Book Review: “The Last Chance Library” A Must Read for Book Lovers | Arts


Freya Sampson has written a charming novel called “The Last Chance Library”, which is like a warm hug for bookworms and book lovers. I doubt libraries have ever been more valued than during the last COVID-19 lockdowns, and I doubt our affection for them has ever been better expressed than in this novel.

June Jones practically grew up in the Chalcot Library, where her mother worked. When her mother fell ill, June postponed her plans to go to college and stayed home to care for her. When her mother passed away, June became a bit of a recluse and couldn’t bring herself to leave the small English village. She got a job in the library, but remained shy and socially awkward, spending the rest of her time at home with her books and her cat, Alan Bennett.

When the library is named among six English libraries slated for closure, June muses a bit of courage and rallies the eccentric cadre of dedicated library patrons to fight for the library, including Franklin, a young child whose world s ‘opens when it obtains a library card; the fiery Mrs. B., who seems to live to protest; and the gentle, old Sampson.

I had a hard time letting go of this book, I was so attached to the characters.

I loved every person that Sampson created in Chalcot. I laughed and cried, clapped and booed. She created a world of kindness, the strength of community spirit, shelters and the magic of the world of books. It is a world for those who love books and reading.

Sandy Mahaffey is a former editor of Books at The Free Lance – Star.


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