World War II fiction has a special place in my heart and on my shelves! It’s by far my favorite subgenre of historical fiction and my go-to comfort reads. So when I find a new WWII novel that I love I want to tell everyone to read it. And that’s exactly how I feel about The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson. This historical fiction has it all, and I think most histfic readers will love it. Discover why this new novel is now on my list of must-read historical fiction. Thanks to @readforeverpub and @netgalley for the gifted copy of this wonderful new book!
This blog is reader-supported. I earn a small commission from affiliate links in this post when you click on the link (at no cost to you). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, visit my legal page.
Quick & Dirty
-published February 21, 2023
-homefront WWII fiction
-dual POV, single timeline
-found family & themes of belonging
-grief/loss, suicide & physical abuse triggers
London, 1944: Clara Button is no ordinary librarian. While war ravages the city above her, Clara has risked everything she holds dear to turn the Bethnal Green tube station into the country’s only underground library. Down here, a secret community thrives with thousands of bunk beds, a nursery, a café, and a theater—offering shelter, solace, and escape from the bombs that fall upon their city.
Along with her glamorous best friend and assistant Ruby Munroe, Clara ensures the library is the beating heart of life underground. But as the war drags on, the women’s determination to remain strong in the face of adversity is tested to the limits when it may come at the price of keeping those closest to them alive.
Oh my, how I loved The Little Wartime Library, y’all. It’s SO good! If you’re new here then you may not know this: I’m a sucker for a WWII novel. And this one, my friend, has everything I love in a war-time story, and then some! There’s romance. There’s conflict, fear, and danger. And there’s even humor. I didn’t want this to end!
Thompson does an incredible job bringing Clara and Ruby to life and inviting readers into their world beneath the streets. Their fight to save the library and to empower the women in their lives is honorable. And as we learn more about the women in the book, the more I found myself cheering for them all. I was so caught up in the lives of these characters, both the main characters and the motley crew of characters who live and work in the subway shelter. The charm of the East End leaps off the pages, making it easy to become invested in their livelihood.
In addition to the wonderful character development and the dramas unfolding in their lives, there was also a strong historic element to this story. I had no clue that the Bethnal Green Library was lost to the Blitz bombing, or that a makeshift underground library and shelter was made in response. Imagine living in the subway tracks for years, which is exactly what they did! One of my favorite things about historical fiction is that I get to learn about different times in history, and The Little Wartime Library is a terrific example of the type of book that teaches you something about the history of humankind!
Rating for The Little Wartime Library
Get Your Copy
Before You Go
If you enjoyed this post, then be sure to sign up for my email newsletter where I share updates about the latest reading wrap-ups and blog posts, must-see book deals, and my What This Week series! If email isn’t your thing, head to Bookstagram to follow along for all the bookish fun!