The Bookseller’s Secret: A Novel of Nancy Mitford and WWII

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With The Bookseller’s Secret Michelle Gable brings us a dual timeline novel that pivots between London in 1942 and 2021. Her two protagonists, one the very real Nancy Mitford, and the other the entirely fictional Katie Cabot, have quite a bit in common though separated by eighty years and different nationalities. Nancy has all but given up writing, her famous family is rich but highly dysfunctional, and her marriage is less than loving. Katie keeps being prodded to write a sequel that she has no desire to do, her family may not be famous but they definitely have issues, and she has just split with her fiancé who she has known since childhood. Besides these similarities, both women also seek solace in the same place: the Heywood Hill Bookstore. It is among those shelves that both writers find a renewed desire to pick up the pen once more.

Time and again the storylines mirror each other, and while that may seem predictable, the author keeps things interesting. Gable shines with her talent for dialogue-driven writing, and it is in the witty and carefully constructed phrases, especially when writing the 1940s sections, where her skill is most evident. I have a fondness for books about bookstores and libraries and the magic that happens within them, and this is a lovely addition to my shelf.

Reviewed By:

Author Tamara Benson
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 400 pages
Publisher Graydon House
Publish Date 17-Aug-2021
ISBN 9781525806469 Buy this Book
Issue December 2021
Category Historical Fiction