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.
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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. 5/5 stars 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! Full Review: 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.
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!