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.
This is such a beautiful story because it steps outside the lines of the “norm” in Christian fiction. The members of the blackout book club compose of both male and female, young and old and in-between, married and single, and so many other beautiful differences. Each character is unique and distinct, with their own fears and quirks and motives. Everyone can find themselves in this story.
I loved that Avis and Louise had to choose between two good things—turning the library into a daycare or keeping it as it is. More often than not, the choices in life are not between good and bad, but between good and good. A library I know has gone through a similar circumstance and held on, so it really resonated with me. It also made the plot all the more intriguing as they had to choose between two perfectly valid options.
Freddy Keats is hands-down my favorite. I’ve just got to say.
One of the best things about this story, however, is the portrayal of abuse through Martina’s story. The depictions are spot-on. It truly steps into the shoes of someone who has suffered or is suffering these things. Amy Lynn Green has depicted exactly what it feels like to be in that situation and brought light into the dark, while not avoiding the hard.
The notes from the book club gave a little nod towards the style of her debut epistolary novel Things We Didn’t Say and I loved it. I also love that the novel comes with the list of books the book club read. It was so fun seeing each characters’ reaction to the different classics they read.
This story is a tribute to readers past, present, and future, who have found the indescribable value of reading and sharing what you’ve read.
This book is the perfect read for a book club, blackout or otherwise. Not just book clubs, though—libraries and readers and anyone, really. Because anyone belongs in this book club.
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Hi there! Rachel again. Check out this section for book reviews and cover reveals of some of my favorites!