After the death of her beloved mother, June Jones has let her life pass her by. She’s working as an assistant to a horrid head librarian in her quiet English hometown. She does nothing, sees no one outside of work, and has never even been kissed.
But when the town council threatens the library with closure, June has a chance to change her life. She secretly joins with a motley crew of town residents in a campaign to save the library, and along the way (and with their help!), she finds the strength to save herself at last.
“The Last Chance Library” is the debut novel from journalist Freya Sampson, who lives in London and previously produced two BBC documentaries about the British royal family. Her British heritage provides authenticity to the quiet country lifestyle June leads. Its rural feel also gives the small-town stakes an extra resonance as the library is truly the center of community for a diverse cast of people who depend upon it.
This book, a “Good Morning America” buzz pick, starts off slow, much like June’s life in the first half of the novel, making it the perfect book to cozy up with for fall. You’ll want to cheer as she begins to assert control over her life, although you’ll also want to yell at several of the characters for acting well beyond the boundaries of propriety and manners. June’s boss and a certain library patron in particular can feel a bit like one-note villains at the start, and their cruelty toward June doesn’t feel deserved or earned.
Yet the novel, much like June, will charm its way into your heart as the heroine learns to navigate all the complicated aspects of her life, and takes on a few secrets of her own along the way.
Grab a cup of English breakfast tea, cuddle in with a blanket, and make this your next read. “The Last Chance Library” is available now wherever books are sold.
Kate Lewis reviews books monthly for Military Families Magazine. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more. Find her online @katehasthoughts.Read comments