From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:
Hello dear readers, I am so pleased to share a first look at a forthcoming historical fiction novel from bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society, Natalie Jenner. Bloomsbury Girls releases on May 17, 2022, and I am so thrilled to reveal the first details of the novel and its beautiful cover with you today.
I had the honor of reading an early manuscript of Bloomsbury Girls and I instantly fell in love with the story and its colorful, humorous, and feisty female booksellers determined to forge their way in business, and in love, in post-World War Two London.
Here is a special message from author Natalie Jenner who shares with us the inspiration of her new novel, followed by the cover reveal, and the official book description from the publisher.
Best, Laurel Ann
A MESSAGE FROM AUTHOR NATALIE JENNER
Hello Dear Readers,
Thank you again for the amazing support for my debut novel, The Jane Austen Society. I wanted you all to be the first to know the details and share the cover of my next novel, Bloomsbury Girls.
I never intended for Evie Stone to be a major character in my debut novel, let alone inspire my second one, Bloomsbury Girls. But as time went on, I found I could not leave her behind in Chawton with the other society members. And then one day I rewatched a favourite movie, 84 Charing Cross Road, and I remember thinking, there’s a whole other story in here still to be told, of an upstairs-downstairs motley crew of booksellers, and right away the figures came to life. In addition to Evie, there’s a new character in Bloomsbury Girls who is also proving difficult to now leave behind: Vivien Lowry, a vivacious but temperamental female bookseller who wants the opportunities so easily granted her male counterpart, the socially aspiring and attractive Alec McDonough, whose heart is much softer than his head.
As with The Jane Austen Society, Bloomsbury Girls features multiple characters and storylines revolving around one very charming location: this time, the quintessential Dickensian-type bookshop. In addition to Evie and Vivien, there is Grace Perkins, the secretary to the general manager who is an unhappily married working mother determined to make the best of her lot, the fastidious general manager whose entire life is contained within the four floors of the shop, the recent Indian immigrant and scientist who has had to settle for a position there, the wealthy earl whose family has owned the shop for one hundred years, the footloose and fancy free manager of the rare books department (where Evie will get the run of the place in his absence), and many more.
There are themes around agency, new beginnings, class and gender conflict, prejudice, the art and craft of writing and, of course, plenty of workplace romance! A couple of characters from The Jane Austen Society make an appearance, as well as a few famous literary and society figures of the time. And, naturally, there is another literary treasure hunt going on, spearheaded yet again by young Evie Stone.
If The Jane Austen Society was the book I wrote when I was coming out of sadness, Bloomsbury Girls was written when I was very happy, and I hope it provides a little cheer to readers during this difficult time.
Best wishes, Natalie
Without further ado, here is the beautiful cover of Bloomsbury Girls.
The cover is similar in style to The Jane Austen Society, and features the three main characters: Evie, Vivien, and Grace in front of Bloomsbury Books, the shop stuck in Dickensian London and ripe for a shake up by the female staff. Here is the official book description from the publisher, St Martin’s Press.
OFFICIAL BOOK DESCRIPTION
“One bookshop. Fifty-one rules. Three women who break them all.”
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.
Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare bookstore 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 fiancé 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.
Natalie Jenner is the author of two books, the instant international bestseller THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY and BLOOMSBURY GIRLS. A Goodreads Choice Award finalist for best debut novel and historical fiction, THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY was a USA Today and #1 national bestseller and has been sold for translation in twenty countries. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie has been a corporate lawyer, a career coach and, most recently, an independent bookstore owner in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.
- Bloomsbury Girls: A Novel, by Natalie Jenner
- St Martin’s Press (May 17, 2022)
- Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook (304) pages
- ISBN: 978-1250276698
- Genre: Historical Fiction
Cover image and book description compliments of St Martin’s Press © 2022; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2021, austenprose.com.