Cover Image: The Littlest Library

The Littlest Library

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Member Reviews

This is a heart-warming story about community and taking chances. The Littlest Library is a wonderful book to pickup if you're in need of a warm drink and a hug.

Jess loses her grandmother and then her job as a librarian and she's simply lost. Then she takes a chance on a charming cottage in a sleepy village and her journey begins. At the center of it all is her love for books and, like many books about books, The Littlest Library highlights what a wonderful impact books can have on a community. And also what an impact a sense of community can have on an individual.

This was a charming read with the tiniest hint of romance and it's left me dreaming of a stay in the countryside!
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The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander had me sold the minute I saw the cover and title! I have always loved the pictures I see over social media up and down the country with little community book swap points in little bird boxes and post boxes and it is something I would love to do if I had a front garden! Having a book which storyline looked to centre around this topic was a first for me so I was looking forward to a fresh new and exciting storyline.
After the death of her dear Grandmother and the loss of her job as a librarian, Jess Metcalf has to make some drastic changes in her life. Needing to sell their home and find a new job it is by chance on a casual drive out she stumbles on a quaint little village and her new life soon begins on a new path but little did she know that with her new home comes the responsibility of an old phone box which could provide her with an opportunity to still share her love of books with the community.
Quite simply this was such a sweet, light hearted and uplifting read that is full of community spirit and new beginnings. Jess has lived her life so close to her Grandmother that she has not quite found her true self so to move to a new home and start a new life with no one around her is a daunting task but she has such a warming nature and of course a love of reading which gives her the tools to interact and make new friends,
There is a love interest weaved in around the storyline that although was predictable it wasn’t without its bumps along the way which kept the excitement flowing. The comings and goings of the local community as they borrowed their books was wonderful to see and insightful to see what went into the running of the little library too. 
My only little niggle was that I felt like the ending was a little rushed and ended abruptly but this could be because I was so invested in the storyline and characters, I just wasn’t ready to let them go. 
This was a delightful fast paced book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Perfect novel for book lovers who are looking for something light heart and heart warming that is not to challenging and easy to pick up and put down, perfect for this years staycation!
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After the demise of her beloved grandmother, life gets difficult for Jess Matcalf. Having been raised by her grandmother since a young age, she had cocooned herself in her grandmother's affection and their shared love of books. Now alone with grief, without a job, Jess moves out of her grandmother's house and lands herself a property on a scenic village by chance. The village once tightly knit, was starting to show loose threads. At first she is awestruck by the beauty and peace of the beautiful village but that wasn't all. Soon she is worried and doubtful, thinking if she will ever be able to make friends and add something to the village.

This book was a joyful read for me. The best thing about this book was how books had a direct impact on the lives of the village people. It healed woes covered under layers of time, it made them hopeful, it gave them voice and made friendships successful. Above all it connected them all. I loved the concept of The Littlest Library. The love between Jess and her grandmother, Mimi, was so touching and genuine. I loved how Mimi left little messages and notes in books and how they proved beneficial to Jess. Though it was little, the library opened up a multitude of possibilities for both Jess and the villagers. But I felt Jess and Aidan getting along was too sudden whereas I loved how Jess took her time to open up and make friends in the village.

Overall, this book is a refreshing and heartwarming story about books, life and family. I would definitely recommend this book.
Thank you Netgalley and Orion Publishing for this E-ARC.
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I’ve waited patiently for a new book from Poppy Alexander having adored her debut 25 Days in December back in 2018 and finally a new story has arrived. The Littlest Library didn’t disappoint in the slightest and it was just the most gorgeous read from start to finish. Yes, the premise for the book may have been familiar and I had read a book with similar themes last year but that didn’t matter at all as I soaked up every minute of this wonderful read and was gutted when I reached the end. 

Poppy Alexander has a lovely, relaxed writing style that draws you in from page one. You feel straight at ease and I could picture the little village of Middlesmass and its diverse cast of characters so clearly in my head. So much so that I wish it was real so I could move there to get away from everything and of course to utilise the little red telephone box that plays such a pivotal part in turning around the life of our main character Jess and the residents. That’s thanks to her kindness, caring and her willingness to bring about change and really that was all down to her grandmother Mimi. Although it doesn’t always come easily to Jess.

