The Last Library
'I'm totally in love' Clare Pooley
by Freya Sampson
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 2 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 2 Sep 2021
Bonnier Books UK, Zaffre
An eclectic cast of eccentric characters as adored in THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 40 members
The Last Library is a heart-warming, funny, charming novel with a delightful cast of characters. The story follows June Jones, a shy young librarian who is thrust into the limelight when her beloved library is threatened with closure. Freya Sampson clearly understands the importance of libraries in communities, and threads her story with tales of all the different sorts of people who rely on libraries every day, including the lonely elderly who need someone to chat to, the young home-schooled children who need books to study, the babies and toddlers enjoying rhymetime, and the immigrants and unemployed job seekers who need advice and computer support. I loved this book, and will eagerly read Sampson's next novel.
This book is such a heartwarming read, I would recommend to all. As a child much like Jackson when I was that age, I really identified with him, and also loved all the other characters in the book, who reminded me of the people who used to be in the library regularly when I was growing up. The story is very realistic, I'll be honest the ending surprised me as it wasn't what I expected, but despite the realism it was still a lovely story that left you feeling good even though it wasn't all rainbows and candy all the way through.
What a wonderful book! I loved all of the characters especially June, Stanley, Alex, Chantel and Jackson. Written with such tenderness. I was all for painting a banner and staging a sit in at Chalcot Library to save it from closure! A brilliant comfort read for a summers afternoon, sat in the garden. Perfect.....
I raced throught this at a speed of knots and loved every word of this nuanced piece. A pure delight. Great characters and a fantastic plot.
What a fantastic book. I really could not put it down. The plot is about a library that is about to be closed down and the characters around this. the main character is June who is shy and works in the library. the plot is highly character driven and would certainly make an excellent film - I do hope someone picks up the film rights. I loved the story and all the characters that were so well described each with their own quirks. Stanley as a character is still my favourite as he develops throughout the book. This is a total must read and a fantastic book I only hope it does not get overlooked with the plethora of other releases as it really does deserve the highest praise..
June Jones emerges from her shell to fight for her beloved local library, and through the efforts and support of an eclectic group of library patrons, she discovers life changing friendships along the way. You know when you read a book and it's just so good that it actually makes you laugh out loud and shed a few tears? That is exactly what happened when I read this. I actually can't put into words how much I adored this group of characters (especially Mrs B and Stanley) and what I particularly loved is that you didn't just get background to the main character June but to all of the people trying to save the library. I think also because I love reading so much I felt right at home being immersed in this story. Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers and the author for my copy in return for a review
My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review. Delightful novel. Great characters with strong personalities. Realistic and a very enjoyable and easy read. I became totally engaged by this well written, virtually true to life story centred around an introverted assistant librarian. Many of us will have spent lockdown immersed in books, and reading about the survival of our libraries and the roles they play in society, makes for an excellent base for this story. The ending was a surprise: not quite what I was expecting. I look forward to reading Freya’s next novel.
As a massive fan of books, reading and libraries, I was immediately drawn to this book and it certainly didn't disappoint. It is a heart-warming story, centring around the friendships that can be formed within a small community fighting for its library. The cast of characters are colourful: reflecting a variety of ages, cultures and backgrounds. I loved how you don't just feel close to June as the main character but also, lots of the others too - from Mrs B and her hilariously brash ways, to Stanley and his backstory, to Jackson and his eagerness for books and learning - they were an eclectic bunch with a common goal. There were some really humorous laugh-out-loud moments in this book, as well as some moving, tearful ones - which is pretty much all you want from a story isn't it? As another reviewer has already commented, this book would be perfect turned into a film or TV drama. Thoroughly enjoyed this and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. **Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read an advanced e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own **
This is a lovely debut novel from Freya Sampson that zeroes in on the central and critical place a local library has within a community, a timely piece of fiction that reflects contemporary British realities where so many libraries have been closed and so many are under threat. The timid and shy 30 year old June Jones lives on the 1960s Willowmead Estate with her hostile anti-social cat, Alan Bennett. She has lived an entirely predictable and routine life since her mother died 8 years ago, she has withdrawn from the world entirely, reading her books, getting the same takeaway from The Golden Dragon, working as a library assistant under her boss, Marjorie Spencer. She shuns all efforts to get her live, socialise and move on by the likes of her mother's friend and neighbour, Linda. However, June's world begins to shift slowly when her library, along with others, is earmarked for closure and the building set to be sold. She is warned that as a council employee, she is forbidden to take part in or get involved with a protest action group that is has been set up to fight the closure, and at the beginning she adheres to this rule. An old schoolfriend, lawyer Alex Chen arrives in town to help run The Golden Dragon, his father is getting a hip operation, and as June recommends books for him to read, she listens to his advice about her quandry and he tells her to ask herself about a favourite fictional character, what would Roald Dahl's Matilda do? This spurs June to help the FOCL (the Friends of Chalcot Library) campaign, giving advice, information and ideas covertly as Matilda, but when a beloved daily library user, Stanley Phelps starts a sit in protest, she openly joins the protests. Sampson develops a delightfully diverse set of supporting characters that include the likes of the ferociously feisty Mrs Bransworth, Vera, Chantal, and Marjorie, that captivate as they put their all into trying to prevent the closure of their much wanted library. This is a wonderfully entertaining and engaging read, often so humorous as when June diverts a male stripper to the library. It includes dastardly behind the scenes corruption, powerful forces intent on ensuring that the library closes. This is a book that will appeal to many readers given that it focuses on books and libraries. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.
Wow! Wow! Wow! Three words which sum up The Last Library by Freya Sampson perfectly! I am definitely going to write more but if I was restricted to three words, this would be my review! On your arrival at Chalcot Library you will be welcomed as a family member would be - an absolute gem of a library at the cornerstone of the community. Library assistant June will know exactly which books you will love, she will find the books that you will enjoy and will help you escape into a different world. Her knowledge is incredible, her intuition is amazing and she is one of the best characters I have ever met in a book. Struggling with the loss of her Mum, she lives a very sheltered life, working in the library and then retreats to her haven, her home, where everything she knows and loves from her past is around her. Her love of reading helps her cope with her daily life and struggles. She lives her life through her books. Until the Chalcot Library is threatened with closure. June becomes alive! She does everything she can, with the help of the library staff, visitors and community to save Chalcot Library and turn it into one of the best libraries it could ever be. Every character from Mrs Bransworth to Vera to Chantal and Marjorie are fantastically depicted. I absolutely loved Stanley, so lovely portrayed - he is the gentleman sitting in the corner of the library that everyone sees. But behind every person is a story and Stanley's story was very sad, but so heartwarming with all the help he received. I loved reading about how June developed and how her life became so enriched and changed so completely and how happy she is. Just a brilliant brilliant storyline. Libraries are essential to the community. Not everyone can buy books, has access to computers at home, or are able to buy a newspaper. But not only this, it is the people. A library is made up of books, but they are also made up of people and it is everyone who is involved from the library staff to the borrowers that make a library such a warm and welcoming place for everyone. We must all support our local libraries, to help them thrive and make them the best place for everyone. They are vital to our wellbeing, to our lives and to our communities. Go borrow a book! And make sure you reserve a copy of The Last Library by Freya Sampson for when it comes out on 2nd September 2021! Thank you very much for my advanced copy. This review is based on a NetGalley ARC provided in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.