* Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Katie Couric Media, the CBC, the Globe and Mail, BookBub, POPSUGAR, SheReads, Women.com and more!*
Natalie Jenner, 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 in Bloomsbury Girls.
Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare book store 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 fiance 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.
Available on NetGalley
Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner is a wonderful historical fiction that is the follow up to one of my favorite books, The Jane Austen Society, and I just loved it!
This is such a gorgeous novel full of historical figures and details, strong and complex female characters, and an interweaving narrative that kept me engrossed throughout.
I loved being able to experience the post-war period in London from the eyes pf three different women in three different circumstances and stages in life. Yet, the struggles, fears, obstacles, and challenges of all three women were so similar. The limitations, the stigmas, the uphill battles that women faced during this time in society (and continue to face) was very frustrating and difficult to read, yet it brought solidarity and familiarity seeing that these women forged strong bonds and relationships and were able to conquer their respective mountains in their own ways. It gave me strength knowing that those paths have been made before, that those battles have been fought on common ground.
Ms. Jenner has a real talent in creating realistic, complex, raw, and human characters. It is just wonderful. No other way to describe it.
I highly recommend this historical fiction novel.
Thank you NG and St. Martin’s Press for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.
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!
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.
Bloomsbury Girls is among the most delightful books I’ve read this year. The story of three strong young women employed at Bloomsbury Books in 1950’s London, the plot, in general, revolves around the burgeoning feminist leadership in the shop.
There’s Vivien, a writer herself, who works in fiction at a fraction of the wages of her male colleague and erstwhile paramour, Alec. Then there’s Grace, the downtrodden wife of her unemployable husband, who is the managers secretary. And, finally, there’s Evie, a woman who was passed over by a man for a position at a prestigious university, despite the rigor of her research. She’s assigned to cataloging the rare books, of which there are thousands.
Evie is also on the hunt for the first edition of The Mummy, the first science fiction book written by a woman. And when she finds it, the real whirlwind of the story starts. This research is described in extensive, fascinating, historical detail.
There are a lot of characters and romances in this book, and every detail is wonderful. Every single character, fictional or based on historical information (like the widow of the late George Orwell, Daphne de Maurier, Samuel Becket, Ms. Guggenheim, to name but a few of the historical figures) leaps out of the pages before the reader’s eyes. One sees the three protagonists grow into their own selves, with identity and confidence emerging as the story unfolds. (And I’ll say no more about the intrigue that is the essence of this wonderful journey, as that would be venturing into spoiler land.) Every character who graces the pages of this book, male or female, major or minor, even a cat, has so much depth and contour that I didn’t want the book to end.
But, alas, stories end, and when I read the last page I kind of sighed and said to myself, “What a wonderful book.”
I was fascinated by Evie’s search for The Mummy and the historical details about it. The research for this, and, I am certain, all the historical figures who appear in this book, was spot on. There’s nothing made up about the historical facts that weave in and out of this book.
I received this book as an ARC from the publisher and NetGalley. Thank you, thank you, to Natalie Jenner. I can’t wait to read your first book and the books that follow this one. I’d give ten stars if I could.
What an incredibly delightful story. I did not read the Jane Austen Society though it is on my TBR so this was my first introduction to any of the characters within this book. That being said, it took nothing away from this story not having read the other book first.
The Bloomsbury Girls revolve around three very strong minded women working for a London bookstore of course named Bloomsbury Books in the 1950’s. This is during a period in time where women were considered second class citizens and incapable of managing things on their own without the guidance of men. With many wonderful characters and beautifully descriptive locations throughout London, this book was a joy to read.
Natalie Jenner is an incredibly talented author that brings to life the time period, locations and people. I truly enjoyed all the textures of the plot and the characters. Natalie Jenner is a must read author and I will be watching out for her books from now on.
Thank you #netgalley and #stsimonpublishing allowing me to read and early copy of this book.
This is a fabulous historical fiction read and I highly recommend it. The story covers several women after the end of WW II when the men have come home and the women are once again asked to settle for less than their male counterparts. Rather than settle, these women work towards their future and goals and this is their story.
