Review By Veronica

The Little Wartime Library is a fascinating and emotional book that shows readers the importance of libraries in our communities.

Favourite Quote:

“Who are we to say what people ought or ought not to read?” she persisted.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

London, 1944. Clara Button is no ordinary librarian. While the world remains at war, in East London, Clara has created the country’s only underground library, built over the tracks in the unused Bethnal Green tube station. Down here, a whole community thrives with thousands of bunk beds, a nursery, a café, and a theatre offering shelter, solace, and protection from the bombs that fall above.

Along with her glamorous best friend and library assistant Ruby Munroe, Clara ensures the library is the beating heart of life underground. But as the war rages on, the women’s determination to remain strong in the face of adversity is tested to the limits when it seems it may come at the price of keeping those closest to them alive.

The Little Wartime Library is absolutely stunning and so beautifully written. I became so absorbed in the story that I was halfway through the book before I knew it. Kate takes her readers on such an emotional roller coaster ride. Y’all know how much I love a historical fiction that brings out those big emotions in me, and this book does that. There are themes of loss, destruction, hope, friendship, and resilience. They are masterfully woven into this story about two friends, Clara and Ruby, who run this underground library during World War II. I was so fascinated by this whole underground world in London during WWII. Kate includes many historical details and touches upon these larger events in London, such as the Bethnal Green Tube and Hughes Mansions Tragedy. If you are a library fan, then you will love this story. There is this constant message of the importance of libraries and books in communities. It’s also incredibly fascinating exploring this underground library and seeing how it functions and meets the ever-changing community needs during the Blitz. 

 The Little Wartime Library is told from Clara and Ruby’s POV. Both of these women suffered great losses because of the war. Clara is the librarian of this underground library, and Ruby is her assistant. I adored the friendship that existed between these two remarkable women. The support they gave each other was truly heartwarming. I was utterly amazed at the lengths Clara and Ruby went to get books into the hands of everyday people. It was easy to connect with Clara and Ruby. I cried with them, laughed with them, and cheered them on. 

The Little Wartime Library is a wonderful historical fiction that shows its readers the power libraries have in their communities. 

Thank you, Forever, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.