I found this in one of the many Free Little Library boxes in my neighborhood. Admittedly I chose it for it’s title.
This story starts with Grace Bennett and her friend, Vivienne (Viv), two small town country girls arriving in London full of youth an energy and ready to live it up. They are 23. It is 1939. A series of bad family circumstances force them to leave their village. Both women move into the house of Mrs. Weatherford, Grace’s mother’s long-time friend, and her 21 year old son, Colin.
Viv, a glamorous fashionista, has her heart set on a job at Harrods. Grace is hoping for a job in a less glamorous department store. While Viv realizes her dream, Grace ends up working in a dusty old bookshop called Primrose Hill Books, owned by Mr. Evans, a grumpy old man who does not want her there.
Soon Mr. Evans sees the value in a young, bright, capable assistant and they become friends. Grace even meets a handsome stranger, George Anderson, and the two start flirting. But all does not go as planned.
Britain finds itself at war with Germany once France is invaded. Colin and George enlist in the army. Shortages and rationing begin, as do the air raids. Viv grows restless and signs up to help with the war effort as well. Grace and Mrs. Weatherford stay in London and help locally. All the while the bombs keep dropping on London. Places and lives are destroyed. Grace and Mr. Evans try to keep people’s spirits up at the book shop by suggesting they distract themselves with a good read. Eventually the war ends. The community comes together. London rebuilds.
This story is best described by one of the reviewers on the back cover: “A love letter to the power of books to unite us, to hold the world together when it’s falling apart around our ears.” – Karen Robards, author of The Black Swan of Paris.
This book will not rock your world, but if you want a light read that is a sweet story but does not gloss over the horrors of the Blitz in London and WWII, then this is a good option.