Audiobook Review: Bloomsbury Girls

17 May

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner is a sequel of sorts of the author’s highly acclaimed novel, The Jane Austen Society. One character from the first book is part of the story as the reader is transported to a book store in early 1950s London. It’s a must read for bibliophiles, but it so much more than books. 😉 I liked it very much. Find all the details and my thoughts below.

*******************

Natalie 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.

BOOK TRAILER

AUDIOBOOK

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

AUDIOBOOK EXCERPT 

PURCHASE LINKS:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

AUDIOBOOK

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS

MY IMPRESSIONS:

I loved The Jane Austen Society, so when I heard Natalie Jenner had another book-related novel, I said yes, please! Bloomsbury Girls takes Evie Stone from Jenner’s first novel, and places her, along with a strong cast of characters, in the book shop Bloomsbury Books. Jenner does an admirable job of transporting the reader back to post-WWII England as many strive to find new lives in the ever-changing aftermath of the war. Class distinctions and the place of women and minorities in a new world are explored amid the bookshelves of a grand, but struggling bookstore. And for the bibliophiles among us, there are plenty of interactions with publishing notables and favorite authors. (My favorite, Daphne DuMaurier, plays an integral role.) The struggles of a society are mirrored in the microcosm of the bookstore. Characterization is a strong point of this book. Main and supporting characters alike are fully developed. I listened to the audiobook version of the novel which was excellently read by Juliet Stevenson. If you are a fan of audiobooks, I suggest you download this one soon.

Bloomsbury Girls is an outstanding general market novel that I won’t hesitate to recommend. Filled with historical detail, societal issues that make one think, and characters to love, it is a recommended read.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I received a link to the audiobook from AustenProse. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

A message from the author:


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 had to leave 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

2 Responses to “Audiobook Review: Bloomsbury Girls”

  1. Cindy Davis May 17, 2022 at 11:05 am #

    Excellent review. I have not read anything by this author.

  2. Laurel Ann Nattress May 24, 2022 at 4:47 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Beckie. I also enjoyed being in a London bookshop with these three ladies and look forward to Jenner’s next novel as well.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: