Thursday 7 October 2021

Review: The Library by Bella Osborne

Teenager Tom has always blended into the background of life. After a row with his dad and facing an unhappy future at the dog food factory, he escapes to the library.

Pensioner Maggie has been happily alone with her beloved novels for ten years – at least, that's what she tells herself.

When they meet, they recognise something in each other that will change both their lives for ever.

Then the library comes under threat of closure, and they must join forces to prove that it's not just about books – it's the heart of their community.

They are determined to save it – because some things are worth fighting for.

Review: This is one of those books where I eeked out the reading of it. I rarely do that with books but I only read 20% max at a time because it was just so good and so lovely and I wanted to take in all of the detail since it's the first novel I've read like this from Bella Osborne. I loved it and I highly recommend it. 

Now I am already a big fan of cross-generational friendships in books. I think it's always a great jumping off point because both characters bring something to the table and so a collaboration could be spectacular but in this case it just runs even deeper because both of Maggie and Tom are lonely in their own way and neither of them are prepared to admit it. I loved this fact always in the background of anything that happened in this story, it just gave every interaction and every event a more complex meaning. 

Then we have our third main character, our library. We know from the cover that this is going to be a book lovers dream but there are so many favourite books of mine mentioned throughout the novel and then there's the love of the library itself. This books hows what an important part of the community the library is and all the different ways, aside from lending books to patrons, that it serves the people in a town. I just loved the idea of characters pulling together in their share drive and passion for it even if they didn't realise it. And the love of books is going to make you, as a reader, very happy indeed. 

I loved both Tom and Maggie as characters. Maggie is feisty and independent and everything you expect her not to be. It was a job reading about her and getting to know all of the surprising things you find out along the way. Tom had a special place in my heart though. I think I wanted to protect him and that probably comes from my teaching career, I hated the thought of him leaving school and being on his own, leaving the library setting and being in any danger. He's a teenage boy going through his GCSE year with such a turbulent home life and the things that we get to see going on in his head. He's a special person and I wanted to shelter him from the world. 

We get to see what is going on in Tom's head because his side of the story is written in first person. I love a dual narrative structure when it comes to a book and I think this one would have been great on audio but it was equally fantastic on eBook. Tom's parts are written in first persona and Maggie's parts in third person which helps to distinguish their own worlds even further. I think that's why I connected with Tom slightly more. 

This book delves into some deeper issues that can be going on in people's lives that we won't necessarily ever find out and I loved that it did that naturally as part of the body of the novel. I won't go into all the issues explored as I'd be giving away spoilers but I think that everything covered was done so in a realistic yet sensitive way and so on a final note I would like to applaud Bella Osborne and The Library for reminding us to simply be kind. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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