Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson
Published by Berkley on August 31, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Lonely librarian June Jones has never left the sleepy English village where she grew up. Shy and reclusive, the thirty-year-old would rather spend her time buried in books than venture out into the world. But when her library is threatened with closure, June is forced to emerge from behind the shelves to save the heart of her community and the place that holds the dearest memories of her mother.
Joining a band of eccentric yet dedicated locals in a campaign to keep the library, June opens herself up to other people for the first time since her mother died. It just so happens that her old school friend Alex Chen is back in town and willing to lend a helping hand. The kindhearted lawyer's feelings for her are obvious to everyone but June, who won't believe that anyone could ever care for her in that way.
To save the place and the books that mean so much to her, June must finally make some changes to her life. For once, she's determined not to go down without a fight. And maybe, in fighting for her cherished library, June can save herself, too.
I read in almost one sitting. The Last Chance Library has a combination of an upbeat feel and a hopelessness, they war throughout the story. It’s definitely a small town and perhaps a bit old-fashioned in flavor. The quirky but lovable characters are out in force.
Our main character here is June Jones. Her mother worked in the library until she got cancer and died about the time June would have gone to college. June stays home and takes care of her mom. She also begins working at the library to support them. June is not her mom. She has different talents but has a similar love of books and compassion for people.
The case is clearly made for the library being a helpful service to a variety of people in a community. There a young boy being home-schooled. There’s the elderly who come for books, socialization and computer access and help. There’s a recent immigrant who comes for cook books. There’s a teen who needs a place to study since her home is full of people in every room. Who helps them and encourages them? June does.
There’s small parts which don’t seem quite realistic but not too far off. I wanted someone to help them more in their fight to save the library. I was frustrated with the politics stomping down the truth. The ending is different than I hoped / expected but it is fitting. I enjoyed the characters and how they did work together.
How could I resist a story about a library? The takeaway is – it takes a village. Everyone has different skills and problems. No one knows all their personal issues, even in a small town. So be kind.
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