Wednesday 14 September 2022

The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson BLOG TOUR @katethompson380 #TheLittleWartimeLibrary @RandomTTours @HodderBooks #BookReview


London, 1944.

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 café 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.

The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson was published in paperback on 1 September 2022 by Hodder. My thanks to the author and publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour

This book is astonishing novel, I was completely and utterly glued to it from the very first page. Not only is it a wonderfully written story of hope and community, it is also educational as Kate Thompson has based the plot and the characters on true events. 

It's London, in 1944 and the city has been devastated by the ongoing bombardment of German bombs during the blitz. However, as we've all learnt since then, it's difficult to keep the British down and whilst there is constant tragedy, death and anguish, there's a growing sense of community and friendship and support. 

Clara Button is just twenty-five, she was widowed when her husband died in Dunkirk. Since the death of the Bethnal Green librarian, she's now in charge, previously being the children's librarian. Bethnal Green library is no ordinary library though. It's 78 feet underground, based in the half-completed Bethnal Green Underground station, built on the boarded up tracks of a tunnel. 

The library is the heart of what has become a thriving underground community. Home for 5000 displaced Londoners who sleep on bunks in the tunnels. There's also a theatre and a coffee shop, and gang of roving children who call themselves the Tunnel Rats. Clara's library is at the heart of it all, a much needed place for patrons to escape the horrors of the streets above and lose themselves in fiction. 

Kate Thompson introduces a whole cast of incredibly detailed characters, from Clara's best friend Ruby, to the young evacuees from Jersey, each and every one of them plays their part in this beautifully created novel. 

It's not all warmth and book clubs though. The author deals with some distressing and emotionally challenging themes within the story. The overarching misogyny that Clara and her team face, the increase in domestic violence cases, the after-effects of the trauma of fighting on the front line and the loss of homes and family members are all dealt with sensitively but she also doesn't hold back. There are heartbreaking, and heartwarming scenes within the story. 

The story begins and ends in the present day, a clever way to enable the reader to learn more about what happens to the characters when the war is over. I really appreciated that detail, without it, I think I would have been worrying about the characters forever more! 

Truly outstanding, one of my favourite books of the year for sure. It's graceful and elegant, it's eye opening and astute. I loved it and highly recommend it. 

Kate Thompson an award-winning journalist, ghostwriter and novelist who has spent the past two decades in the UK mass market and book publishing industry.

Over the past eight years Kate has written eleven fiction and non-fiction titles, three of which have made the 
Sunday Times top ten bestseller list.

Twitter @katethompson380

Instagram @katethompsonauthor

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