Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare book store that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager's unbreakable fifty-one rules. But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans. As they interact with various literary figures of the time—Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others—these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow.
... captivating ... Jenner boldly mixes real history with her fictional creations, and readers who enjoy the 'nonfiction novel' genre will find pleasure in parsing facts from embellishments ... Jenner draws readers into her tale with a genial, matter-of-fact style that’s exactly what’s expected for a novel about a humble London bookstore. Each chapter begins with one of Herbert’s many ridiculous rules, most of which are broken over the course of the book. But Bloomsbury Girls’ surface coziness puts the tumult of its characters in relief, giving the novel unexpected depth and complexity.
Jenner’s sequel to The Jane Austen Society can be enjoyed by those who have not read the first book ... For readers interested in women’s changing roles after World War II, with intriguing details of women’s lives and the spice of real writers.
Another top-notch reading experience, using the same deft hand at creating complex, emotionally engaging characters through subtle details and actions, while providing a backdrop chock-full of factual historical information. Readers will enjoy surprise appearances and references to notable authors of both the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, sparking interest in the discovery of unfamiliar women writers of the past and in the culture of postwar London. Although Jenner’s novels share some connections, each can be enjoyed on its own.