Title: Bloomsbury Girls
Author: Natalie Jenner
Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
Publisher: A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press.
Length: Approximately 12 hours and 29 minutes
Source: Review Copy from Netgalley for being a part of the Austenprose PR Book Tour. Thank-you!
Do things always needs to stay the same because that is the way they’ve always been? Three female employees of Bloomsbury Books in post-WWII London are starting to think that they could be the change for good to help sales at their store. The store has been strictly run by men, tradition, and a dusty set of rules. Will Vivien, Grace, and Evie be able to change things up?
I had previously read and enjoyed The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. Bloomsbury Girls has Evie Stone as a main character who was previously in The Jane Austen Society. It also had what I loved about that novel, great characters, story, and setting. The setting was in a book shop and there was a lot of talk about books. I loved it. Even better is when really life author, Daphne Du Maurier gives an author talk at the store and becomes a character in the novel. I LOVE Daphne Du Maurier and the talk of her works and of her as a living, breathing, authoress was thrilling.
I loved all of the characters, but especially the main female characters of Vivien, Grace, and Evie. Vivien is a beautiful woman with ambitions to move up at the bookstore and also to become an author. She also lost her great love during WWII and has a love / hate relationship with another employee, Alec. Her best friend at the shop is Grace. Grace is a married mother of two and finds that her marriage has become untenable. She has found a comradeship with Lord Baskin, the owner of Bloomsbury books. As his married, employee from a different social class, what future can that hold? Evie Stone has gone to Cambridge and has become employed at Bloomsbury Books as she is on the hunt for a rare historically significant book written by a female author. As she gets settled in, she becomes friends with her co-worker Ash. Will they become more than friends? Will Evie find the rare book and if so, what will she do with it?
I enjoyed the story as the women have to decide what they want in life and how to move forward. I also loved the discussion of women authors and rare books. I loved that characters from The Jane Austen Society were woven throughout the text as well. You can definitely read this as a stand alone novel, but it’s a fun treat for those that have read both books.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Juliet Stevenson. Juliet Stevenson was Mrs. Elton in the 1996 version of Emma. I enjoyed her portrayal as Mrs. Elton, and I have enjoyed her narration of audiobooks in the past. She does another great job with Bloomsbury Girls giving a unique voice to the characters.Overall, Bloomsbury Girls is a gentle story with fascinating characters and setting in 1950s England. I loved it.
· Title: Bloomsbury Girls: A Novel
· Author: Natalie Jenner
· Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
· Publisher: St. Martin's Press (May 17, 2022)
· Length: (368) pages
· Format: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook
· ISBN: 978-1250276698
· Tour Dates: May 2-29, 2022
Jenner, the internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen
Society, returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war
London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way
in a fast-changing world in Bloomsbury Girls.
Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare bookstore 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 fiancé 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.
Narrated by esteemed stage and screen actress Juliet Stevenson, enjoy the full unabridged edition of Bloomsbury Girls. “Stevenson delivers the satisfying triumph at the end with perfect polish.” —AudioFile Magazine
follows The Jane Austen Society (2020) with another top-notch
reading experience, using the same deft hand at creating complex, emotionally
engaging characters [against] a backdrop chock-full of factual historical
information... Fans of Christina Baker Kline, Kate Quinn and Pam Jenoff [will]
appreciate this gem." —Booklist (starred review)
"An illuminating yarn... Fans of emotional historical fiction will be charmed." —Publishers Weekly
"Bloomsbury Girls is an immersive tale of three women determined to forge their own paths in 1950s London. Jenner has proven to be a master at spinning charming, earnest characters and paints a vivid picture of postwar England. I wanted to stay lost in her world forever!" —Stephanie Wrobel, internationally bestselling author of Darling Rose Gold
"Bloomsbury Girls is a book lover's dream, one of those rare reads that elicits a sense of book-ish wistfulness and nostalgia. Jenner has created a colorful cast of characters in a story about friendship, perseverance, and the ways that determined women can band together in a man's world. You're in for a treat." —Sarah Penner, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Apothecary
"In a London still reeling from the ravages of World War II and the changes war has brought to English society, three young women take their futures into their own hands. With Bloomsbury Girls, Natalie Jenner has penned a timely and beautiful ode to ambition, friendship, bookshops, and the written word." —Janet Skeslien Charles, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Library
“In post-war London, Bloomsbury Books survived The Blitz until Vivien Lowry, Grace Perkins, and Evie Stone set off their own bomb on the stuffy all-male management. What ensues is the most delightful, witty, and endearing story you will read this year. Natalie Jenner, bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society, proves that she was not a one hit wonder. Like Austen, her second book is even better than the first.” —Laurel Ann Nattress, editor of Jane Austen Made Me Do It
PRINT & DIGITAL BOOK
A MESSAGE FROM AUTHOR NATALIE JENNER
Dear readers, I am immensely grateful for the outpouring of affection that so many of you have expressed for my debut novel The Jane Austen Society and its eight main characters. When I wrote its epilogue (in one go and without ever changing a word), I wanted to give each of Adam, Mimi, Dr. Gray, Adeline, Yardley, Frances, Evie and Andrew the happy Austenesque ending they each deserved. But I could not let go of servant girl Evie Stone, the youngest and only character inspired by real life (my mother, who left school at age fourteen, and my daughter, who does eighteenth-century research for a university professor and his team). Bloomsbury Girls continues Evie’s adventures into a 1950s London bookshop where there is a battle of the sexes raging between the male managers and the female staff, who decide to pull together their smarts, connections, and limited resources to take over the shop and make it their own. There are dozens of new characters in Bloomsbury Girls from several different countries, and audiobook narration was going to require a female voice of the highest training and caliber. When I learned that British stage and screen actress Juliet Stevenson, CBE, had agreed to narrate, I knew that my story could not be in better hands, and I so hope you enjoy reading or listening to it. Warmest regards, Natalie
Natalie Jenner is the author of the instant international bestseller The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls. A Goodreads Choice Award runner-up for historical fiction and finalist for best debut novel, The Jane Austen Society was a USA Today and #1 national bestseller and has been sold for translation in twenty countries. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie has been a corporate lawyer, career coach and, most recently, an independent bookstore owner in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs. Visit her website to learn more.