• The Last Bookshop in London

  • A Novel of World War II
  • By: Madeline Martin
  • Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (4,526 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love, and the enduring power of literature.

August 1939: London is dismal under the weight of impending war with Germany as Hitler’s forces continue to sweep across Europe. Into this uncertain maelstrom steps Grace Bennett, young and ready for a fresh start in the bustling city streets she’s always dreamed of - and miles away from her troubled past in the countryside.

With aspirations of working at a department store, Grace never imagined she’d wind up employed at Primrose Hill, an offbeat bookshop nestled in the heart of the city - after all, she’s never been much of a reader. Overwhelmed with organizing the cluttered store, she doesn’t have time to read the books she sells. But when one is gifted to her, what starts as an obligation becomes a passion that draws her into the incredible world of literature.

As the Blitz rains down bombs on the city night after night, a devastating attack leaves the libraries and shops of London’s literary center in ruins. Miraculously, Grace’s bookshop survives the firestorm. Through blackouts and air raids, Grace continues running the shop, discovering a newfound comfort in the power of words and storytelling that unites her community in ways she never imagined - a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of war-torn London. 

©2021 Madeline Martin (P)2021 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited

What listeners say about The Last Bookshop in London

Average Customer Ratings
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Very very seldom

First, let me say I normally do not enjoy books about war time. I bought this audio book because Madeline Martin is a favorite author of mine. I got the audio because I didn't think I would finish the ebook because like I said, not my favorite subject.
The emotions that this book generated was unreal. I couldn't even listen to it at work because I would sit here and cry or I would laugh.
I had dreams about this book, wondering what was going to happen next. Grace's discovery of books and what they can bring to your life is so good.
I will never forget this book.
Thank you Madeline Martin for such a heart stirring book.
I can't remember listening to this narrator before but she brought just the right timbre to each of the character's voices that you would think there was a whole cast of people reading the book.

212 people found this helpful

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Almost perfect

I enjoyed this book and recommend it, both for the storyline, for the glimpse into life in WWII London and for the well-rounded characters. The only thing that irritated me was that it was set in England, read with a British accent, but some words were written in American. The most irritating of all was ‘store’. To me, a store is a place where extra stock is kept, but the author used it to refer to the shop. It sounds pedantic, but that word and a few others took me out of the story (I’m not American, so those words mean different things to me).

101 people found this helpful

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If you are a reader this is for you

The story takes place in London during WWII. I enjoy reading about the war in Europe and this was an extra joy because it tells a story of a woman who discovers the joy that lives in books.

This book made me feel what I've only read about in history books; the bombs falling almost every night, children being set out of the city for their safety, and the people of London standing strong. All during this Grace, the main character, has discovered books, and begins reading to people in air raid shelters, helping to take their minds off the bombs falling outside.

80 people found this helpful

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A straightforward, fairly atmospheric tale

This was a nice diversion, offering a pleasant tale with atmospheric touches, told in a straightforward way. The plotline is engaging, the writing rather blunt and lacking in nuance, with many points stated repeatedly, as if it's not trusted that the reader will understand the first time. (Example: the protagonist, blaming herself --for something over which, by the way, she had no control whatsoever-- over the course of one page repeats that she has let down those counting on her/disappointed them all/failed them...) Similarly, this is a book in which people evince "awed disbelief," "self-assured confidence" and the like. The sequences in which I felt that the writing rose above the pedestrian were those involving the blackouts and bombings and their aftermath. These are vivid and compelling, as though, having placed her heroine in situations of extremity, the author drew on greater descriptive powers than elsewhere in the book, where we often receive information rather than being immersed fully into a scene.

I am only onto the second chapter of a new audiobook, also with sequences set in London during the Blitz ("The Light over London"), and am already aware of the superiority of the writing as compared to this work. But, again, it offers a pleasant diversion.

48 people found this helpful

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Wow, what a great story.

The reader was really good. The story and characters drew me in more and more as I got further into the story. This is definitely a book that gets stronger the further you go. Trying not to give anything away, but the details given in the story paint such clear picture of the time. What a great writer. As an audiobook listener part of the story, I could completely relate too. Can't wait for the next book from Madeline Martin.

37 people found this helpful

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A Hallmark Channel screenplay

The narrator does the best she can with this slow drip of treacle which finally douses the Blitz.

31 people found this helpful

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People really are good!

Even in the middle of war. With all its horrors.
There is no shortage of heroes. Bravery. People that will not stop helping.
People who can't stop helping.
This is a wonderful story for your heart. With beautiful narration.

28 people found this helpful

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I loved The Last Bookshop in London!

Usually, I wouldn't say I like books set in wartime but, this was such a sweet story, and the characters are well developed. I felt many emotions reading this book, crying happy and sad tears through a lot of it.

I will have to read more books written by Madeline Martin.

23 people found this helpful

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What a story!

I could not stop listening to this amazing story of heartbreak, courage and love. A beautiful story for those who love to read.

23 people found this helpful

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Another WWII Story, Another Bookshop Story

A very light and easy read. Doesn't stand out in the saturated WWII market, but I managed to care enough to finish it. It felt a little uneven, with spots that could have been more developed. The moaning over the children being sent into the country was irritating and didn't factor into the story significantly enough to warrant multiple revisiting by the main character, who didn't have children or siblings. But, it was a pleasant enough story. Some of the tension was well done. I cared about the characters, and I finished it, so 3 stars. The narrator did a fine job, distinguished between characters without overdoing it - 4 stars. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone except as a light pleasant quick read.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Christineb
  • 05-17-21

A Pleasant Story

Well narrated An overall pleasant listen not riveting or exciting in any sense but the characters where all pleasant and the story flowed uneventfully

1 person found this helpful

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  • MicT
  • 04-15-22

Fantastic!

This book is amazing. I loved it so much. The narration is really good too. Get it, you won’t regret it :-)

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-27-21

Did not want this book to end!

This book touched me so deeply I will carry its story with me forever. I chose this book for our book club this month. It is something I wouldn't normally read, and in general I don't leave reviews either, but I had to just rave about it. Its magical, sad in places and joyfully in others. I don't want to give the story away. I fell in love with each character.
The audiobook was good, the only reason I gave it 4 stars was because I just wished the narrator would use a different voice for the different individual male characters. Thats just personal preference though.

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  • Ken White
  • 01-12-22

Beautiful

What an absolute delight and so sorry to finish it. It will have a permanent spot on my bookshelf to be read again times over. Thank you Madeline for giving me such pleasure, just like the Bookshop.

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  • Irit
  • 04-10-21

Nice story, but lacking a bit in flavor.

I loved the narration.
The story was nice but too "vanilla" to my taste. I was looming forward to something a bit more thrilling. All in all it's a nice boom to spend the time.