II Madeline Martin https://www.facebook.com/MadelineMart... Release Date 04/06/2021 Publisher Hanover Square Press 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 blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in th The Last Bookshop in London A Novel of World War II Madeline Martin https://www.facebook.com/MadelineMart... Release Date 04/06/2021 Publisher Hanover Square Press 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 blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were 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. 𝗠𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄 A coming of age tale with books as incentives ... Firstly I need to harangue the author : Madeline! You made me cry ... This book is not a romance in the common sense of the terme, yet it is a love story. How books bring people together, how they help them face adversity, how they rescue them from dark places and make them be better persons. I even googled Paternoster row, and the war pictures were devastating, yet from those ashes life rose and blossomed. Being French, I am not fond of the WWII period, it was a dirty war which revealed the blackness of the human soul, and the stories told by my grandfather a policeman and my father a teen turned photographer did not alleviate its bleakness. And maybe it is also because it is too close to home, time and distance I am not attracted by the era. But after watching The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I was curious to learn more about this dramatic time through the prism from the other side of the Channel. And I just loved this book, a love declaration to books and their sheer power of one is willing to be open to them. During this destructive period, books were nearly the only entertaining, the news only brought lists of death and destructions, so being able to jump in an other life, place or time regardless of the time or area, it was an incommensurable luxury. One of the reason Hitler destroyed some many previous books in his gigantic auto-de-fe. So, here we follow Grace, a young woman now orphaned who makes her way in London at the worst possible time, on the Eve of the WWII, she needs a job to help her sustain her and provide a recommendation letter for a better job later. She is no reader, so when she lands a place in a bookshop, she is like a bull in a china shop. But hard work never scared her, so she rolls her sleeves and goes to work. One day at a time she slowly wins her employer’s regard. All the while enduring the hardship of a war period, with all its losses and horrors. From the lost young woman who first stepped in the big city, she morphs to a self assured one. she, with compassion and efforts, builds a new family, made of add-on-parts, but one of the heart. She is no warrior nor amazon, but she finds her own way to provide help, comfort and respite. A wonderful tale of ordinary heroes, with their sole courage they keep going and living, of their resilience, thirst of life and love shared for words. 5 stars because there is no higher ranking number. 𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹 none I have been granted an advance copy by the publisher Hanover Square Press, here is my true and unbiased opinion. https://www.facebook.com/429830134272...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sage

    Stayed up very late to finish this and I have no regrets. This book was simply beautiful, and made me tear up multiple times. WWII London, strong female protagonist, books — what’s not to love? It’s like I conjured this book into existence with all of my favorite things. This book was just lovely and I sped through it. Grace’s relationship with Mr. Evans will forever leave a lump in my throat. Every chapter was so vivid. I felt like I was there in the bombings, I was there in the tube station li Stayed up very late to finish this and I have no regrets. This book was simply beautiful, and made me tear up multiple times. WWII London, strong female protagonist, books — what’s not to love? It’s like I conjured this book into existence with all of my favorite things. This book was just lovely and I sped through it. Grace’s relationship with Mr. Evans will forever leave a lump in my throat. Every chapter was so vivid. I felt like I was there in the bombings, I was there in the tube station listening to Grace read aloud during the air raids, I was there in the bookshop looking at all of the colorful and creative book displays. The overarching themes of resilience and the power of community are definitely relevant in COVID times. Just a lovely, stunning, brilliant book that I enjoyed very much.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    Series: Standalone Publication Date: 4/6/21 Number of Pages: 320 ** 5 Stars ** This is an engrossing, exciting, hold-your-breath read that will suck you right into the story and won’t let you go. I read it in one sitting because I absolutely couldn’t put it down! It had all of the ‘feels’ in it – sorrow, grief, happiness, friendship, love, family (blood & not), terror, loss – you name it, you will feel it before you are through with the story. The tale is crafted with descriptions so vivid they put Series: Standalone Publication Date: 4/6/21 Number of Pages: 320 ** 5 Stars ** This is an engrossing, exciting, hold-your-breath read that will suck you right into the story and won’t let you go. I read it in one sitting because I absolutely couldn’t put it down! It had all of the ‘feels’ in it – sorrow, grief, happiness, friendship, love, family (blood & not), terror, loss – you name it, you will feel it before you are through with the story. The tale is crafted with descriptions so vivid they put you right in the scene - they break your heart, make you smile, make you tremble with fear, and make you hear the bombs as they drop on London. Martin’s research is always impeccable and that again holds true with this book. I’m thinking if you only read one book this year – this one ought to be it. What a wonderful way to celebrate and honor books and how much they mean to all of us in one way or another. Frankly, I’m writing this review, but I don’t think any review can do it full justice. Grace Bennett has dreamed of moving to London for a very long time, but feels she has no choice after her bully of an uncle – and his wife – force her to leave the home in which she was raised. Even with the rumblings of war on the horizon, she and her friend Viv are excited about what the future holds for them. Both Grace and Viv desperately want to be a shop-girl at Harrod’s, but only Viv has a letter of recommendation – thanks to Grace’s nasty uncle. Without the reference, Grace cannot be hired at Harrod’s. That actually turns out to be one of the best things to ever happen to her – though she doesn’t realize it at the time. Grace and Viv are renting a room from the best friend of Grace’s deceased mother. Mrs.Weatherford is a wonderful, wonderful character who lost her husband during the first world war and now the ominous drums are beating again. Mrs. Weatherford is a bright, funny, loving, caring lady who dotes on her only child – a son, Colin. Colin is the gentlest of souls and has long been friends with both Grace and Viv. Since Grace can’t find employment without a reference, Mrs. Weatherford browbeats the owner of Primrose Hill Books, Mr. Percival Evans, into hiring Grace as his assistant. Grace is a bit disappointed in the dusty, disorganized shop, but she can do it for six months until Mr. Evans will write her a recommendation letter. Grace is accustomed to running her uncle’s much larger business and sets off to clean and organize the bookshop – and maybe even bring in more customers. Grace’s only problem is that she isn’t a reader or book lover – but she is a wonderful organizer and salesperson. Well, she isn’t a reader until a tall, handsome, very quiet man named George actually gives her a book to read. It takes her a while to get started – not until after he’s already deployed – but – the gift he left her changes her whole life. As the war begins, those Grace loves begin to leave for battle – will they return? Grace doesn’t know, but she does know she has to do her own small part. While her friend Viv joined the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service – a branch of the British Army), Grace knew she couldn’t go and leave Mrs. Weatherford all alone since Colin had also deployed. So, Grace continued working at the bookshop until she just felt she had to do more and volunteered to be an ARP Warden (Air Raid Precaution). While WWII is the background of this book, the real story is Grace and how she comes into her own. With her ARP job, Grace probably saw as much sorrow, death, and carnage as those on the front lines. Her job was a dangerous and harrowing one and she grew into the challenge with more courage and bravery than most men would have displayed. During her days, she brought some happiness to those trapped in war-torn London by reading to them and sharing her newly discovered love of books – and in the evenings, she patrolled her sector – along with her partner Stokes – and helped to save London and her people. This was an exceptional book and I can definitely recommend it. It is such a deep and meaningful read that I just know you’ll love it as much as I did. For me, the only thing that would have made it better would have been for it to be George on that train at the end rather than Viv. I know the author didn’t want to write a romance – but – there is love and caring even in the depths of wars and it would have felt really nice to see that it survived. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Justin Wiggins

    This book, which is an ode to books and the power of art, was an absolutely amazing read. Parts of it were quite difficult to read, as it captured, through the eyes of Grace Bennett, the loss, death, suffering, food rationing, and fear that people experienced during the hell of WWII. This book was a very hopeful read, as it conveyed, that even in the darkest times, hope can be found through community, compassion, and the healing power of literature. I really liked the references to The Great Gats This book, which is an ode to books and the power of art, was an absolutely amazing read. Parts of it were quite difficult to read, as it captured, through the eyes of Grace Bennett, the loss, death, suffering, food rationing, and fear that people experienced during the hell of WWII. This book was a very hopeful read, as it conveyed, that even in the darkest times, hope can be found through community, compassion, and the healing power of literature. I really liked the references to The Great Gatsby, The Count of Monte Cristo, Jane Eyre, A Christmas Carol, and The Odyssey, and you can't help but love all the different characters. I highly recommend this book. It will be one that I return to again and again.