About the Book:
In 1942, an impulsive promise to her brother before he goes off to the European front puts Avis Montgomery in the unlikely position of head librarian in small-town Maine. Though she has never been much of a reader, when wartime needs threaten to close the library, she invents a book club to keep its doors open. The women she convinces to attend the first meeting couldn't be more different--a wealthy spinster determined to aid the war effort, an exhausted mother looking for a fresh start, and a determined young war worker.
At first, the struggles of the home front are all the club members have in common, but over time, the books they choose become more than an escape from the hardships of life and the fear of the U-boat battles that rage just past their shores. As the women face personal challenges and band together in the face of danger, they find they have more in common than they think. But when their growing friendships are tested by secrets of the past and present, they must decide whether depending on each other is worth the cost.
Includes a book club discussion guide and The Blackout Book Club book list
This is another good historical novel from Green. The central theme is the importance of books in the community with threads of patriotism, family relationships, secrets, friendship and more woven through.
I realized when reading this book I take my public library for granted. But during WW II, the library available in the small town of Derby, Maine, was one sponsored by an individual. And while the wealthy woman owning it did not value the books very much, the people in the community did. We get a good sense of the importance of reading books for community welfare.
Green has added a great deal of historical information to the plot. The most prominent is the requirement of black out curtains and covers for automobile headlights. We also read about rationing, volunteers looking for German subs off the coast, women working in factories, and more. There is even a bit about the flu of 1918 in a flash back. I like that Green provides additional historical material at her website. There are discussion questions included so this book itself would be a good choice for a book discussion group.
The characters are engaging. The plot is informative and entertaining. Green's writing style is a pleasure to experience. I have read all of her previous novels and found them well written, as is this one.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
About the Author:
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)