Thursday, June 23, 2022

Book Review: The Littlest Library

A little red telephone box full of stories, a chance to change her life...

Jess Metcalf is perfectly content with her quiet, predictable life. But when her beloved grandmother passes away and she loses her job at the local library, Jess’ life is turned upside down. Determined to pick up the pieces, Jess decides it’s time for a new beginning. Unable to part with her grandmother’s cherished books, she packs them all up and moves to a tiny cottage in the English countryside. To her surprise, Jess discovers that she’s now the owner of an old red phone box that was left on the property. Missing her job at the local library, Jess decides to give back to her new community—using her grandmother’s collection to turn the ordinary phone box into the littlest library in England.

It’s not long before the books are borrowed and begin to work their literary magic—bringing the villagers together... and managing to draw Jess’ grumpy but handsome neighbor out of his shell. Maybe it’s finally time for Jess to follow her heart, let go of her old life, and make the village her home? But will she be able to take the leap?

The Littlest Library is the latest from UK author Poppy Alexander. Before its July 19 release, Avon and Harper Voyager provided me an early galley to review.

The title and the cover instantly jumped out to me. Little libraries that spring up in neighborhoods are great ways for communities to share their books, especially when a larger library branch is not convenient to get to. As a librarian, I could relate totally to Jess and her career challenges.

This is a charming tale written in a comfy, down-home style. Alexander gives great detail when describing rooms and layouts of the smalltown settings; it is very easy to picture exactly what the author has visualized in her own mind. I know some readers do not enjoy that indepth of descriptions, so it might not suit everyone's tastes. As for the characters, they are quirky and entertaining, just as you would expect in a small out-of-the-way village. And, of course, being a small village, everyone is into everyone's business which is very true to life but also can lead to a lot of repetitive conversations between characters or thoughts from the narrator.

Overall, the entire plot and the romance aspect of the tale reminded me of something one would see in a Hallmark movie. Again, not a bad thing and certainly something that will allow the story to find a receptive target audience.

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