Clara Button is no ordinary librarian. While the world remains at war, in East London Clara has created the country’s only underground library, built over the tracks in the disused Bethnal Green tube station.
Down here a secret community thrives: with thousands of bunk beds, a nursery, a cafe and a theatre offering shelter, solace and escape from the bombs that fall above.Along with her glamorous best friend and library assistant Ruby Munroe, Clara ensures the library is the beating heart of life underground.
But as the war drags on, the women’s determination to remain strong in the face of adversity is tested to the limits when it seems it may come at the price of keeping those closest to them alive.
Based on true events, The Little Wartime Library is a gripping and heart-wrenching page-turner that remembers one of the greatest resistance stories of the war.
For those followers who know my reading patterns, they will know that I really love novels set during WW2, so when I won The Little Wartime Library, I was so pleased as from the premise, I hoped it would be a good read.
Firstly, I must say that The Little Wartime Library is based on fact, this made the red so much better. This is the story of two friends, Clara and Ruby manage to survive the latter part of the war in Bethnal Green, London, working in a library that has been built above the tracks of the Underground because the above-ground library has been hit by a bomb and destroyed. This novel follows their lives and those of the locals, trying to work, live, love, and survive in tired war-torn London.
The cast of characters is quite large, but they are written with such love and care, you can tell that Kate Thompson has done a huge amount of research into the history of Bethnal Green and its inhabitants. I loved the cast of The Little Wartime Library and found the plots to be heart-rendering, gripping, and warm. We follow the novel from both Clara’s and Ruby’s perspectives in each chapter, and this works well.
As always you know I’m not going to give any spoilers away, but this is a multi-faceted story of the lives of the Jewish and English residents of this small corner of London, I really did enjoy The Little Wartime Library, and particularly liked the section at the end of the paperback that tells you how Kate Thompson researched the background to writing this book.
If you like books based during WW2, that are also based on truth, books with a lovely warm feeling about them but also written with knowledge and great care and compassion, then The Little Wartime Library is one for you. I really did enjoy it and gave it a strong 4 stars.
Kate is an award-winning journalist, ghostwriter, and novelist. She spent five years working on national newspapers such as the Daily Express and Daily Mail, and also on all the major national woman’s magazine titles.
Over the past seven years, she has concentrated on writing ten fiction and non-fiction titles. Her debut novel, SECRETS OF THE SINGER GIRLS, was a Sunday Times bestseller in 2015, with first-week sales of over 10,000. It has recently been optioned by Bandit Television.
Kate’s first non-fiction book , which uncovers the lives of extraordinary women of wartime East End, THE STEPNEY DOORSTEP SOCIETY, was published by Penguin (Michael Joseph) in February 2019 and reached number one in the history categories on Amazon.
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