The British Booksellers By Kristy Cambron Book Review

The British Booksellers by Kristy Cambron. WWII historical fiction

Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Publishing for this advance copy in exchange for my honest review. 

The British Booksellers by Kristy Cambron is set in the Second World War during the Blitz of England. This is an interesting perspective, as many stories focus on the fighting not the suffering and fighting at home.

This story was beautifully researched and written. Cambron Is a master craftswoman. She uses jargon and language expertly to immerse you in the past of 1940 and 1914. Every little detail is realistic, and the description of the world is vivid.

The British Booksellers Plot

A tenant farmer’s son had no business daring to dream of a future with an earl’s daughter, but that couldn’t keep Amos Darby from his secret friendship with Charlotte Terrington . . . until the reality of the Great War sobered youthful dreams. Now decades later, he bears the brutal scars of battles fought in the trenches and their futures that were stolen away. His return home doesn’t come with tender reunions, but with the hollow fulfillment of opening a bookshop on his own and retreating as a recluse within its walls. When the future Earl of Harcourt chose Charlotte to be his wife, she knew she was destined for a loveless match. Though her heart had chosen another long ago, she pledges her future even as her husband goes to war. Twenty-five years later, Charlotte remains a war widow who divides her days between her late husband’s declining estate and operating a quaint Coventry bookshop—Eden Books, lovingly named after her grown daughter. And Amos is nothing more than the rival bookseller across the lane. As war with Hitler looms, Eden is determined to preserve her father’s legacy. So when an American solicitor arrives threatening a lawsuit that could destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to preserve, mother and daughter prepare to fight back. But with devastation wrought by the Luftwaffe’s local blitz terrorizing the skies, battling bookshops—and lost loves, Amos and Charlotte—must put aside their differences and fight together to help Coventry survive.

The British Booksellers Review

I knew of the London Blitz due to my grandparents living through it, but I’d never heard of the Coventry Blitz. Her notes at the end were fascinating, especially to learn that it is also known as the Forgotten Blitz even though six hundred people died.

This is a slow, winding story full of sweet nostalgia, loss, and hope. It weaves between the present of 1940 and the past of 1914. Two world wars are the backdrops of human stories. Showing us how our protagonists, Charlotte and Amos met, and how life has irrevocably torn them apart.

It’s a beautiful read, although I did find the first half slow. It’s fascinating because of the history and knowledge that the Blitz is coming, but there’s just a lot of set-up and development. The second half began to move more quickly, and I was finally hooked.

My favourite part of the story is the meeting between Amos and Frank the German officer. It’s such a fleeting moment, but it ties them and the rest of the story together powerfully. Their second meeting as well is gut-wrenching because you know it’s leading to loss.

Another powerful moment is when Amos is manning the Home Guards control centre right at the end. With the warnings of planes being rung in and the tension building, you can see that something terrible is about to happen.

4/5

The British Booksellers is a poetic novel on love lost and found. War is a gateway to suffering and redemption. Cambron has a vivid descriptive voice and is adept at building a realistic and well-researched world.

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