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The Blackout Book Club

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The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green gives us a look at life on the home front during World War II. A diverse group of people come together to discuss books when Avis dreams up the book club to save the library from closing. The book club turns out to be so much more. As they meet, they begin to know each other. Friendships are formed that turn into lasting bonds. This is a heartwarming story. I enjoyed getting to know the characters. I liked seeing the characters grow as they got to know each other. The cast of characters is diverse. I also thought the characters were realistic. The story is told from several points of view which I found challenging in the beginning. It became easier as I got further into the story. The book is full of history and literature. You can tell the author did her research. I especially enjoyed the references to Mrs. Miniver (love that movie). I liked that the group did not just read novels. They enjoyed poetry, how to books, Shakespeare, fiction, and much more. The notes from each meeting were entertaining. I especially enjoyed them when Ginny wrote them. Ginny is a lively character who has spunk. We get to see how it was at home for different types of people during the war. Avis is a young married woman who does not want her husband to go off fighting. Avis is not a reader, but she agreed to take her brother’s librarian job while he is off fighting. She promised him she would do her best to keep the library open. Louise is a spinster and the richest woman in town. Louise owns the library. She has kept herself apart from others because she is afraid that they will discover her secret. Ginny is working at the foundry (which is dirty, hot work). She would rather be out on a boat, but the war department requisitioned the family island. Martina is married with two kids. She also works at the foundry. Martina hopes her no-good husband will not find her. I was sorry when The Blackout Book Club ended. My favorite line from the book is, “For I have found that books make find friends—but fellow readers even better.” Those who love books, will enjoy reading this story. The Blackout Book Club is a poignant tale with a large library, daycare center conundrum, blackout curtains, war rationing, a sly spouse, lively talks, and enduring friendships.

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Four very different women start a book club in Derby, Maine as a blackout activity (approved by the government, btw). This is their story with true bits from history like the Hooligan Navy, working mothers in need of childcare, difficulty following blackout rules, and books. There are lots of books! Amy Lynn Green provides a list of all the books the club reads in her Author Notes at the end. She even thoughtfully includes any titles mentioned or recommended by characters in this story. This book will show you life on the eastern coast during wartime while informing and inspiring you to connect with books and, more importantly, with the people around you. This would be perfect for people who loved Jennifer Ryan's The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle, Freya Sampson's The Last Chance Library, and Lynn Austin's Long Way Home. I also must recommend Amy Lynn Green's previous title: The Lines Between Us.

A big thank you to Bethany House and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

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When her brother enlists to fight in World War II, Avis Montgomery agrees to hold his place as librarian in the town’s subscription library. Her reluctant decision stems from her feelings about books. She can’t remember the last book she read. Avis prefers practical advice from magazines on how to keep house and have a good relationship with her husband. As a newlywed, she needs all the help she can get.

The library’s taciturn owner, Miss Louise Cavendish, threatens to cut down on library hours due to the new blackout regulations. Avis offers to start a book club to help fulfill the mandate of the blackout orders—finding ways to keep people inside.

Avis wonders what she’s gotten herself into. She doesn’t read books, hates public speaking, and would rather exist on the sidelines where no one can judge her. Leading out in a book club feels like her worst nightmare.

Besides Avis, the first meeting brings only three other people—Miss Cavendish, an Italian American factory worker with two children, and Ginny—a young woman who’ll do anything to earn money. Avis wonders if it's doomed to failure.

As the Blackout Book Club draws in new members, they start to form an unlikely community. Each woman has secrets or secret fears, and through the pages of the books the club chooses, they learn to stand up for themselves, face grief, and support each other.

But can they convince Miss Cavendish to keep the library open when she announces her plans to turn it into a childcare facility for the factory workers?

Why I Loved This Book

Green takes readers on a journey into a small coastal town in Maine during World War II. German U-Boats threaten the local fishermen and merchant ships, young men leave for war, and women, children, and old men struggle to keep the economy going.

