Cover Image: The Bookseller's Secret

The Bookseller's Secret

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Member Reviews

I'll be honest in saying, Historical Fiction isn't my go to however, the cover is enjoyable and made me pick it up. I didn't finish the book due to lack of interest. Haven't decided if it is due to the writing or due to the fact Historical Fiction isn't my go to.
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The Bookseller’s Secret tells the story of Nancy Mitford’s time during the second World War. As a fan of Nancy Mitford, I really could not get into her storyline. She was a distant character that I could not connect with. The modern storyline was unnecessary. Still, I recommend this fans of The Paris Bookseller!
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Nancy Mitford's husband is fighting in the war and her allowance has been cut, so when the opportunity to work at the Heywood Hill book shop arises, Nancy is quick to take the job.  She isn't certain if she has any more books left to write and working at the book shop more than fills her days, until a French soldier arrives and stirs something new in Nancy.

In present day, Katy Cabot feels that her writing career is over and her personal life is also in shambles.  Her best friend JoJo buys her a plane ticket to come to London for a visit.   On a visit to the Heywood Hill book shop, Katy encounters a handsome stranger who is searching for the missing biography of Nancy Mitford.  It just so happens that Nancy Mitford was the subject to Katy's senior thesis and she is intrigued by the idea of a missing biography.  

Of course, the title of this book hooked me from the start.  I was not familiar with Nancy Mitford or her family so that also sparked my interest.  Katy, in particular, made me laugh out loud at times with her banter and the situations she would find herself in.  If strong language bothers you, I would mention that the present day narrative does use some, but it also plays into the character development.  

I enjoyed the unique plot of this story and found both storylines equally compelling.  I can definitely see how this would be a great book club choice or could lead the reader into other books to learn more, since you could tie in other books about the Mitford family or even reading The Pursuit of Love and watching the film.  

I received this book courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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THE BOOKSELLER'S SECRET is a wonderfully written historical novel. The author transports her readers back in time and enchants with Nancy's story. Booklovers of all kinds will no doubt love this one.
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I didn't mind this one, but didn't overly get into it. I think this is because I found both Nancy and Katie irritating at times and while there were interesting parts, other scenes dragged on quite a bit. What I would like to acknowledge and say is that I appreciated that this is one of the few historical wartime fiction novels I've read that isn't really concentrating on the war itself; obviously the war is mentioned, but the story is more about an average (? perhaps not so average haha) person living and evaluating her life during this war time period.
Overall: fans of historical fiction and/or readers with an interest in Nancy Mitford may find this book quite interesting; for me it was an alright read.
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There was no connection for me with any of the characters. I felt that the plot element and the Katie element went nowhere. A disappointing book for me. 

**Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley in exchange of an honest review. **
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2.5 ⭐️.  Dialog, dialog, and more dialogue. If you’re a reader who enjoys a narrative heavy on dialog, dual timeline, and historical fiction, The Bookseller’s Secret will work well for you. The audio is done well with accents and character differentiation.

The story goes back and forth between a WWII story of Nancy Mitford, an author with a famous sibling family, and current day Katie, a floundering author who gets swept up in researching Mitford.

I prefer more action in the plot and found my mind wandering. As well done as the audio is, this title is probably more enjoyed by reading instead of listening.
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Historical Fiction | Adult
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A London bookshop is the setting for a literary mystery in which the search for a manuscript lost there during World War II takes a modern-day writer on a journey following the wartime author she has long admired. Katie Cabot wrote her thesis on real-life author Nancy Mitford, and is delighted to discover the bookshop where the writer worked during the wartime years. Katie is herself an author, and like Mitford, she is struggling to find her way to write again. Katie teams up with Simon, a handsome head teacher who is looking for a memoir Mitford allegedly wrote that includes information on a young woman who gave birth to, it turns out, Simon’s mother. Gable uses a dual timeline to tell a fictionalized story of Mitford’s life that parallels Katie’s own modern troubles. I hadn’t heard of Nancy Mitford before – she sounds like a pistol, as they used to say! Gable does a great job of bringing this author to life, drawing on numerous resources (included in a bibliography) to hold true to the biographical facts of her marriage, affairs, and appalling family, while imagining this lesser-known aspect of her life. Still, it took a while for me to get into this story loaded with rapid-fire 1940s dialogue; in fact, it was an effort to keep up with the names and their escapades, not to mention the insults! The modern-day storyline fell a little flat, somehow, though I did enjoy young Clive and his exploits, à la <i>Young Sheldon.</> It’s a solid entry in the historical fiction genre, but I think it would have much greater appeal for a reader who knows Mitford’s work. My thanks to Graydon House Publishers for the digital reading copy provided through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55004488
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#TheBooksellersSecret #NetGalley

