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Ratings and Book Reviews (15 126 star ratings
15 reviews
)

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5
126
5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star
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  • 7 person found this review helpful

    7 people found this review helpful

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    Intriguing historical novel

    The Bermondsey Bookshop by Mary Gibson is an intriguing historical novel. I found it to be well-written that moved along at a thoughtful pace and it has a strong female protagonist. Kate Goss had a loving mother until she had an accident coming down the steep garret stairs. Archie Goss, Kate’s father, deposited Kate with his sister, Sylvie and then departed. Sylvie did not like Kate’s Romany mother, Bessie which she takes out on Kate. Her cousins, Janey and Stan are just as mean and spiteful. Kate holds out the hope that her father will return one day and take her away. Kate is a spirited girl who works hard. She makes some unfortunate choices, but Kate also makes some memorable friends. We get to see Kate go from a teenager to an adult. I could feel Kate’s struggles and her sadness. Of course, Kate had some unforgettable moments as well. There were a variety of interesting characters in The Bermondsey Bookshop. There were some kindhearted souls and some truly terrible people. I especially liked the various people that frequented the Bermondsey Bookshop. It was interesting reading about the Bermondsey Bookshop (it was a real place). It was open for hours that suited the working class and offered a variety of classes (reading, elocution, French, drama) as well as lectures. After reading this book, I searched out more information on this unique bookshop. I thought Mary Gibson captured the accents of the people along with their attitudes especially when it came to education and money. Children were not allowed to enjoy their childhood for long. They were expected to go to work and turn over their wages. There is some mild foul language along with violence (parents or relatives hitting children, men beating their wives, men wanting certain “favors”) which was, unfortunately, typical of the time period. The Bermondsey Bookshop is a book that will have you reading long into the night to find out how Kate’s story ends. The Bermondsey Bookshop has a sharp tongued shrew, a conniving cousin, a fetid factory, a vanished father, and one feisty female.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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    Absolutely Wonderful

    "The Bermondsey Bookshop" is a unique Historical Fiction story that takes the reader to the rough and raw streets of Bermondsey during the 1920's. We get a window into the plight of those living there...poor families...impoverished women working in factories, domestic abuse, brutality against women and children...money lenders and scammers...and the hope for better that lives deep inside. Mary Gibson, author of the Factory Girls series, hits it out of the park with this absolutely engaging story. Based around the true story of The Bermondsey Bookshop, founded by Mrs. Ethel Gutman. Wanting "to bring books and the love of books into Bermondsey", Mrs. Gutman modeled the bookshop around the working men and women; the shop was open in the evening, free lectures by authors and scholars, and an installment plan to be able to own books...or "a" book. Our story revolves around "Kate Goss", a young girl left by her father to be cared for by her aunt after the sudden death of her mother. But life isn't easy, in fact it's dark, hateful and abusive. Young Kate spends her nights dreaming about the return of her dad and how he will save her from the violent drudgery of her days. Filled with longing for a better life, a will to survive and love that comes silently wearing many faces, this is a book that should not be missed. 4⭐ Thank you to NetGalley, Aria-Head of Zeus, and the author Ms. Mary Gibson for the opportunity to read this Advanced Readers Copy of "The Bermondsey Bookshop" The opinions expressed in this review are mine alone.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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    A Very Engaging Read!

    This is a totally enjoyable novel; it's been well planned and is just that bit different to others of the genre. Kate is an 'almost orphan'; after her mother's tragic death her father leaves her with his sister, Sylvie, and Kate's life takes a turn for the worse. Treated no better than a slave, she endures a miserable childhood and once her aunt sends her out to work as soon as she has turned fourteen, things barely improve. But Kate never gives up hope that, one day, her father will return for her . . . This is a very engaging tale, depicting the hardship and deprivations of the working classes during the period in which the book is set. Whilst most of the 'educated' folk looked down upon the poor it's excellent to come across some who gave them every opportunity to rise out of poverty. This is heartwarming, exciting and heartbreaking, all at the same time! A beautifully written story and one which I flew through, absolutely desperate to find out what happened next! I've read several of Mary Gibson's novels previously, and she consistently publishes work of a very high standard. Completely enjoyable, and a book I'm delighted to recommend. 4.5* and well worth them all!
  • 1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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    Highly recommend it

    This book is set in the early 1920's. London.....Bermondsey to be exact. It is based on the true story of the Bermondsey Bookshop... a place where where anyone from dock workers to factory workers on up can come learn to read, buy books, listen to lectures, and learn all sorts of things. It is here that young Kate Goss gets her start in life. Kate's mother died when she was a young child and then her father abandoned her. She spent her life living with an aunt and family who despised her and treated her cruelly. She had to quit school to go work at the tin factory and then after a particularly bad argument she was forced to leave her aunt's house and find a new place to live. In order to survive she had to work multiple jobs, and one of those was cleaning the Bermondsey Bookshop. It is there that Kate's story truly begins. I loved this book. The author did such a good job with the descriptions that I felt as if I was actually there watching it all unfold. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves historical fiction, or even just loves books about bookshops and books.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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    Interesting time

    This was my first book by this author, so I had no idea what to expect. I love Kate of a character. She didn’t let anything or anyone crush her spirit and she did what she needed to survive. Even if that meant working himself to the bone. Her pleasures are simple. The story paint a grim tale of the London East End in the twenties. No roaring twenties in that neighbourhood, but there is a big difference in class. Kate her curiosity made me laugh. I loved the Bookshop and how it changed Kate’s life, but I would have like more scene or focus of the story on the Bookshop. For me there was to much else going on which made the story drag at places.
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