Each book club member seems to carry a secret too painful to share. But as they read and discuss books, they find ways to reach out to each other and form stronger bonds steeped in honesty. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, they engage in the process of becoming real.

Green’s strong characterizations make the reader fall in love with each of the characters in the book club and sign with nostalgia when the story ends. You'll love this book if you love Jan Karon’s Mitford stories. Don’t miss Green’s epistolary novel Things We Didn’t Say.

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Even in the darkest of times, there’s always books and book clubs.
I loved everything about this book. I could easily imagine being friends with them, and their note taking at the club meetings were delightful and had me imagining the scenes and conversation that were taking place.

Overall I thought this book had a fascinating storyline, well crafted characters and was perfectly paced.
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy of this book. Opinions are my own.

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Thank you to NetGalley, & Bethany House, & Baker Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review this book before it's publication date! This in no way affected my review, opinions are my own.

As a reader, one of my favorite things to read about is fictional characters' love of books. Even more specifically, I love watching the journey of characters that aren't readers as they themselves fall in love with books and the community that books can give us - and that's absolutely what you get in this novel.

It takes place in America during WWII, in the Northeast - somewhere that I felt was unique, considering most wartime historical fiction takes place in Britain or on the continent. I enjoyed (always seems like the wrong word to use, but you know what I mean) learning more about the wartime activities of German uboats in US waters, as that wasn't something that was taught heavily in my school.

I liked that we got so many POVs (not everyone's jam, but it's always my favorite) and that we had friendship, mystery, romance, and a bit of crime activity as well - the many different aspects worked together well and created a story I didn't want to put down!

(Also, if you like this book, I cannot recommend The Last Bookshop in London highly enough - it takes place in London near Paternoster Row, which was synonymous with the publishing trade in London and is very much a book about how much we love books.)

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Lovely WWII novel about the power of story and its ability to connect us - both to others and ourselves. Fun characters, witty dialogue, and a few unexpected turns made this one a fast, delightful read.

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Everyone did their part when the man went off to war as portrayed in this novel. The threat was real although many did not realize that German U- boats were so close. This is an interesting account of women left behind and how they coped together. Very appropriate name for the book club.

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Perfect for book groups, this novel set in Maine at the beginning of the war brings together diverse characters, male and female, and their life now that war has hit. Great historical novel and characters.

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The setting of this story is off the coast of Maine, and we are at war, and with the men leaving, women start filling jobs and help keep this country running.

We meet Avis as her brother is about to leave to fight, he begs her to keep his beloved Library going, and thus with inspiration and the threat of the closing, our book club is born.

We meet a diverse group of people, yes, both men and woman, and what a wide range of topics the club picks for their reads. We soon are involved in the lives of four different women, all members of the book club, and when the last page was turned I wanted to continue being with them.

There are some frightening happenings, and surprises about what is happening off the coast, and in their back yards. There is some closure, and secrets fall and doors close, while others open.

A page turner, and I'll be looking for more by this author!

I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.

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I love books about books (libraries, bookshops, you name it)., and I have a penchant for WWII historical fiction so was very excited about this one. All the ingredients were there, but unfortunately it just kind of fell flat for me. There's nothing I can point to that's terribly wrong with it - I just never got sucked into the story and started to care, perhaps because there were too many characters for us to get to know any of them in a deep, substantial way.

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So Amy Lynn Green is now one of my favorite authors! I love her style of writing.
This book has so many interesting characters! And so much interesting history! And books!! What's not to love?
Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for the advance e-copy of this book! All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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This is a homefront WW2 book, bringing us stories of the loved ones who stayed behind and their struggles throughout the war. We've got four ladies, each with a very unique situation, who come together to form an unlikely book club. I did struggle a bit to keep all the characters straight in my head, especially in the first half of the book, but that's really my only issue with the story. Their stories eventually end up coming together as they support each other and become a part of each other's lives. The ending, too, was unexpected and perfectly written...with a possibility for another book in the future. One of the best parts? The book club 'notes' at the end of each chapter that provide a little bit of dry wit throughout the book.

