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The Secret Book Club

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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

It was a fun read with an almost predictable part and I hope the ending was better. It felt a bit loose and easy.

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This book was so cute! I read this as an at-work read, and it was so perfect for just that.

Being able to understand how the main character feels, is so important. Being told what you're allowed to sell in a bookstore? Crazy!! This had everything I expected from this book, and more. It was so good.

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What a great story full of fun and mischief as well as some potential romance. Thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book and was routing for Maggie the whole way.

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In The Secret Book Club, (published as The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks in North America) Shauna Robinson delivers a delightful tale set in the quaint town of Bell River, where books are not just a pastime but a way of life. The protagonist, Maggie Banks, arrives with the intent to rejuvenate her best friend’s struggling bookstore, only to find herself at odds with the town’s rigid literary society.

Maggie, a character who doesn’t much care for rules, finds herself banned from selling contemporary books. In response, she starts an underground book club, breathing new life into the shop by celebrating the books people truly love, rather than those dictated by tradition. This rebellious act sets off a series of events that are both heartwarming and fraught with tension, as Maggie dodges the literary society and uncovers a secret that could change the town forever.

The strength of Robinson’s writing lies in her ability to craft a narrative that’s predictable yet thoroughly engaging. From the outset, the reader may guess the trajectory of the story, but it’s the journey—not the destination—that captivates. Robinson deftly weaves themes of community, friendship, and self-discovery into her narrative, presenting a story that’s as much about personal growth as it is about literary love.

It is a quick and enjoyable read, peppered with moments that are both fun and thought-provoking. It’s a book about books, but also about the people who read them and the impact literature can have on a community. Robinson doesn’t just tell a story; she invites readers to consider the importance of stories in their own lives.

I rated this book four stars out of five for its charming setting, engaging plot, and the sheer joy of following Maggie as she challenges the status quo. It’s a feel-good book that reminds us why sometimes, breaking the rules can lead to the most rewarding outcomes.

For anyone looking for a light, feel-good read that champions the transformative power of books, “The Secret Book Club” is a perfect pick. It’s a story that proves even the most predictable plots can be deeply satisfying when told with heart and passion.

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Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to receive this book for an honest review.

I I love books that are about books and book shops but this one was disappointing. This is about Maggie who moves to Bell River to help a friend run a book shop. The book shop only sells historical books which I am devinately not interested in. And for that reason I had a hard time relating.

Even though Maggie forms a secret book club to bring in modern books, I found it disappointing.

This book just wasn't for me.

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I was attracted to this book due to the mention of books and book shops and book clubs - some of my favourite things! However, I did not like this book. Maggie moves to Bell River to assist her friend run a book shop. The thing with Bell River is, it has history, and that history runs everything - the cafe has to sell ‘historic’ food, the book shop can only sell historic novels. The problem is, only the tourists are interested in this ‘unique’ marketing technique - all of the locals buy their books from out of town.

Maggie instantly upsets the status quo, bringing more harsh restrictions on her friend’s book store. To counter this, Maggie starts a ‘black market’ for modern novels, as well as a unique, secret book club, where authors read their spin on a classic tale.

I found the characters to be flat and annoying, I didn’t like the storyline - I don’t mind suspending belief, but the cult-like tone of Bell River took it to another level

This isn’t one I would recommend.

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A book about books sounds always promising. Sadly this book wasn't for me. I didn't connect with the characters at all and really struggled with this one. I didn't find the romance very interesting.

However I know that many readers will like this book, it just wasn't for me.

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thank you to netgalley for the advanced reading copy. I really enjoyed this and will be getting copies for my shop.

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The description of this book sounded interesting and very intriguing. I wanted to find out what happened and whether the Secret Book Club would be discovered.
I liked the characters and enjoyed reading about the various secrets. Overall I enjoyed reading this book.
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for my ARC.

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This was the cutest small town, book store, secret society story. I loved how we experienced Maggie's character growth along with her, but there wasn't a lot of us knowing before she knew on her path. We weren't rolling our eyes that she was missing out on information or missing opportunities. We were with her figuring out her career and relationship path, as well as her book club path and excitement. Malcom is such a diverse character who we also get a glimpse into his progress of development, I wish he had invited Maggie on his adventures more, but I appreciate how he was able to break from his every day shell and become a person on his own. Vernon was the best grumpy old man with a heart of gold and I love how he was tied into the ending and the big reveal. His love of the book club and his encouragement and participation was so sweet and inspiring.
There were a few things that bugged me, like Maggie feeling like she had to keep the secrets from Rochelle and her keeping T.J. Hull from Malcom, I would have a hard time forgiving that. But overall, it was a very sweet read and I loved that I was able to read it. Thank you Netgalley and One More Chapter!

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I really enjoyed this book. It was different than anything else I've read recently. I couldn't put it down! I will keep an eye out for this author's future work!

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An enjoyable story that takes place in a bookstore.

Maggie Banks is drifting. She is unsure about her future and the right path to follow so when her good friend offers her a job at her bookstore while she goes on maternity leave, she jumps at the chance.

When Maggie starts working, she realizes she has a few issues. She has never been a reader. Also, the bookstore wasn't allowed to sell books from this century or the last! Third, the local historical society is trying to control everything the bookstore is doing.

Maggie becomes desperate. She needs a plan. She can't afford to lose this job. She can't let her friend down either. What to do?

Maggie realizes the only way she can stay afloat is to develop a secret book club where she can sell the books people want to read without getting discovered by her friend, the historical society, or the guy she had developed feelings for.

I had some anxiety with this one. I wasn't sure how she could save the bookstore or her romance when the truth came out. The ending did feel a little too perfect but I'm not complaining.

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by One More Chapter via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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A big thank you to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK/One More Chapter for the eARC. I am voluntarily reviewing this book. I enjoyed this book. I found the ideas were inventive. I was sort of surprised that the people closest to her didn't get more upset about her keeping secrets. I liked the characters and would recommend this book to people who love to read, 4 stars

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A tale of courage, rebellion, and the power of literature. This story explores the thrill of breaking from convention.
Many thanks to HarperCollins UK andto Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Just the idea of this book was so interesting to me and when I got a copy, it was just a wonderful journey. I want to say so much more but I’m just so sad to have finished it (I may just pick it up eighth now again) that all I can really say is READ THIS BOOK.

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A wholesome read, gives major hallmark movie vibes. Love the plot around forbidden books. Recommend if you're looking for a cozy read!

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Wasn’t really for me. Kind of hard to get into but I think that it’s still a good book. Might just be for someone else though.

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3.75
Thank you for NetGalley & One More Chapter for approving the ARC of this book.

This was a hug in a book, low stakes, found family/community focused around books and old secrets.

Maggie is at a place in her life where she feels unsettled, she has no job and has had to move back in with her parents, so when her best friend needs her to run the bookshop she works in while she is on maternity and she can stay at her place she jumps at the chance.

With the town of Bell River being run by a tyrant grandson off Edward Bell, deciding what can be sold in the bookstore and other businesses he's invested in. Maggie finds herself running an underground book club and forming an unintentional army of followers, esp when she unearths a well hidden secret.

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"The Secret Book Club" by Shauna Robinson is a charming tale of friendship, books, and hidden desires. When four women form a clandestine book club, they embark on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Robinson's writing sparkles with humor and heart, making this novel a delightful read.

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I would recommend Shauna Robinson's new book, The Secret Book Club. Wonderful story for everyone to enjoy. I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely. Happy reading!

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