The Last Bookshop in London Review

This was the 30th read of this year.

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 drawn curtains that finds on her arrival are 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 the London.

Through blackouts and airs last 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.

This book takes place during WWII, primarily during the devastating Blitz- a time in which London was constantly being bombed. Entering London, Grace was nowhere close to being a bookworm, but little did she know how much books would become a huge part of her life. She had to work at Primrose Hill Books—she only wanted to work there for six months, but after reading “Count of Monte Cristo”, a gift given by George Anderson, she slowly became a voracious reader and made a huge impact on so many Londoners.

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, there is a void, a gap waiting to be filled by something. For me, that something is books and all their preferred experiences

George Anderson, Last Bookshop in London

You do see some of the horrors of the Blitz in the story especially when Grace decided to volunteer as an ARP warden. Books are powerful in the story- it gives many people light in the midst of darkness- just like one musical says- “even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise”. You are able to escape into the worlds of these characters and forget about the horrors of WWII- from Middlemarch to Jane Eyre, etc, Grace gives these readings to frightened people during air raids…..

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