Synopsis

London, 1938: The bookstore just doesn’t feel the same to Gertie Bingham ever since the death of her beloved husband Harry. Bingham Books was a dream they shared together, and without Harry, Gertie wonders if it’s time to take her faithful old lab, Hemingway, and retire to the seaside. But fate has other plans for Gertie.

In Germany, Hitler is on the rise, and Jewish families are making the heart-wrenching decision to send their children away from the growing turmoil. After a nudge from her dear friend Charles, Gertie decides to take in one of these refugees, a headstrong teenage girl named Hedy. Willful and fearless, Hedy reminds Gertie of herself at the same age, and shows her that she can’t give up just yet. With the terrible threat of war on the horizon, the world needs people like Gertie Bingham and her bookshop.

When the Blitz begins and bombs whistle overhead, Gertie and Hedy come up with the idea to start an air raid book club. Together with neighbors and bookstore customers, they hold lively discussions of everything from  Winnie the Pooh  to  Wuthering Heights.  After all, a good book can do wonders to bolster people’s spirits, even in the most trying times. But even the best book can only provide a temporary escape, and as the tragic reality of the war hits home, the book club faces unimaginable losses. They will need all the strength of their stories and the bonds they’ve formed to see them through to brighter days.

Audiobook Mini Review

4 well rounded stars

As I am more in the mood for reading than reviewing, I will give you the bite size version of what this book made me feel and what I loved about it.

I read The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett and fell in love with Annie Lyons writing!

The focus of the book is once again about the relationship between an old(er) woman, Gertie, nearly sixty years old at the beginning of the story and Hedy, fifteen years old when it begins.

The same way Rose gave a new purpose, a new drive to Eudora, Hedy will help Gertie get a grip on life and go through war.

Hedy will give Gertie the courage and will to give back to the community through her bookshop, creating the air raid book club.

Gertie Bingham is a kind women who will be as fierce as a mama bear when Hedy comes into her life. She was desolate and ready to retire when rumors of the war began but Hedy will help her find a new purpose, remember who she was as a young girl, full of fire.

Throughout the book, more characters will support the story, making it about a community and how important friendship and community can be in hard times,. As one of the characters said, if wars are won, it’s not thanks to leaders but it’s thanks to all the people who contribute to the effort.

From the women gathering to knit socks for prisoners, to wardens on the street helping people after bombing, to librarians who send escape to prisoners thanks to books, to…

Annie Lyons, as always, made me walk in the character’s shoes, see them as dear friends. I feared, rejoiced, despaired, grieved, hoped, laughed and marveled alongside them.

It’s sweet and bitter, cozy and grave,  light and deep.

I went through that audiobook in record time, Jilly Bond doing an excellent job bringing that story to life and I know that I will read other books by Annie Lyons.

Thanks for reading.

Sophie

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