When we first meet Jess she has just been let go from her job as a librarian. It’s the only job that she has ever known and she questions why she wasn’t a bit more brave in her role and aimed a little higher for promotion and self development within it. But she has to push that aside as changes are afoot in her life. Her beloved grandmother, Mimi, has passed away. She has raised her ever since her parents were killed in a car crash when she was very young. 

Mimi was everything to Jess and now she feels alone and adrift. It has been a year of crushing losses but pastures new beckon whether she wishes them to or not. Her life so far has been boring, safe and predictable. She knows she needs to change things up a bit. Deep within her, she has she the drive and will power to make this happen especially as until now Mimi has always been by her side. But she is not at her best and she questions her ability to bring about these much needed changes.

A stark terror engulfs her as she has the deepest of fears when it comes to change and who could blame her given her devastating loss when she was so young. She feels that impending disaster always waits her around every corner so when she goes for a drive when viewings are occurring at Mimi’s house and stumbles across the village of Middlemass, and more so the neglected Ivy Cottage, little does she realise her life is about to alter. Will the addition of several boxes of books packed up by Mimi, which Jess read throughout her childhood and which meant so much to her, prove the catalyst for change or will she continue to run and evade happiness?

Middlemass as a setting was just picture postcard perfect. The most beautiful little village deep in the English countryside that you would see in a drama series and it’s one where everyone knows everyone’s business. But Middlemass similar to Jess is struggling too. The community spirit is not as evident as it once was and there has been many businesses that have closed down including the local post office. Something about the village and Ivy Cottage is calling Jess and before she knows it she has bought the cottage and sets about renovating it. An unfortunate incident where her car breaks down at a crossroads leads to her meeting enigmatic Aidan, whose grandfather once owned the cottage. 

Aidan and Jess from the first encounter really rub each other up the wrong way. Sparks fly between them and not initially in the romantic sense. He seems brusque and aloof as if he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Conversations between the pair are minimal and when Jess needs help with unwanted visitors in the cottage it’s like he is doing her a favour only because he was asked not because he wanted to. I thought deep down there had to have been something more going on with Aidan and we never really got deep within his heart and mind until much later in the book. As Jess forms a friendship with his daughter Maisie, it’s clear she wants to scratch beneath the surface and help Aidan but does he want help from a newcomer to the village and what actually can Jess do to help a situation that can be quite common amongst families today?

That’s Jess all round when she arrives in Middlemass. In the beginning, she doesn’t comprehend that perhaps something drew her to the village. That she is there for a reason and through helping others and reigniting that community spirit and sense of working together with one common purpose in mind that really in turn she was healing herself. She had an awful lot to come to terms with. She needed to reconcile with her past in order to enjoy and embrace what life was offering her in the present but was she ready to do that? Can Middlemass work its magic on her and can she do the same for the village? She never fully feels at ease within the village and it’s not because she wasn’t welcomed. Meeting Becky, a harassed mother of three, a friendship is struck up. I loved the way Becky’s story was explored and I’m sure many people will identify with it. The members of the parish council were a great bunch and Diana became almost like a confidant of Jess’ as they share many gins and try to put the world to rights.

But what of the library of the title? An old red telephone box just outside Ivy Cottage that has been used for less than welcome things recently divides the village on its future use. But Jess’ inspired by the collection of books boxed up by Mimi transforms and updates it and the littlest library is formed. I love love when books are featured within a book and all the titles mentioned that people start to borrow and which meant something to Jess start to work their magic. It becomes a focus for Jess, one that she didn’t realise she needed, and it helps her through her mourning of Mimi as important words are found written by her within the covers of the books. Through sharing her books and her life memories with the community this becomes Jess’ gift to them. It’s like a thank you for Middlemass taking her to their heart. Though renovating the cottage and running the library, is Jess daring to seek the happiness that she has feared to let in for so long believing disaster will only strike? If this is successful will she be willing to let in some love and romance too or is that just too far beyond the realms of possibility?

