Friday 20 October 2023

Review - The Air Raid Book Club by Annie Lyons

The Air Raid Book Club by Annie Lyons
Publisher: Headline
Release date: 11 July 2023
Back cover blurb: As the bombs began to fall, the book club kept their hopes alive... London, 1938. Bookseller Gertie Bingham is facing difficult times, having just lost her beloved husband, Harry, and with a lingering sadness at never having been able to have a child of her own. Struggling to face running the bookshop she and Harry opened together, Gertie is preparing to sell up and move away when she is asked if she would be willing to take in a young Jewish refugee from Germany. Gertie is unsure and when sullen teenager Hedy Fischer arrives, Gertie fears she has nothing left to give the troubled girl. But when the German bombers come and the lights go out over London, Gertie and Hedy realise that joining forces will make them stronger, and that books have the power to bring young and old together and unite a community in need in its darkest hour...

The Air Raid Book Club is a beautifully written WW2 novel.

Gertie Bingham like so many is facing difficult times. After the loss of her beloved husband, she feels lost, and a lingering sadness at never being able to have a child of her own.

After the great war Gertie and Harry bought a bookshop, and that had kept them both content despite their childlessness. After Harry's death, with WW2 looming, Gertie considers selling up and moving away. Feeling that there is nothing left for her in the community. 

Until a life long friend presents her with a unique solution. Looking after a young Jewish refugee from Germany. It will be companionship for her, and she will be doing something to help the war effort. 

At first Gertie is unsure. Despite her desire to be a Mother, she isn't sure that she'd make a very good guardian, particularly not when she is still grieving for her husband.

When Hedy Fischer arrives, Gertie's worst fears are realised. They have nothing in common, and the girl is frightened, sullen and headstrong. She takes comfort in Hemmingway, Gertie's dog as he reminds her of the beloved pet she had to leave behind.

Gertie begins to reach Hedy through Hemmingway, and then through their mutual love of books. When Hedy begins to help Gertie in the bookshop, she begins to come out of her shell, and is a real asset. She also helps Gertie to rediscover her passion for books, reading and helping the community.

Together they navigate the war years, comforting each other through loss, uncertainty and brutality, and wondering what awaits them on the other side.

The Air Raid Book club is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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