Monday, April 25, 2022

Book Review: Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

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.


If you are a book lover, and who here isn't? You love anything and everything about books, so what better book to read, than a book that book takes place in a book store!

I enjoyed Natalie Jenner's previous novel The Jane Austin Society, so I was extremely happy to be able to get an advanced listen to her newest book Bloomsbury Girls.

As with Jane Austen Society Jenner has expertly written history in the new story, along with intelligent and charming characters that you cant help but like, one of the main charaters is even in the previous book, but do not let that stop you from reading Bloomsbury Girls if you havent read Jane Austen, because while they do share a character, this is not a sequel, it is a story in its own right and can be read as such.

The story is very character driven and although it takes place in the 50s and the women are facing all the sexism and other problems that may have befall upon women working and living in that time period, I would not neccesarriy  consider the book historica fiction, to me it would fall more in line with the genre of women's fiction,

There are a lot of characters in this story but Jenner was able to give them each purpose and place, helping you navigate them without getting confused on who they are or where they fit within the story. 

The Bloombury Girls is a charming read that will hit the mark for a lot of readers...Historical Fiction, General Fiction, Womens Fiction and Book Clubs, it really has something for everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Book Review: The Shadow House by Anna Downes


Alex, a single mother of two, is determined to make a fresh start for her and her children. In an effort to escape her troubled past, she seeks refuge in a rural community. Pine Ridge is idyllic; the surrounding forests are beautiful and the locals welcoming. Mostly.

But Alex finds that she may have disturbed barely hidden secrets in her new home. As a chain of bizarre events is set off, events eerily familiar to those who have lived there for years, Alex realizes that she and her family might be in greater danger than ever before. And that the only way to protect them all is to confront the shadows lurking in Pine Ridge.


Alex has left her abusive husband to move, along with her children to Pine Ridge, a seeming long welcoming community. But the area doesn’t stay idlic for long when creepy things begin to happen .
he story has all the elements of a creepy story … a creepy doll ( I gotta tell you I find dolls super creepy ) Bones and blood all over, but the creepiness didn’t seem to hold up for me. Despite the feel of the book, there is nothing supernatural going on- which was fine with me as I am not a huge fan of that genre, I find somethings that humans do are much more creepy.
The book is told from two point of views, Alex is course, is the main voice of the story. But there is also Renee, who is married to the son of the builder of Pine Ridge. The same creepy things that happen to Alex also happen to Renee, cumulating into the kidnapping of Renee’s son Gabriel. So what is the connection between these two women? I can’t tell you, but it does play I to the mystery.
The ending of the book wraps up quite well. There are surprises and a few twist along the way, some you will see coming and others … well those are the surprises. For me, the story was very much a slow burn. I listened to the audio book and enjoyed the reader’s Australian accent, which seemed to bring the location alive for me. It was neither jarring or hard to understand.
My biggest complaint… there was a gruesome cat killing which I found totally unnecessary . I think this played into my factor of not giving it a higher star rating .