Author: Natalie Jenner
Published by: St. Martin's Press on May 17, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction
Source: St. Martin's Press
Book Rating: 8/10
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.
Nostalgic, heartwarming, and tender!
Bloomsbury Girls is a sweet, sentimental tale that sweeps you away to post-WWII London and into the lives of three main characters. Evie Stone, a young Cambridge graduate who begins work in the rare books department of Bloomsbury Books after being denied a coveted research position by the old boys at the university, Vivien Lowry, a sophisticated woman who spends her days in the fiction section grieving the loss of her fiancé during the war and yearning to become a successful writer herself, and Grace Perkins, a secretary and mother of two boys who would love to escape her loveless, controlling marriage and gain a little independence of her own.
The writing is expressive and sweet. The characters are determined, independent, and progressive. And the plot is a cosy tale about life, love, loss, family, friendship, female inequality, literary greats, hopes, dreams, and new beginnings.
Overall, Bloomsbury Girls is a light, charming, engaging novel by Jenner that was a delight to read with its abundance of self-discovery, female friendships, and cameos by some of the most famous authors of all time.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.