**We were gifted an ecopy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own**
I’m thrilled to be taking part in the publication Blog Tour for The Bermondsey Bookshop by Mary Gibson alongside a whole host of other fabulous bloggers. It goes without saying that any novel set in a bookshop would instantly piqued my interest, however this latest book is set against the backdrop of a 1920’s real life store which only increased my intrigue. I couldn’t wait to dive into this latest release and today I have the pleasure of sharing my full review on publication day! Many thanks to Mary Gibson and Head of Zeus for having me on the tour and for gifting me a copy of the book to review.
About The Book
Set in 1920s London, this is the inspiring story of Kate Goss’s struggle against poverty,hunger and cruel family secrets.
Her mother died in a fall, her father has vanished without trace, and now her aunt and cousins treat her viciously. In a freezing, vermin-infested garret, factory girl Kate has only her own brave spirit and dreams of finding her father to keep her going. She has barely enough money to feed herself, or to pay the rent. The factory where she works begins to lay off people and it isn’t long before she has fallen into the hands of the violent local money-lender.
That is until an unexpected opportunity comes her way–a job cleaning a most unusual bookshop, where anyone, from factory workers to dockers, can learn to read and then buy books cheaply. A new world opens up, but with it come new dangers, too.
Based on the true story of the Bermondsey Bookshop, this is the most inspiring and gripping novel Mary Gibson has yet written.
Tragically Kate Goss’ Mother was killed when she was very young and her ambitious Father entrusted the care of his only child to his Sister whilst he worked to built his business. However that was years ago and whilst Kate dreams of his return she sadly has to live with the hellish life she finds herself in; forced to leave her education and thrust into the workforce by her cruel, unloving Aunt.
Not one to shy away from hard graft Kate throws herself into job in a vain attempt to escape the cycle of violence and abuse she has become accustomed to, but when the factory starts laying staff off she needs to find another source of income. With a tip off from a colleague Kate enquires about a cleaning job at a newly opened bookshop in her home town of Bermondsey, not realising the impact this change of direction will have on her life….
I’m not a massive historical fiction lover but this novel has made me question if I should be reading more as I thoroughly enjoyed every page. Gibson has written a realistic, gritty, tell it like it is saga that gives a fantastic sense of the struggles faced by the working class back in the day. She has created insight into the class divides that existed by taking inspiration from the real life Bermonsey Bookshop that brought people of every classes together with education being it’s sole aim.
Kate is a real well-written and likeable protagonist thanks to her unwavering strength and fighting spirit despite the heartache and adversity she faces on a daily basis. I quickly become emotionally invested in Kate’s story and could feel her every emotion emit from the page as I followed her journey from child to woman. I especially admired her determination to be true to her roots regardless of the changes she encountered along the way.
When I picked up this book I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was thrilled to find that The Bermondsey Bookshop offered me a bit of everything from historical drama to romance with an unexpected dash of mystery thrown in the mix. I enjoyed reading about the bookshop and the owner whom Mary Gibson took inspiration. The bookshop played a pivotal role in the story, connecting the characters together which encouraged me to do some internet research of my own once I’d finished reading – check it out it’s fascinating.
This is the first of Mary’s books I have read and I am keen to delve into more as I found her writing style to be easy to read with a great flow. I’d highly recommend this read to any historical fiction or book fans.
About The Author
Mary Gibson was born and brought up in Bermondsey, south east London. After a thirty year career in publishing, she took the opportunity of early retirement to write a book of her own.Her début novel,Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts, was inspired by the lives and times of her grandparents in World War One Bermondsey. It went on to become a top ten Kindle bestseller and was selected for World Book Night 2015.