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Date reviewed/posted: December 6, 2020 Publication date: April 20, 2021 When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is once again closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book fro Date reviewed/posted: December 6, 2020 Publication date: April 20, 2021 When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is once again closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature. August 1939: London is dismal under the weight of impending war with Germany as Hitler’s forces continue to sweep across Europe. Into this uncertain maelstrom steps Grace Bennett, young and ready for a fresh start in the bustling city streets she’s always dreamed of—and miles away from her troubled past in the countryside. With aspirations of working at a department store, Grace never imagined she’d wind up employed at Primrose Hill, an offbeat bookshop nestled in the heart of the city—after all, she’s never been much of a reader. Overwhelmed with organizing the cluttered store, she doesn’t have time to read the books she sells. But when one is gifted to her, what starts as an obligation becomes a passion that draws her into the incredible world of literature. As the Blitz rains down bombs on the city night after night, a devastating attack leaves the libraries and shops of London’s literary center in ruins. Miraculously, Grace’s bookshop survives the firestorm. Through blackouts and air raids, Grace continues running the shop, discovering a newfound comfort in the power of words and storytelling that unites her community in ways she never imagined—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of war-torn London. I love historical fiction and book shops, so this was a doubly wonderful read. The characters are wonderfully written and the historical research is evident. The book is a joy ride through a terrible time of war and strife - be prepared for an fantastic story of victory on so many levels. A great book for friends, patrons and book clubs alike. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alyson Stone

    Book: The Last Bookshop in London Author: Madeline Martin Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars I would like to thank the publisher, Hanover Square Press, for sending me an ARC. I think I enjoyed this, but I’m not sure. It was okay book, I guess. I was engaged in certain parts, but not in a lot. I felt like there was kind of a little bit of a disconnect from what was going on and happening in the characters’ lives. However, on the other hand, I did like reading about the behind the scenes and reading about ev Book: The Last Bookshop in London Author: Madeline Martin Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars I would like to thank the publisher, Hanover Square Press, for sending me an ARC. I think I enjoyed this, but I’m not sure. It was okay book, I guess. I was engaged in certain parts, but not in a lot. I felt like there was kind of a little bit of a disconnect from what was going on and happening in the characters’ lives. However, on the other hand, I did like reading about the behind the scenes and reading about events that isn’t really talked about all that much. The plot focuses mainly on the home front during World War II. I like getting to see what life was like for those who weren’t in the heat of battle, but rather getting to see how the war affects the daily lives of people back home. Seeing how the war has changed their lives and seeing the impacts of the government on the daily people is what makes history real. So many times, I feel like history focuses on the leaders and all of that, but never on the everyday people. Reading a book like this just reminds you that these were people living in these situations and just trying to make the best of it. This is why something as simple as being able to pick out a book and listen to a story is so important. The characters were just everyday people trying to deal with whatever life threw at them and trying to just make it in a dark world. We get to see the war effort hit home and how that changes their lives. However, I did feel a little bit disconnected from the characters. I don’t know why, but they just didn’t have the impact on me that they should have. I just felt like there was something missing from them to bring them home. They just don’t stick out to me, I guess is what I am getting at. I did enjoy the writing, but I think that was what made the characters kind of slip away form me as well. There were certain things that happened in this book that should have made me feel something and should had torn my heart out. Only it didn’t. I honestly did not care, well, maybe not care, but it just didn’t have that punch that it should have had on me. I think that had we had that little bit of punch to drive it home then I would have gotten a lot more out of it. Anyway, I did like this one, but there were certain things that were just missing to make the point and drive it home. This book comes out on April 6, 2021. Youtube: https://youtu.be/wA8KzFr8IkU

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathie Kuehl

