In 1942, London, Nancy Mitford is worried about more than air raids and German spies. Still recovering from a devastating loss, the once sparkling Bright Young Thing is estranged from her husband, her allowance has been cut, and she’s given up her writing career. On top of this, her five beautiful but infamous sisters continue making headlines with their controversial politics.
Eager for distraction and desperate for income, Nancy jumps at the chance to manage the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is away at war. Between the shop’s brisk business and the literary salons she hosts for her eccentric friends, Nancy’s life seems on the upswing. But when a mysterious French officer insists that she has a story to tell, Nancy must decide if picking up the pen again and revealing all is worth the price she might be forced to pay.
Eighty years later, Heywood Hill is abuzz with the hunt for a lost wartime manuscript written by Nancy Mitford. For one woman desperately in need of a change, the search will reveal not only a new side to Nancy, but an even more surprising link between the past and present…
Source: NetGalley and Graydon House Rating: 3/5 stars
The Bottom Line: I tend to pile up my book reviews and sit down for marathon writing sessions. 95% of the time, I have no difficulty recalling a story, its plot, and characters even with distance between finishing the book and writing the review. That other 5% are the books I must really think about, re-read the synopsis, and think back to the actual reading of the book. It is times like this when I know the star rating is going to be a bit lower because the book has clearly not stuck with me as the really good books tend to. The Bookseller’s Secret is among the 5% and as I think back on the reading of this book, I distinctly remember struggling to get through it.
I generally enjoy a past meets present book, but this one is quite lacking. In the present, a struggling author and inquisitive young man are on the hunt for a missing manuscript from renowned author Nancy Mitford. In the past, Nancy is not only working through her own author-ly struggles, but personal and financial struggles as well. The lost manuscript is in fact written by Nancy, but it never sees the light of day. My struggle with this book is how dull the past portion of this book really is. While Nancy Mitford may have been a wonderfully interesting figure that excitement and interest is dulled completely in this book. In truth, I wanted to like this book far more than I did and find I have a hard time recommending this read to others.