A one-hundred-year old bookstore.
Post WWII era.
Three very different women with something in common.
One a wife and mother, one a career girl and one a recent graduate of Cambridge University. They all work at the bookstore and share common issues even though that’s not readily apparent at the beginning of the story.
The author takes us on three distinct yet interwoven journeys with these women. Real literary figures appear in the tale and interact with the fictional characters which gives the setting, as well as the prose, a realism that was well done.
The social issues at play here are the end of WWII return of the men from fighting and how that affected the workforce that had been relying on women while the men were gone, the societal expectations of wives and mothers, privilege in society and how that affects behavior, and racism. The author gave us a compelling story for each of the women while weaving in these issues in a finely crafted way.
The path each of the three protagonists took and where they ended up was obvious pretty early on to this reader, but the journey of each was fulfilling and interesting.
Overall, I liked the story and the way the author interwove the various narratives. The setting was perfect as it moved the plot along at a nice pace and contributed to the issues facing the main characters. The bookstore was a little microcosm of society contained in four walls. The time period chosen for the story emphasized the issues as well. Sadly, some of the themes covered in the book are still problematic to this day. Some things seem slow to change in society and this book shows that in many ways.
An enjoyable, thought provoking read that was entertaining as well. Not at all preachy, but the author has a lot to say.