📖 This little treasure has been sat on my bookshelf for quite some time taunting me with its flame-red cover and boy, am I kicking myself that I didn’t get to it sooner. What a good book!
✍️ The story begins with a young feisty girl called Kate. Orphaned at a young age by a deceased mother and a deserted father, she is brought up by a harsh aunt, who seems to do everything in her power to make Kate’s life difficult. By day, Kate’s life is tough but by night she dreams her estranged father will return to her and change her world for the better. Before Kate’s 14th birthday her aunt enrols her in the local factory and takes the vast majority of her paycheck. When a fight breaks out between Kate and her cousins, Kate finds herself homeless. In an already poverty-stricken area of London, she finds herself desperate to take on any jobs to keep her head above water. Just as Kate finally manages to turn her fortunes around, her father reappears back in her life, but will he be the hero Kate has pictured all these years?
👓 This story is told from Kate’s viewpoint and immediately she was a character I fell in love with. Despite her tough upbringing and existence in general, she is strong, smart and determined. You cannot help but champion her.
👫 Another brilliant character in this story is Kate’s partial love interest, Johnny. A docker who had his own troubled childhood to deal with. However, he loves to frequent the Bermondsey Bookshop and finds he has a gift of writing, he is determined to better his life.
🗺 This book is set in the Bermondsey district of London. The Bermondsey Street area at that time was poverty-stricken and industrial. The opening of this bookstore provided the residents with a lifestyle that would otherwise have been unobtainable. The most fascinating thing about this is it’s actually true! The Bermondsey book shop really existed, with lectures and elocution classes, and a book loan system to help those from poorer backgrounds enjoy the love of books.
You can read more about the bookshop and its history here:
💭 Overall View: Needless to say, I loved this book. One of my favourites that I have read this year. I have already recommended it to friends and family. This is the first book I have read by this author, but I will certainly look out for more.
View all my reviews