Alongside the main story of Jess, there were lots of little subplots involving the various residents of the village. I thought they all moulded in perfectly with the overall plot and never detracted from Jess and her worries but also the increasing ambition and confidence she was starting to feel with the success of the library. The others strands of the story were funny and heart warming and seeing Jess become more involved and herself not understanding just how much good she was doing. Well, I wanted to shake those doubts out of her. A lot of the time she was contemplating leaving the village especially if she couldn’t get work as her funds had almost run out. But she had done so much good for the village through little inspiring ways and of course the biggest of all the library, that to lose her would be detrimental to the village. I wanted her to lose those niggling feelings and come to comprehend that she had true worth and value. That she was an incredible asset to the village and one person in the village could see this. Don’t let her brilliant work become undone because she wasn’t willing to always take the risks needed. She could when she wanted to and she just needed to go with that feeling when it arose. As I was reading, I was fervently hoping that this would all change for her. 

The library intervenes in people’s lives in the most unexpected and positive ways and it becomes a catalyst for healing and reviving the community and tugs at Jess’ heartstrings. Jess finds new friends that bring comfort and cohesion and ones you could rely on in times of need. I really hoped that things would turn out ok for Jess but there was a few rocky patches to get through first.

The Littlest Library is a gem of a read and a book that reminded me just how much I love reading. With such a picturesque location, it’s a captivating read and has such dynamic brilliant characters. You’ll be rooting for a positive outcome for all involved. The books mentioned within that are borrowed from the library will also have you making a little list of books to read in the future. My only problem is now that I will have to wait again for a new book from Poppy Alexander and I hope the this will arrive be sooner rather than later.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I loved the setting and the characters were good value too. 
I enjoyed reading about Poppy's librarian experience and the author's views regarding children's reading was great to read. I found myself smiling many times when reading. 
What a lovely village Middlemass sounds, one I would love to live in, probably why I enjoyed this book so much.
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What a fabulous book by Poppy Alexander. Set in Devon in the pretty village of Middlemass where Jess buys Ivy Cottage following her grandmothers death. On buying the cottage, she finds out that she is responsible for the red telephone box at the front of the property and turns in into a library for the use of the villagers. We meet some lovely characters who also live in the village and whose lives are woven into this warm and enchanting story.
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Poppy Alexander writes with such warmth, empathy and gentle humour that I just loved everything about this book. There are poignant moments but nothing that overwhelms the complete joy of this story. I felt a connection to Jess immediately and was drawn into her world and the village of Middlemass - it made me want to move there! Very much recommended.
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I know Im late with this so will review straight onto Amazon etc and, maybe for my newspaper column. J'OB
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Great escapist fiction. Jess looks for a new beginning. Her new home comes with a telephone box. Jess decides to use it to start a small library, however this is not welcomed by everyone in the village...
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A lovely read about love, family and books. I loved the relationship between Jess and her grandmother, Mimi. To have shared so much through books - it seemed very fitting for Jess to continue with this theme. The new friendships Jess makes in her new home with Diana and Becky were wonderful, and the littlest library was a brilliant magnet for drawing people together in the Village.
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I enjoyed this book, but it didn't have me overly gripped. It was a real feel good book though and the characters were so cute and funny. I love telephone box library's as well, it's such a good community. Middlemas seemed they needed this to bring the community together and Jess' new cottage sounds absolutely amazing, despite the bats. Though after a couple of chapters about the bats, they weren't mentioned much again so I thought this part was a bit un needed.
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Who can resist a library and especially one in a telephone box and so who could resist a whole book about one.

Jess is content with her life, she dare not hope for anything else because if she does it will be taken away from her. Having lost her parents at an early age, she grew up with Mimi her wonderful grandmother, but now Mimi has gone and Jess has lost her job in the local library she is all alone in the world.

Jess decides to up sticks and move to a ramshackle cottage in a country village, bringing all the important things with her from the past, including boxes of her Grandmother’s books.

What she doesn’t realise that along with the cottage comes a little red telephone box and Jess decides that it would make a lovely little library and give a place for her grandmothers books and share the joy of reading.

As the library opens, everyone local from the village comes to sue, borrowing books they once loved, once shared with a loved one and ones that are new to them. Each borrower becomes drawn back to the library and Jess starts to make friends with some of the eccentric locals. Everyone likes Jess to their heart, but for Aidan she is somewhat of a nuisance, from the very first point she met him. What is worse, is they are now neighbours? Not a good start to Jess’s new life in the country.