Full of friendship, sweat, tears and some of famous figures of the time, this story is full of hope, perseverance and hard work. These are the types of women that have paved the way for rest of us and I loved seeing them shine in this book. I highly recommend this for the Historical Fiction lover.
Natalie Jenner’s sophomore work, Bloomsbury Girls is even more delightful than her debut novel, The Jane Austen Society. Although several characters have cameos,Bloomsbury Girls is a stand alone read.
Set a in post-war classic English bookshop on the cusp of major social and class metamorphoses, Bloomsbury Girls tells the story of three women and how they break with the typical societally-shackled gender roles to find their happiness.
This book also tackles subjects such as class, race and sexuality and how the characters are set to reform stuffy English social mores. I loved how this novel is also a brief history of lesser-known 19th and 20th female writers and their contribution to literature and society. Using real-life figures such as Peggy Guggenheim, Daphne du Maurier and many more recognizable literary players of the time, Jenner weaves a beautiful tale of women, friendships and their passion for creating and publishing literary works in 1949/50.
Bloomsbury Girls was an engrossing read and makes one long for the bygone era of cozy bookshops with overstuffed chairs, a cup of tea and two biscuits.!
Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner is the absolute perfect novel for anyone who looks back nostalgically on the days when bookstores were an integral part of the retail experience. Whether at big stores like Barnes & Noble or my own local Book Revue in Huntington, LI (that recently just closed- cue tears) I spent many afternoons browsing through their aisles and finding some of my favorite books that have stayed with me for decades. By the time I got to the last page, the main characters felt like personal friends and I was sad to leave the world Ms. Jenner so vividly created. Highly recommend!
Bloomsbury Girls is a wonderful read, filled with gossipy tidbits and insights. The story revolves around three female employees of a postwar London bookstore who each have their own reasons for working there in spite of the male dominated management. Vivian wants to write and get published. Grace works because her husband won’t. Evie is on a quest to find a lost but potentially extremely valuable book written by a woman during the period when women had to publish anonymously. The male characters are defined as they interact with the women both in the shop and outside. This reader loved how the author wove real persons into the narrative in substantial ways. This is a book not to be missed by any serious fiction lover. I voluntarily reviewed an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. Most highly recommend.
I enjoyed the author's previous work "The Jane Austen Society", and was very happy to read her latest, "The Bloomsbury Girls", picking up with the character of Evie, as she leaves Cambridge to start work in the post-war years. What a perfect book for booksellers this delightful novel is! Loved the setting of old-fashioned Bloomsbury Books and all the fussy, chauvinistic men there who have their apple-cart all upset by their smarter female colleagues! The call-backs to famous literary folk of the day are fantastic too! Highly recommend. My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the complimentary DRC, which did not influence my review or opinions.
What a wonderful follow-up to The Jane Austen Society! Not really a sequel, it’s more like a spin-off. Evie Stone has an ulterior motive for starting a job at Bloomsbury Books— she is searching for a rare book. During her quest, she has to navigate 51 strict rules and the fragile egos of the male employees. Fortunately, she has some strong female support.
I enjoyed this story of female empowerment. The author does a great job of weaving real people, places and events into her stories, all while building a world that the reader wants to be a part of.
A delightful post-WWII novel set in 1950 London. Three strong willed, independent women from a range of backgrounds and experiences, working together in a somewhat fusty, old fashioned bookstore, populated by an equally intriguing range of male employees. Several characters from the author’s previous title, The Jane Austen Society, are carried over, primarily Evie. I particularly loved how the author included many real life literary and art world characters from that period. Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a preview copy.
Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare book store 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 fiance 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 goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow
I really enjoyed the author's first book, The Jane Austen Society, so was eager to read her newest book which was just as good. She used some of the same characters from the first book which was a pleasant surprise. I enjoy the way the author develops her characters throughout the book and shows the culture of the times which was predominately male run. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book, and I highly recommend it.