My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/ 5
This is a historical fiction taking place in 1950s England about three different women working at Bloomsbury Books. It is also the follow up to the Jane Austen Society (which I did not read). The bookshop is managed by Mr. Dutton, who has created 51 rules that all staff must adhere to. These three women: Vivian, Grace, and Evie have all suffered from workplace inequality amongst their male peers. Evie, the newer employee, has a motive to search high and low for a rare book based on her previous research at Cambridge – she is adamant it must be there somewhere in the shop.
There is a lot going on. Grace, with her unmotivated, abusive husband Gordon, to the hate/love relationship between Vivian and Alec, the secret relationships amongst the staff, the racism that Ash feels as an Indian man in England at this time, and efforts of different members of the staff to take over the shop. I liked it, but there were large portions of the book that moved painstakingly slow. The ending made me feel good, but also felt rushed at the same time. The subtle flirtation between Lord Baskin and Grace is cute, but I wish there was more of it. I am in the minority of those that did not LOVE it, but glad I read it.
Thank you to St Martin’s Press for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!