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Ok… adding to favorites list. What a treat this book was. In the beginning I started juggling all the characters. I even wrote little notes in my phone but after the first two chapters I had them down! This book was the HF I never knew I could get. One that was on the home front and full of community coming together through the hard times. Amy did such a great job creating a diverse group of characters ones you could see yourself in. I absolutely loved The Blackout Book Club and looked for are to the note pages where they discussed the members, books and what to read next. I think so may book lovers will love and appreciate this novel and look forward to chatting with others about it.

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What an enchanting cast of characters in this book-themed WWII novel! I so enjoyed getting to know Avis, Louise, Ginny, Freddy, and Martina. (Ginny was hilarious with her blunt, call-it-like-she-sees-it humor.) The notes at the end of each chapter from the book club were some of my favorite parts of the story.

I did guess a bit of the plot, but this is more of a character-driven story in my opinion, so that didn't bother me at all.

Becoming immersed in the perspective of Americans on the Maine coastline during the war was so enlightening. I hadn't thought much before about German U-boats and blackout regulations. I loved digging into that lesser-known part of history.

Reading this book felt a good bit like making new friends, and I'm sad to leave them.

(Please note: The spiritual thread leans on the Catholic side because of Martina's Italian roots, which felt authentic. Otherwise, there wasn't a particularly strong spiritual theme.)

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

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The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green follows four very different women on the Atlantic coast during World War 2. Avis becomes a reluctant librarian after her brother left for the war and put her in charge, while she has marital struggles – her husband is feeling useless because he can’t serve in the army due to asthma, and this gives a lot of tension. Then we have the very bubbly Ginny, who is trying to save money so she can go back to her beloved island once the war is over, Martina with her two children who are in hiding, and the old, slightly bitter and slightly eccentric lady Louise who owns the library itself (together with her cook and her ex-pilot turned gardener Freddy). Together, somehow, they have turned into a book club which Avis hosts in desperation to prevent the library from shutting down. She honestly doesn’t have a clue how to run one, though she does get better every meeting and learns a lot. I really really want to attend that book club because it is epic!

Amy Lynn Green’s first book wasn’t a hit for me, because of the letter format, which totally put me off though I could see its potential. I can say I appreciate this style so much more, in fact: I loved it! The writing is very fluid, there are hilarious sentences and comparisons, and I found myself giggling out loud a lot. I loved all four stories equally as they are woven together, which is also rare as usually you love one more. Finding out about Louise’s past makes you understand her so much more! I love the depth and themes woven into this book, and there are many as this is by no means a shallow book (even though Louise might say otherwise). The book club takes place during a dark time, and the friendships that are formed here will be comfort and healing. And I’m sure many readers are enamored with the book club meetings themselves. True to Amy’s style, those are penned in the form of minutes, and it makes them fast and at times hilarious to read with dry humor.

The finale was epic on all fronts, and although it was perfect, I do wish I could continue reading. Might I suggest spin offs for each character? Or maybe a continued book club for the new generation? I’m just not reading to say goodbye to these amazing characters. I give this book 5 stars.

I received an e-arc but this has not influenced my opinion.

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Most WW2 ficiton takes you to the battlefront or very close to it. The Blackout Book Club touches on the lives of those who were left to fight the "war at home'. This my first Amy Lynn Green story, and I have to say that I found it delightful! The cover intrigued me, and why wouldn't a book lover want to read about a book club? I loved the diverse group of characters who came together and became unlikely friends and heroes. The story quickly introduces the reader to the main members of the soon to be book club. It could be a little hard to keep straight at the beginning, but the story settles into a rythmn that is both easy to follow and enjoyable. I loved that the interim librarian and book club coordinator didn't even like reading. This made for an interesting'll have to read the book to find out if she becomes a book lover. My favorite part, and what I always looked forward to reading, were the minutes from the book club meetings. They were taken by different members of the book club and from their unique point of view, which added a touch of whimsy and humor as well as insight into the character through their notes.
If you enjoy Katherine Reay or Pam Jenoff I think you would enjoy The Blackout Book Club.

