During the month of November, I always try to select books to read that allow me to remember and honour those who have lost their lives in service of their country. If you would like to do the same, I would highly suggest The Last Bookshop in London, as it is a gorgeously written historical fiction tale of love, friendship and survival set within London during World War II.
This novel follows Grace Bennett, a young woman who leaves the countryside and heads to London in 1939 in hopes of a better life and a glamourous career, only to find herself employed in a dusty bookshop. While Grace isn’t much of a reader herself, she dives in to this new job headfirst and sets to work on brightening up the little store along with the shop’s curmudgeonly owner. However, the dark clouds of war are looming on the horizon and just as Grace gets her feet under her in London war is declared.
As bombs rain down on her new home and fires spread across London, Grace manages to help those close to her and complete strangers stay strong and stay safe through the power of literature. In the midst of the horrifying scenes of war, Grace soon learns about the ability a good book has to take a person or a whole group of people in a bomb shelter away from their horrific reality through fictional characters and imaginary adventures.
Every reader knows how truly spectacular it is to escape into a book, and the author of this novel did a wonderful job showcasing the enormous power stories have to sustain readers during perilous times. In summary, The Last Bookshop in London is a novel that will warm your heart and bring tears to your eyes as you follow along with Grace on her mission to help her community survive a war through the power of reading.