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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.5 out of 5
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  • a delightfully funny, heart-warming feel-good stor

    “Like the rest of you, I always thought the library would be here. I never expected it to be under threat. It’s a stark reminder to not take anything in life for granted. You only properly start fighting for something when you realise you’re going to lose it.” The Library is a novel by British author, Bella Osborne. Compton Mallow’s village library is many things to many people: for seventy-two-year-old Maggie, it represents a break from Providence Farm, some social interaction with her book club and a chance to read the papers; for sixteen-year-old Thomas Harris, it’s quiet place to study and revise for his GCSEs, and a source of the romance novels he hopes will teach him how to attract a certain girl. While it’s inevitable that they notice each other, it’s not until Maggie punches Tom on the nose that they get to know one another better. Maggie is quickly impressed with this introverted young man, finding his company refreshing. While she is mostly self-sufficient at the farm, when she asks for help, Tom readily agrees, especially as a roast dinner is on offer. His dad’s cooking could never come close and, while not prepared to openly admit it, Tom is surprised at the rapport he has with this witty old lady. When he encounters that certain girl in the library, he manages to chat about books without being wholly overcome by the embarrassment that usually plagues him. Later, they learn that the library is under threat of closure and, together with Maggie’s book group and other library patrons, they vow to fight the council’s short-sighted plan. Meanwhile, Maggie calls on Tom’s assistance more often, glad that he is both willing and interested in farm work, and she’s happy to have someone else to cook for. They open up more to one another, and Maggie has sound advice about study and further education. On the farm, Tom finds himself involved in tasks he could never have anticipated, and enthralled by newborn animals. When Tom phones Maggie in a panic one night, she does not hesitate to come to his aid, and their relationship enters a new phase. But Maggie has not been entirely honest about her past, a past that Tom’s continued presence has her reaching out for, with unfortunate consequences. What a wonderful cast of characters Osborne gives the reader: appealing for all their very human flaws, growing and changing with the challenges they face. And there are quite a few: alcoholism, loneliness, grief, guilt, social isolation and low self-esteem. It’s lovely to see Tom and Maggie ultimately fighting for the library that brought them together when they most needed to meet. This is a delightfully funny, heart-warming feel-good story with a satisfying happy ending. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Aria & Aries

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    6 person found this review helpful

    6 people found this review helpful

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • An Absolute Delight to Read!

    An absolutely superb read – touching, tender and so very true-to-life! Tom is a bit of a loner; it’s just him and his Dad and they struggle through week to week. The height of his father’s ambitions for his is to secure a job in the dog food factory but Tom has other ideas. Seeking sanctuary in the library after a row over his future, Tom ends up with a bag of romance books which piques the interest of Maggie, there for her weekly book club meeting. Maggie keeps busy and tries not to class herself as lonely. When Tom comes to her rescue, an unlikely friendship begins. This is a truly lovely tale, but there is more than a bit of truth between the pages. Tom’s life is more common than we would like to think and Maggie – like a lot of the elderly – hides her loneliness as she doesn’t want to be seen as a burden. The tentative relationship between these two is a joy to behold; both have something to give in return to what they take from their closeness. It’s not all plain sailing though, and Bella Osborne has wonderful insights into both ends of the age spectrum and everything inbetween. With a hint of social commentary, this is a beautifully written and very enjoyable novel – and one I enjoyed very much. An absolute delight to read and one I’m happy to highly recommend and give all five sparkling stars!

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Fantastic read

    Beautiful and gripping. A definite must read. If I could I would have read it all in one go. Well done Bella and thank you!!!

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Sweet and lovely story

    Four and a half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒ The Library by Bella Osborne is a sweet book about an unlikely pair who meet at the Library and work together to save it. I really enjoyed this book, and loved the characters and were rooting for them, and the Library during the entire book. Tom is the son of an alcoholic father, and whose mother passed away when he was younger. Tom and his father co-exist in a grubby home where they live without any of the luxuries of life. Tom feels invisible to his father and classmates, until he sees Farah, a beautiful classmate who’s way out of his league, and is currently involved with one of his bullying classmates. Tom goes to the local library to find romance novels so he can better understand his crush and find a way to get to know her better. While at the library, he catches the eye of Maggie, a 72-year-old recluse, who only leaves her home once a week to go to the book club at the library. Tom and Maggie form an unlikely friendship and when the library is threatened with closure, they work together to try and save the village library. The characters of Tom and Maggie are very well developed and I found myself rooting for both of them during the entire book. I liked that Maggie knew how to get through to Tom and help him when his father couldn’t. Her farm, on the outskirts of the village is delightful, with sheep, lambs, and an ornery ram. I found I enjoyed this book much more than I expected, and I really liked the way Tom and Maggie’s relationship developed. The author made me care about these characters and the banter between Maggie and Tom was excellent, especially after they grew to care about each other. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story about a lovely relationship. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • I adored this beautiful story!

    This is a fabulous story! I adored it! "A chance encounter at the library had changed so many things." A library is warm, cozy and has a distinct smell that as an adult I still remember from my own childhood. It is wonderful and comforting. This novel brings an unusual friendship between two very different people. One is in her seventies, the other is a teen. Both need a friend and some love. Who knew that books, and an old library would give them something so special with so many new memories and hopes! A heartwarming journey for Tom and Maggie! Well done!

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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