    This was a very good book!! It is set in London during WWII and gives the reader a first hand look at the devastation of the Blitz, both in terms of loss of life and of property and if the mental and emotional toll it took in the citizens of London. I don’t think many people today understand how horrible those years were; this book presents an excellent portrayal. The main character, Grace Bennett, and her best friend, Vic, head off from a small country village to live in London right before the This was a very good book!! It is set in London during WWII and gives the reader a first hand look at the devastation of the Blitz, both in terms of loss of life and of property and if the mental and emotional toll it took in the citizens of London. I don’t think many people today understand how horrible those years were; this book presents an excellent portrayal. The main character, Grace Bennett, and her best friend, Vic, head off from a small country village to live in London right before the start of the war. They take a room to in the home of Grace’s mother’s best friend, Mrs. Weatherford. Her adult son, Colin, lives there too. Grace gets a job at Primrose Hill Books, a rundown, unkempt, disorganized store. Grace immediately begins cleaning and organizing and then, eventually, making improvements. Gradually, the bookshop becomes a thriving and prosperous endeavor. A customer, George, shares with Grace his love of reading and, as a result, she becomes an avid reader who is now able to make recommendations and lead discussions etc. During this time, Grace volunteers 3 nights a week as an Air Read warden. Here again, the reader experiences the difficulties and dangers of the job as well as the struggles faced by Londoners. As one reviewer wrote “When all else fails, books and friends radiate hope in darkness.” I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves books, reading, and WWII era stories.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    I enjoy Historical Fiction and it is always interesting to see how the people who are keeping the home fires burning survive and keep busy. This was a really interesting story and I enjoyed it very much. Of course being a retired teacher librarian and self-professed bibliophile, a book that shares the importance and love of reading is sure to be a hit. Grace Bennett has always wanted to move to the city, but moving to London when they are at the brink of war is not what she was expecting. She fi I enjoy Historical Fiction and it is always interesting to see how the people who are keeping the home fires burning survive and keep busy. This was a really interesting story and I enjoyed it very much. Of course being a retired teacher librarian and self-professed bibliophile, a book that shares the importance and love of reading is sure to be a hit. Grace Bennett has always wanted to move to the city, but moving to London when they are at the brink of war is not what she was expecting. She finds a job at an old and dusty bookstore, called Primrose Hill. The owner is a bit of a curmudgeon, but she perseveres in cleaning and organizing the old bookstore. Her family in London is her friend who moved with her and her landlady. As war looms closer, she deals with black-out curtains, air raids and fear. As she continues to work at Primrose Hill, she develops a love for books and reading, as well as developing a friendly relationship with one of their patrons, handsome, book loving George. Once Britain declares war things change and many Londoners become complacent, that is until German troops move into France and the British Troops limp home. London is now constantly living with bombing, death and destruction. Grace does what she can to keep spirits up using books and reading as well as doing her part working with the ARP. There is so much to love about this book. The first is the book talk. Sharing books, reading aloud, using books to keep your mind off the war, bringing people together etc. The characters were amazing. Grace was such a strong character, with more guts than most people I know. She was so caring of everyone she came in contact with. All the other characters were well drawn. There were some that started off unlikable and even selfish, but by the end, they come around and are thankful for what others are trying to do. This small neighbourhood was close knit and caring, like a family. Madeline Martin's writing was so descriptive. The bombings during The Blitz were so well detailed that I could almost hear them and see the residents huddled in the tube stations. The destruction was so vivid that I could almost picture it. There was a bit of a romance between Grace and George, but as he was at war, it was developed through letters. That is my one complaint, that I would have loved to hear some of the letters, but the first one was described as what was left after it had been redacted and that was interesting in itself. This was a well-written and developed story. It had great characters but also an interesting plot which makes it a story that it will appeal to people who like plot driven or character driven stories. The Last Bookshop in London has some poignant themes: perseverance, loyalty, found family, community, service to others/your country, loss, grief, sharing, and of course the power of books. It is obvious that the author did a great deal of research to make this book as historically accurate as possible and I appreciate that. I highly recommend this book to all. I did a read/listen with this book and both were equally enjoyable. Usually, I prefer one or the other, but Saskia Maarleveld did such an excellent job with the narration that I enjoyed the audiobook as much as reading the the book when I was able to sit down and read it. Her voice is expressive with tone and inflection that makes it easy to differentiate the characters. Even the male voices were easy to identify. Her voice when describing the damage and devastation was full of emotion as if she was right there describing what she was seeing. A wonderful performance. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

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