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April 5, 2024

The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

From enchanting cliff tops and white sandy bays to the pretty cobbled streets of St Helier, Jersey is known as the land of milk and honey. But for best friends Bea Rose, the local postwoman, and Grace Le Motte, who works in the island's only library, it becomes the frontline to everyday resistance when their beloved island is occupied by German forces in 1940.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

audiobook cover of historical fiction novel The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson
April 2024; Hachette Audio/Forever; 9781668637319
audio (16h 31m), ebook, print; historical fiction

I love finding unique WWII stories, which is admittedly hard to do when you read as much WWII fiction as I do. Libraries, librarians, bookstores, and book clubs during WWII have become a popular topic in the past few years. I've read a couple set in Europe, but recently they have given me a glimpse at the homefront.

I was looking at my digital library for different library-themed WWII novel when I saw The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson. I was momentarily confused as I knew that I had The Wartime Book Club on my review list but then I realized that was last year's book. I did listen to it but you don't need to have read it to enjoy this book. They are totally stand-alone novels.

The Channel Islands were mentioned at the end of The Little Wartime Library but before that I don't think I've ever heard them mentioned in regards to the war. So I was interested to learn about the German occupation of this British island.

The story is told from the point-of-view of two best friends - Grace, the librarian, and Bea, a postwoman. The chapters alternate between the two and we get to see a lot of island life between them. I really liked the characters - not just these two main characters but the secondary characters as well.

If you read The Little Wartime Library you know how the chapters started off with a snippet from a librarian. In The Wartime Book Club each chapter starts with a book banned by the Third Reich. We get a little information about the book and/or author and why it was banned. I found these snippets as interesting as the story. I do wish though that the date stamp for the chapter was told after the book snippet because I often lost track of the story's timeline.

The audiobook of The Wartime Book Club is narrated by Imogen Church. There were times when I thought the voices for the characters were wrong, particularly for Bea. She seemed to only have one volume even when the text indicated that she was getting louder or should have been whispering. Otherwise, the story was easy to listen to. 

There is nearly 1.5 hours at the end of the book that includes a book club reading guide and information about the author's research, which was quite extensive. 

If you like books about books or like me looking for something new in WWII fiction, you should pick up this book.

Buy The Wartime Book Club at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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  1. Good review, and you sold me. I just preordered the Kindle version that will be in my Kindle on April 9. Looking forward to it. Thanks for the suggestion.