This Chick Read: Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

It’s post WWII England.The town of Bloomsbury is filled with boutique shopping, quiet cafe’s and Bloomsbury Books. Open for 100 years, and owned by Lord Basking, it’s an institution resistant to change, or at least the men who run it are resistant. London is certainly eager to move on from the war. Bloomsbury Girls follows three women who work in the store and who want to make changes in their lives. Vivien is tired of men holding all the power and making all of the decisions. She has a vision for a bookstore that features female authors. Grace is married with two small boys and has taken a job at Bloomsbury Books to get away from a controlling husband and her worsening circumstances. Evie has finished her education at Cambridge but was beaten out for an assistant position in large part due to her being a woman despite better grades and higher intelligence. One night after a successful female author’s event Bloomsbury Books becomes the centerpiece for gathering women and the impetus for change.

While Bloomsbury Books is not the second in a series if you’ve read Jenner’s The Jane Austen Society, you’ll recognize quite a few of the characters. Evie was one of the six in that society in Chawton, England who found and helped evaluate Jane Austen’s library in her home. Now, after graduating, we see an older, yet still slightly naive Evie navigating a large city filled with different cultures and societal expectations. She was certainly the most shy of the three women yet grew the most throughout the novel. I loved her love story, but also how she started the novel naive and learned a little gamesmanship by the end.

Vivien was opinionated, outrageous, and super talented. She was an aspiring writer, but also saw how changes would make their bookstore grow. The men who managed the store were only interested in maintaining things the way that they’d always been done. Vivien was that strong wind of change and her wind was a hurricane gale force.

Grace, like a lot of women of her time found herself in a marriage that no longer gave her what she needed. She and her husband were on different paths and Grace’s journey throughout the book was a voyage of discovery and bravery. Would she or wouldn’t she take that chance to make a change.

Bloomsbury Girls had a methodical pace that allowed the reader to engage with each of the characters in the story and and feel for their circumstances, even if the time we live in has made some inroads into equality on the job and in the household. I really enjoyed the evolution of these characters and loved the conclusion to this novel. It might just be because I’m a woman but it was so satisfying! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase this book!* Bloomsbury Girls

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Just after the end of WWII in the small village of Chawton, England, a small group of villagers decide to honor one of their past residents by creating the Jane Austen Society. Their dream is to restore the small cottage that resides on the Knight estate where Jane Austen once lived and possibly wrote her final novel. Through their love for Jane Austen this disparate group finds solace, love, and hope.

The publisher has compared this novel to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and I definitely see the similarities, although this book stays locked in the post war era. The other similarity is the encapsulated feel of living in a small village, knowing the same people through your entire lives, and having those same people know (or think they know) everything about you. The characters in the Jane Austen Society had quite a few surprises in store not just for the reader, but for each other as well!

There were quite a few stories that ran parallel to the main plot as each character is introduced. Frances Knight, the direct descendant of Jane Austen, who’s home was once Jane’s, is one of the most important. As Frances’ story progresses we see her unmasked. What we and the other villagers see as frailty becomes a quiet strength. On the flip side we see a strong opinionated Adeline reveal a quiet uncertainty in the face of re-starting her life after the death of her unborn child. The contrasts between the characters gave the conflict within their own storylines more impact. This tool was actually used more than once, and quite effectively!

As I read their love for Jane Austen’s novels, and those plots, I realized again how books make such a difference in people’s lives. We each see something of ourselves in the characters we’re reading and these characters saw themselves in Darcy, Elizabeth Bennett, and Emma, just as much as I saw pieces of myself in the characters in The Jane Austen Society. Not only does it bring comfort during difficult times but we see our own past errors in some fictional characters which makes us root for them even more.

The Jane Austen Society quietly snuck up on me. I immediately loved the post WWII era, but it took a little more time for me to find my way with one or two of the characters in this novel. Once I was mid-way through the novel I settled into the plot and enjoyed each moment as it was revealed. If you have the patience to invest yourself in this quietly moving novel, I think you’ll reap the rewards of feeling satisfied at the end of this well written book, and who knows, you may see yourself in one or two of these characters as well! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* The Jane Austen Society: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate-if you purchase this novel through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.