With Jess looking to the future after some rather false starts in life, she thinks that this village might be the place to put down roots, but when the library might have to close and her job prospects don’t look good, let alone her love life. It seems that Jess was only passing through his village?

This is my first Poppy Alexander novel, but won’t be my last. A very gentle quiet tale about people finding their true selves, whether that be Jess or many of the other characters within the novel. It has a great sense of place and a community feel and just the sort of book you need to give you that lovely warm feeling!
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Wow!!! I loved this book. It’s nearly my dream come true. Although parts are sad, I loved the fact that books are the main focus in this book. This book just holds you and catapults you to a perfect place. Definitely one to read.
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The Littlest Library follows Jess Metcalfe. When she loses her grandma and librarian job within months of each other, she spontaneously decides to buy a cottage and move to a different village. Outside the cottage just so happens to be a red telephone box, which she turns into the littlest library. The book follows Jess and she settles in to the community and finds a new home. 

While I liked the setting and community aspect of this novel, I found Jess to be a bit of a one-dimensional character (the kind you want to shake to tell them to get their act together). I also thought that the romance felt staged - like of course she would fall for the single dad across the road. It definitely needed more development and chemistry. Overall, if you're a fan of community-focused books set in the English countryside, you will probably enjoy The Littlest Library.

Thank you to NetGalley and Orion Publishing Group for the ARC - all opinions are my own.
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A lovely, feel good book that had me hooked. 

Jess loses her beloved Gran Mimi and her job and is unsure where life is leading. She arrives in a village and before she knows it, she's bought a property complete with an old phone box. Being a librarian previously, she decides to put her books in the phone box, after some basic renovations from helpful handyman neighbour Aidan. The Littlest Library becomes a hit with the local community. 

I really enjoyed Jess's story and loved the community spirit of the villagers. There was even a bit of romance thrown in too. Overall, a great read. 

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read, in exchange for an honest review.
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What a wonderful book this turned out to be. The characters became people I knew, the setting was as familiar as my village. When an author can do this and really draw you in the book becomes so special. There is nothing not to love about this book.
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This is a lovely book, quintessentially British, and perfect for lazy Sunday afternoons or holidays in a cozy cottage or by the pool. Beautifully written and especially suitable for librarians who will enjoy the many references with regards to the industry (I found them somewhat repetitive as a non-librarian though). The reason why I didn't enjoy the book more was that I didn't think the love interest was particularly desirable apart from his looks and some of his behaviour and background raised a few red flags for me.
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Such a lovely read. 
Following the death of her grandmother who brought her up, librarian Poppy moves to a small Devon village. The cottage she buys also comes with a long disused telephone box.  As she turns the telephone box into the littlest library, she starts to make friends and wonder if she could stay in the village for ever.
This book is an absolute must for anyone who love books and believes in the power of libraries to help people. The characters are likeable and engaging, there are lovely sub-plots, gorgeous garden descriptions. All you could want for a charming read about village life, and love.
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This library may be little, but there's nothing small about the punch this delightful book delivers on so many levels. I loved the story of Jess and her voyage of discovery after suffering terrible loss in her childhood and further heartache at the start of the book.
Her fresh start — a move to the village of Middlemass — introduces us to a wonderful cast of characters, all beautifully drawn and completely believable.
There are some incredibly poignant lines: 'Jess allowed her grief at the loss to surface only in tiny increments. It was like a caged animal liable to consume her if she gave it too much freedom.' And there are also some very funny ones: 'What have you done with Isla and Angus?' 'Had them adopted. It was all very quick because I didn't want to give the new parents time for second thoughts. I think I got away with it.'
There is romance, drama and a genuine sense of community; of people pulling together during difficult times. And — of course — there are books.
'There was a book to cure every ill and solve every problem. That was what Mimi had always thought.' The Littlest Library certainly cheered me up! Highly recommended.
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Having read The Telephone Box Library by Rachel Lucas last year, I did wonder how similar or different this book would be.

There are some similarities but thankfully not too much. Jess is  quiet soul who suddenly finds herself moving away from her home town of 30 years to a pretty village in Devon. I enjoyed how her and her grandmother's love of books was woven into the story, a mini book club within the story.

A good mix of characters, romance and a reminder that community spirit is important to the mental health of residents, even in a pretty village.
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