From the author of The Jane Austen Society, a story about strong women and an old-fashioned bookstore.
The Jane Austen Society was one of my top reads of 2020 (to read my review, CLICK HERE) and I am so excited to be part of the blog tour of Natalie Jenner’s new book, Bloomsbury Girls.
Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: St Martin’s Press (May 17, 2022)
“One bookshop. Fifty-one rules. Three women who break them all.”
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.
Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare bookstore 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 fiancé 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.
From the Publisher’s Blurb
Links provided by the publisher
Vivien, Grace, and Evie worked at Bloomsbury Books and Maps, an old-fashioned book store managed by men set on their ways.
Despite being clearly overqualified for their roles, the women were not considered for promotions and even resented their promising business ideas.
While they ventured through these turbulent waters, each of them had to face personal challenges and find the courage to take control of their lives.
Bloomsbury Girls is a story full of heart and self-discovery, and most of all, a story about women’s companionship and its infinite power.
The fictional characters interacted seamlessly with fascinating historical figures as Daphne Du Maurier, Peggy Guggenheim, and Samuel Beckett. I confess I googled them all and was dazzled by their striking personalities.
As a book lover, I was delighted by the setting and the talk about rare and old books.
Vivien, Grace, and Evie were different and yet shared the same yearning for opportunity and independence. Each of them showed a different, but no less admirable, form of strength. I immediately related to them.
As for the male characters, I fell in love with the kind and refined Lord Baskin and the shy Ash. Even Alec McDonough enchanted me despite his rakish ways.
Wow! Just wow. So good. Unique characters, including the most dazzling historical figures. A very touching and genuine view of women’s many challenges and their strength in overcoming them. A story full of books, friendship, perseverance, and love in an intelligent, historical-filled, well-woven plot. Brava!
Disclaimer: I’ve received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. A full review will be published on lureviewsbooks.com around the publication date.
Quotes from the Author
I never intended for Evie Stone to be a major character in my debut novel, let alone inspire my second one, Bloomsbury Girls. But as time went on, I found I could not leave her behind in Chawton with the other society members. And then one day I rewatched a favourite movie, 84 Charing Cross Road, and I remember thinking, there’s a whole other story in here still to be told, of an upstairs-downstairs motley crew of booksellers, and right away the figures came to life.
As with The Jane Austen Society, Bloomsbury Girls features multiple characters and storylines revolving around one very charming location: this time, the quintessential Dickensian-type bookshop.
If The Jane Austen Society was the book I wrote when I was coming out of sadness, Bloomsbury Girls was written when I was very happy, and I hope it provides a little cheer to readers during this difficult time.Natalie Jenner
Try a Sample
About the Author
Natalie Jenner is the author of two books, the instant international bestseller THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY and BLOOMSBURY GIRLS. A Goodreads Choice Award finalist for best debut novel and historical fiction, THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY was a USA Today and #1 national bestseller and has been sold for translation in twenty countries. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie has been a corporate lawyer, a career coach and, most recently, an independent bookstore owner in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.