I wanted to like this book, but I did not.  It has two stories, one of author Nancy Mitford during World War II, and one of a contemporary author seeking a cure for both a broken heart and writer's block by visiting London.  Each chapter is a different time period, with no attempt to relate the two, so it is very choppy and very difficult to follow.  By the time I was two thirds of the way through the book I didn't care what happened to any of them, I just wanted it to be over.

There is a mystery, but it is not satisfactorily developed or resolved.  The modern day heroine is not very likeable, and her actions not very believable, though her best friend is a good character.  The romance is abrupt and, again, not very well developed.  The historical characters are apparently well researched, according to the afterword, which is the strongest writing in the book.  The writer seems to assume we will already know all the characters in the family drama, and all the author's friends as well.  She makes no effort to introduce them or sort them out in a helpful way, and they are not people I enjoyed spending time with, quite the opposite.

A person who had read all of Nancy Mitford's books but wanted more might like this, though it is not very flattering to the author and doesn't seem to add any new insight.
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Having read Ms Gable’s other novels I found this one to be less riveting than her others. The historical content was interesting but ultimately not as intriguing as I had hoped.
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I will let you guys know right away that this book is more for a history buff. It has a lot of information about the WW2. You will get to know more about the history side than anything. It can be a good thing so just warning you. It  also have dual timelines in this book so you will have the past and present.
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I enjoyed this book very much.  For me it was a fast read as I was immersed into the story immediately. I am a big fan of stories about sisters, and this book had a new and interesting take on a group of women who were blood sisters but some who didn't know about the others.  My favorite character was the grandmother, and I would have like to have had more stories from her. I am a big fan of historical fiction and I felt this book just touched on the best part of this book. It was a lot more romance than historical fiction, much more set in current times than in the past.  All that said, I enjoyed learning about each of the sisters and watching their relationship develop. I also missed getting to know Jackson, their father, a bit more. He was an interesting character but died far too soon, in my opinion!  I would recommend this book but to my historical fiction fans, this one just touches on World War II, you can find deeper, more full stories on that elsewhere.
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sadly, before i could download this title, netgalley took it off their catalog. that means i can’t review this one. HOWEVER, i will be checking in with my library to see if i can get a copy and review it that way
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Thank you, NetGalley, for an e-ARC of The Bookseller's Secret by Michelle Gable.
I was excited about the plot of this book and had high hopes. However, the book fell flat. Too many characters, many with nicknames, made it hard to follow and stay connected. Considering that one storyline took place in London during the war, the characters seemed nonchalant and unaffected by the circumstances. The second storyline, present-day, seemed unrealistic, and the mystery of Nancy's biography was a lot of hype for nothing. I did learn a lot about Nancy Mitford and felt that the historical integrity was well researched.
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Review will be posted on 11/4/21

Nancy Mitford is living in London during WWII. The city is currently being bombed and everything is a mess.  Nancy takes a job at the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is away at war.  Nancy is known around town though; in fact, all of her siblings are notorious.  One of her sisters is a Hitler sympathizer, another is a fascist, and the other is a duchess, to just name a few.  Nancy takes the job at the bookshop because things with her husband aren't great, she needs the money, and she had to quit writing. All of this inspires her to start writing again.  Jump to present day, readers meet struggling author Katie.  While on her visit to London, she visits Heywood Hill bookshop and while there, she meets someone who convinces her that Nancy Mitford wrote a memoir and it went unpublished.  This man would like to find this memoir as it's important to him and his family.  Katie, who is up for anything at this point thanks to writer's block, helps him and as things progress, she is greatly intrigued by what she comes to find.  Michelle Gable's The Bookseller's Secret is a decent historical tale for those who enjoy stories focusing about strong real-life women and WWII.

