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The Little Wartime Library (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


This is a perfect novel for people who love books and appreciate the importance of libraries to the community. Not just another World War II historical fiction, it highlights the resilience of the British people during the Blitz and how reading helped many to temporarily escape some of the worst losses imaginable. As always, I researched the events in this book and was again both heartbroken and amazed by the strength it took to survive this awful time in history.

— Laura B


An uplifting and inspiring novel based on the true story of a librarian who created an underground shelter during World War II, perfect for readers of The Paris Library or The Last Bookshop in London. 

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.

About the Author

Kate Thompson was born in London and worked as a journalist for women's magazines and national newspapers before becoming a novelist. Over the past ten years, Kate has written twelve fiction and nonfiction titles, three of which have made the Sunday Times top ten bestseller list. She now lives in Sunbury with her husband, two sons, and two rescued Lurcher dogs, Ted and Saphhie. 

Praise For…

"A heartwarming story of how friendship and the written word sustain us in the toughest times."—Janet Skeslien Charles, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Library

“This is just the story we need right now – a tale of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to keep hope alive, and to give a community adrift in wartime a sense of home. The Bethnal Green underground library might be the beating heart of the book’s subterranean village, but Clara is the soul of this novel. She’s the kind of character you cheer for, cry for, and dream for. Kate Thompson’s passion, meticulous research and brilliant storytelling make The Little Wartime Library an utter delight to read.” —Natasha Lester, New York Times bestselling author

"This is a delightful story of community in wartime, love and loss, and resilience. Based on a true story,
this uplifting tale is sure to satisfy."—Booklist

"Gripping, emotional and uplifting."—Gill Paul, USA Today bestselling author of The Secret Wife

"A captivating tale about the power of libraries and how they connect us . . . [a] fascinating slice of history."—Andie Newton, author of The Girls from the Beach

"Kate has such a talent for bringing history to vivid life. Utterly transporting, vivid and fresh."—Iona Grey, bestselling author of Letters to the Lost

"[A] splendid warm-hearted novel of wartime resilience and romance."—Rachel Hore, bestselling author of A Beautiful Spy

Product Details
ISBN: 9781538724217
ISBN-10: 1538724219
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: February 21st, 2023
Pages: 480
Language: English