ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Foyles Bookshop Girls by Elaine Roberts @RobertsElaine11 @Aria_Fiction
The Foyles Bookshop Girls is a book I’ve been wanting to read since it was published. I can’t resist a book that has a bookshop in it, especially one as iconic as Foyles. Finally, I’ve got round to it and you can read my review further down this post.
London, 1914: one ordinary day, three girls arrive for work at London’s renowned Foyles bookshop. But when war with Germany is declared their lives will never be the same again…
Alice has always been the ‘sensible’ one in her family – especially in comparison with her suffrage-supporting sister! But decidedly against her father’s wishes, she accepts a job at Foyles Bookshop; and for bookworm Alice it’s a dream come true.
But with the country at war, Alice’s happy world is shattered in an instant. Determined to do what she can, Alice works in the bookshop by day, and risks her own life driving an ambulance around bomb-ravaged London by night. But however busy she keeps herself, she can’t help but think of the constant danger those she loves are facing on the frontline…
Alice, Victoria and Molly couldn’t be more different and yet they share a friendship that stems back to their childhood – a friendship that provides everyday solace from the tribulations and heartbreak of war. Perfect for fans of Elaine Everest, Daisy Styles and Rosie Hendry.
There were shelves upon shelves of old and new books, priced from tuppence upwards. She took a deep breath, never tiring of the smell that came from them. She smiled, remembering how Mr Leadbetter had caught her with her nose in a book, her eyes shut, savouring the smell. He hadn’t questioned her; he understood and they spent ten minutes trying to work out how to describe it.
I just couldn’t resist this book from the title alone. What book lover doesn’t enjoy reading books about books, or in this case, a bookshop. Not just any bookshop either, but the famous Foyles in London. The quote above is from Alice, talking about her work and her love of books.
The girls of the title are Alice, Molly and Victoria, although this is very much Alice’s story (I understand book 2 of the trilogy concentrates more on Molly). She’s a privileged young woman, living with her parents and siblings when the story begins. Despite those privileges, she’s one of the kindest people around, even if her actions do sometimes come across as more do-gooder than helper. She has a gorgeous man in Freddie and she is allowed by her father to work part time at Foyles. I say allowed as her father is a very difficult man and Alice has worked hard for her little bit of independence.
If I say the book begins in 1914 then you’ll surely know the direction it’s going to take. The outbreak of WW1 is a catalyst for change in Alice’s life as she takes on different roles and witnesses some of the men in her life going off to fight.
The Foyles Bookshop Girls is a lovely read, a sweet one in so many ways, although I did find a tear springing into the corner of my eye once or twice at some of the consequences of the war. However, I do think it could perhaps have been a bit more in depth, a bit more meaty, but what suits one reader does not always suit the next.
I did very much hope for a happy conclusion for Alice and I was pleased with the way the book ended. I’m looking forward to finding out a bit more about Molly and also, hopefully, to following Alice through the remainder of the war years. Overall, I enjoyed this delightful and touching read.
Elaine Roberts had a dream to write for a living. She completed her first novel in her twenties and received her first very nice rejection. Life then got in the way until circumstances made her re-evaluate her life, and she picked up her dream again in 2010. She joined a creative writing class, The Write Place, in 2012 and shortly afterwards had her first short story published. She was thrilled when many more followed and started to believe in herself.
As a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Women Writers & Journalists, Elaine attends many conferences, workshops, seminars and wonderful parties. Meeting other writers gives her encouragement, finding most face similar problems.
Elaine and her patient husband, Dave, have five children who have flown the nest. Home is in Dartford, Kent and is always busy with their children, grandchildren, grand dogs and cats visiting. Without her wonderful family and supportive friends, she knows the dream would never have been realised.