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Thursday 22 February 2024

The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson

 Cover of historical fiction novel The Wartime Book Club, reviewed by Is This Mutton

Dear friends. I'm thrilled to bring you a book today that earned the rare accolade from me of 5 stars. It's my stop on the blog tour for The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson.  

The book is described as "A gripping and heartwarming novel inspired by the true events of the women who joined the resistance in Jersey during the German occupation in WW2."

Blog tour details for The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson with review by Is This Mutton

Publisher's Description

Jersey, 1943. Once a warm and neighbourly community, now German soldiers patrol the cobbled streets, imposing a harsh rule on the people of the island.

Grace La Mottée, the island's only librarian, is ordered to destroy books which threaten the new regime. Instead, she hides the stories away in secret. Along with her headstrong best friend, postwoman Bea Rose, she wants to fight back. So she forms the wartime book club: a lifeline, offering fearful islanders the joy and escapism of reading.

But as the occupation drags on, the women's quiet acts of bravery become more perilous -and more important - than ever before. And, when tensions turn to violence, they are forced to face the true, terrible cost of resistance...

Based on astonishing real events, The Wartime Book Club is a love letter to the power of books in the darkest of times - as well as a moving page-turner that brings to life the remarkable, untold story of an island at war.

Kate Thompson’s novels are meticulously researched and rich in historical detail, filled with characters that are always inspired by real women. The detailed author's note at the end of THE WARTIME BOOK CLUB explains how she visited Jersey and uncovered untold true stories of life on the island under the German occupation.

My Thoughts

I was utterly enthralled.

This book has so much. It's an epic tale based on what happened to Jersey in WW2. By the end of the occupation, the islanders were suffering from afflictions and malnutrition with hardly any food left.

The book is full of strong characters who develop as the story does. There are reminders throughout of values, phrases and courage that are in danger of dying out as the so-called Silent Generation leaves us.

The story revolves around librarian Grace and her friend Bea who works for the post office. At first Grace is a quiet bookworm, finding solace in the books and processes of the library. As occupation hits hard, she creates a wartime book club and starts to blossom. 

Bea struck me initially as very impetuous and hot headed, running straight into confrontation with the German forces. But as the story developed, the cruelty of the occupying forces and the nastiness of local informers made me rethink. Yes, I would have done the same as Bea. I also applauded Grace for taking a very brave decision after being implicated for helping to hide people on the run.

There is a lot of sadness and loss but the book is ultimately uplifting and triumphant. It reminds us how strong we can be in the face of adversity, and the power of the written word.

About the Author

Kate Thompson is an award-winning journalist, ghostwriter and novelist who has spent the past two decades in the UK mass market and book publishing industry. Over the past eight years Kate has written twelve fiction and non-fiction titles, three of which have made the Sunday Times top ten
bestseller list. Kate’s new podcast, ‘From the Library with Love’, is available to listen to now.

Find Kate online:

X: @katethompson380
Website: www.katethompsonmedia.co.uk

Praise for The Wartime Book Club 

'Bravery, traitors, acts of defiance and compassion . . . [and] a beautiful and touching love story too' PAM WEAVER 

'A wonderful, poignant, heartwarming story of the power of books and the strength of the human spirit' LOUISE FEIN 'This is a story of bravery and the cost of small acts of defiance . . . simply outstanding!' ANDIE NEWTON 

'An unforgettable page-turner' GILL PAUL 'A book to be savoured and remembered'  GILL THOMPSON 

‘Warm, rich, lyrical writing... historical fiction at its finest’ ANNA STUART

Thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours, the author and the publisher for an advance eARC in return for a review. I hope I've piqued your interest! What are you currently reading? Any recommendations? Do let us know in the comments.

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