Thank you Bethany House and Net Galley for the free DRC of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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Oh, how I wish I were part of the Blackout Book Club! Without the need for a blackout, of course. This is my first book by Amy Lynn Green, and it won't be my last.

With a cast of diverse characters, I thought at first that I would be unable to keep track of them all. However, the book's flow was such that while these characters got to know each other, so did we by listening in on their discussions.

I loved the notes kept by the members. Each member conveyed a part of their personality, and their "meticulous" notes were a joy to read as they discussed the various books they had chosen. And if you are wondering what those books were, the author has conveniently included the list at the end of the book.

My favourite character by far was Ginny. Her snappy comebacks and her insight into people, in general, were refreshing. Each character, however, had unique qualities, creating a well-rounded circle of friends you could trust and that you wanted to spend more time around. I will miss them.

If you love to read, are part of a book club, or wondered what they were like, dive into the Blackout Book Club. You won't regret it!

I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley for my honest opinion.

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I love how Amy Lynn Green takes WWII historical novels to the next level, with bringing to life what was happening in America during the early 1940's to those left behind. This story is excellent, told through different viewpoints. I also loved how literature plays a big part in this story. I highly recommend picking this one up!

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Fans of Sarah Sundin's WWII novels will love The Blackout Book Club! I was surprised to see Green breaking out of the epistolary fashion that so branded her beautiful debut novel, but in the end I loved The Blackout Book Club no less! With a beautiful writing style and compelling plot, this novel is perfect for a cozy autumn read!

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The Blackout Book Club tells the tale of those left at home during the second great war and their struggles, failures, and triumphs. Set in a quaint town on the coast of Maine, the mostly women left in the town look for some means of normalcy and find it in idea of a book club. Avis Montgomery is not a reader, but her brother gave her his position as the librarian in town when he went off to war. Avis has no idea how to start a book club or what kind of books to recommend, but she is determined to keep the library open and the book club may just be the means of doing so. What ensues is a charming tale of a quite unexpected group of people coming together to form both friendships and a community. Read The Blackout Book Club to discover the tale for yourself!

The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green was a surprising read. I am always drawn to books set in the time of the great world wars, so I naturally was curious to read The Blackout Book Club. Although the first few chapters took some time for me to sort through the characters and become immersed into the plot, I ended up thoroughly enjoying this heartwarming read. I have not read any of Ms. Green's writings prior to The Blackout Book Club but I look forward to reading more of her works. I rather enjoyed the way Ms. Green wove together diverse characters with unique and compelling backgrounds, struggles, and fears. I absolutely enjoyed the way that Ms. Green centered her story around a library and the themes of books. Fairly obviously, I am a lover of books, and it is a pleasure when an author brings that love into the plotline of a book. I enjoyed the unlikely but uplifting friendships, camaraderie, and family that formed from the misfit book club. I would recommend this book and highly recommend that the reader finish the book and discover the excellent life lessons it brings to light.

The Blackout Book Club by Amy Green reminded me of an excellent course I took in college, which was a humanities class on the home front during World War II. I felt like Ms. Green expertly captured the struggles, excitements, worries, fears, and maturing of those in America during the second world war. I enjoy history and I loved the richness of the historic context that Ms. Green brought to The Blackout Book Club. The characters in this book were very real, each with imperfections, hurts, dark pasts, and flaws, yet understandable to the reader. I enjoyed the growth of the characters throughout the book as well as the surprises and twists throughout the book. The Blackout Book Club is an excellent story full of compelling characters and themes that intrigue the reader. Happy readings!

Disclaimer: Bethany House Publisher graciously provided me with a copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and part of an unbiased review.

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