Friday, May 27, 2022

Book Review - Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

My Review

Bloomsbury Girls is a historical novel set in post-war London. Bloomsbury Books is a wonderful, old fashioned bookstore that needs just a bit of change. That change may come in the form of three female employees: Vivien Lowry, an ambitious and forward thinking young woman whose fiance was killed in World War II;  Grace Perkins, a young mother who is working to support her family; and Evie Stone, a bright, very young woman who didn't find her place in academia. 

I wanted to read this book because I love historical fiction, especially books centering on this time period. I worked in bookstores for years, sell vintage books, and found the bookstore setting immensely appealing.

This is such a lovely, engrossing book!  I can't believe I haven't read The Jane Austen Society, which evidently is linked to this story, but now I clearly have to. 

The author does a wonderful job at setting the time and place. She has three distinctly different protagonists, but they are all fully realized characters, appealing and interesting in their own way. I found Vivien's story particularly compelling and especially enjoyed her storyline - which included meeting literary figures like Daphne Du Maurier.

I like the framework of the novel, with chapters that begin with a rule from the bookstore, i.e. "Rule No. 27  Fraternizing with customers outside the shop is strictly prohibited" (eBook location 1311). Of course, the following chapter relates to each rule.

I have already started telling friends about Bloomsbury Girls, which I enthusiastically recommend for fans of historical fiction, especially for anyone who loves bookstores and a bookish setting.

Book Synopsis

Natalie Jenner, the internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society, returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way in a fast-changing world in Bloomsbury Girls.

Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare book store that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager's unbreakable fifty-one rules. But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans:

Vivien Lowry: Single since her aristocratic fiance was killed in action during World War II, the brilliant and stylish Vivien has a long list of grievances--most of them well justified and the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the Head of Fiction.

Grace Perkins: Married with two sons, she's been working to support the family following her husband's breakdown in the aftermath of the war. Torn between duty to her family and dreams of her own.

Evie Stone: In the first class of female students from Cambridge permitted to earn a degree, Evie was denied an academic position in favor of her less accomplished male rival. Now she's working at Bloomsbury Books while she plans to remake her own future.

As they interact with various literary figures of the time--Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others--these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow.

Author Bio

Natalie Jenner is the author of two books, the instant international bestseller THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY (2020) and the forthcoming BLOOMSBURY GIRLS (2022). A Goodreads Choice Award runner-up for best historical fiction and finalist for best debut novel, THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY was a USA Today and #1 national bestseller, and has been sold for translation in twenty-one countries. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie has been a corporate lawyer, career coach and, most recently, an independent bookstore owner in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.

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Book Review - 100 Days of Adventure: Nature Activities, Creative Projects, and Field Trips for Every Season by Greta Eskridge

My Review

100 Days of Adventure is a big, colorful book for children, parents, and teachers.  It has experiments, crafts, and recipes that are fun and accessible to do at home, when traveling, or in the backyard.  Many of the activities are free or low cost. The book is geared toward children ages 6 to 10.

I wanted to read this book because I enjoyed working for years in preschool, afterschool, and summer camp settings. I often review books for children here.

First: this is a great looking book! It is illustrated by Emily Paik. The cover is bright and appealing, and similar artwork appears throughout the book. 

This is a unique book. It could be read as a family or by children who have an adventurous spirit and good reading skills.  The book is divided by seasons with fun activities for every time of year.  A few of the appealing activities include:  

Make a Summer Nature Collection

Meteor Slumber Party

Chalk Art Masterpiece

Poet Practice: Fall

Rainy-Day Ramble

Snow Castle

Feed the Birds

Take a Night Hike

Backyard Pumpkin Patch

The activities include descriptions, tips, and specific information to make the activity work smoothly - and fun!

I would recommend this book for homeschooling families, for children who love crafts and backyard activities, for teachers, Scout leaders, and anyone who works with kids.  It is a great resource presented in a lively and appealing manner.

Book Synopsis

Second-generation homeschooling mom Greta Eskridge shares 100 hands-on, learning activities for kids that will connect and enrich your family through adventures, small and big. Turn off the screen and turn on the creativity, curiosity, and love of nature as you have a meteor slumber party, attend a symphony concert, take a hike in the rain, preserve colorful fall leaves, make nettle pesto, and venture into the great, wide, real world.

In 100 Days of Adventure, children ages 6 to 10 will

  • unplug from electronics and explore the world, from backyard bugs to farmer’s market veggies and plants along the trail
  • learn about nature, art, music, and themselves through STEAM projects and new experiences
  • bond with parents and siblings, learn new skills with individual investigations, or explore with friends in an educational or homeschool group

This full-color activity book for kids includes

  • 100 indoor and outdoor activities, projects, experiments, crafts, recipes, and field trips, divided by season
  • many activities that are free or low cost, with options for different kinds of families and locations
  • step-by-step directions, nature journal prompts, tips, and checklists
  • beautiful photos and helpful illustrations
  • a note to parents with encouraging start-here guidance on growing a family culture of curiosity and adventure

Whether your family is looking for fun activities for school breaks at home, road trip vacations, or everyday ways to learn together, this collection of interactive educational activities will help your kids get creative, get into nature, and get closer to each other.

Don’t miss Greta’s essential guide for parents on building a connected and loving family through exploration, Adventuring Together: How to Create Connections and Make Lasting Memories with Your Kids.

Author Bio

Greta Eskridge is a home schooling mom of 4. She loves to fill her family’s days with reading, making art, and being outside as much as possible. Her favorite places to be are on a hiking trail or at the tide pools–preferably with an iced coffee in hand. Greta loves laughing, having adventures and taking cat naps in the afternoon. She and her artist husband, Aaron, make their home in sunny southern California.

Greta is also an author and speaker. She travels the country speaking and sharing her message of joyful, connected parenting.

Greta would love to connect with you. You can hang out with her on her Instagram feed. You’ll find her @maandpamodern. You can also find her on her blog at