I only knew a few things about Nancy Mitford before reading The Bookseller's Secret and I was really enamored with Nancy right off the bat.  I loved her gumption, her personality, and found her to be very entertaining, especially when she would interact with Evelyn Waugh. Nancy grew up in an aristocratic family. A few of her sisters have made a name for themselves politically as they have close ties to the Nazis.  However, Nancy wants to separate herself from them as she doesn't agree.  

Even though Nancy has come from a wealthy background, she has dealt with a lot.  She experienced multiple miscarriages that led to her hysterectomy, her marriage is a sham, her husband is off at war and she hasn't heard from him.   However, Nancy is still a charismatic person who wants to make her mark in life.  I loved that she took over Heywood Hill bookshop and I really enjoyed the depiction of the bookshop and its customers.  I also really liked the fact that she was a writer and overall, I found Nancy's story to be truly fascinating. 

To be honest with you, the dual timeline didn't really work for me in The Bookseller's Secret.  I did not care for Katie nor her pursuit of the missing manuscript mostly because I found her to be insufferable. She makes such a commotion at a family party and goes off the deep end (over nothing really) that I just found her to be like a petulant child.  I did not like the sections of the novel focusing on her even though I was curious about her literary investigations.

I do think that if The Bookseller's Secret focused only on Nancy or had a more likable present day narrator, it would have worked a bit better.  I will say that Nancy is such a larger than life person that she probably doesn't need a foil; in fact, she needs her own book. Nancy, and only Nancy's amazing life, brings this book's rating up a smidgen. 

So, with that said, do you enjoy books about real-life people? Have you heard about Nancy Mitford? Is The Bookseller's Secret on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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This work of historical fiction uses the dual timeline to tell the story of author, Nancy Mitford in 1940’s London, and Katie, an American writer who is blocked and visits London to change perspective.  Both timelines involve the premise of an autobiography that appears to be missing, centered around a bookstore Mitford worked in and Katie visits.  The story moved slowly at times, although interesting.  The book was just okay for me,but if you are a Mitford fan, you might enjoy it more.  Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
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I really enjoyed getting to know Nancy Mitford and the rest of the cast. It was a great historical novel about WW2, the plot was great and I enjoyed the writing style was so well done. I look forward to reading more from the author.
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Although a slow starter, this dual point of view, dual timeline, historical fiction did eventually pull me in. Katie’s life isn’t going well. She has writer’s block, a recently failed very long term relationship, and just told her family off at a gathering after having a few too many drinks. When her best friend invites her to London, she agrees with hopes of getting her head on straight. Katie unknowingly stumbles into a literary mystery at a local bookshop where noted author and subject of her university thesis, Nancy Mitford, worked during WWII . 

As fascinating as I found the story to be, the heavy dialogue and many characters hindered the flow as I had to recall which character was which to the point of distraction. Mitford’s intriguing family did however compel me to read to the end and I was glad I did so. This book was obviously well researched and I appreciated the deeper look into an author I knew little about.
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I loved the premise of this book - the hunt for a lost manuscript written 80 years ago! I think stories like this fuel the curiosity of so many, including myself. I could only imagine what it would be like to work in the Heywood Hill bookshop and to have the privilege to capture someone's story on paper!
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I’m a fan of Michelle Gable.
Her historical fiction books are wonderful.
This novel takes place at 2 different times … 1940s and present  day.
I just found Katie to be whiny and I didn’t root for her.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an arc in exchange for my honest review.
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