Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

1950’s, novelists and women wanting change

Set in a London bookshop in the 1950’s this is wonderful historical fiction about the employees of Bloomsbury Books, and their aspirations and the social changes taking place.   Many real life authors of that time are woven into the story, adding to the enjoyment.     

US Cover
UK Cover

Evie, Grace and Vivien all work at Bloomsbury Books, a bookshop based on old fashioned values and  run by men.  The manager has 51 rules by which all his staff must abide, and each chapter is prefaced with one of these rules – a great way to introduce the theme of that chapter and also describe  attitudes of that time.  The women balk at their perceived roles in the bookshop (and society), but can they actually change anything? 

Amidst the pages the reader meets famous writers of that time including Samuel Beckett and Daphne du Maurier. 

Bloomsbury Girls revolves around the three strong minded women in the shop, and reflects the social norms of the time, as well as the working and personal  lives of its employees, the prejudices of the 1950’s and the desire for change, and resistance by many to it.   I found the writing a little slow burn for my taste, but having finished it a few days ago, I now look back at the wonderfully drawn story of life for women in a man’s world. 

Set in:  London

Published by:  St Martin’s Press

Publication :  May 2022

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