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Kate Thompson – Wartime Libraries and Bookclubs

  • Submitted: 9th February 2024

Kate Thompson and Wartime Books

There is an author who has really taken me into the world of books and bookclubs during wartime. Two very special novels that I want to showcase today as, they deserve to be read and savoured!

Recently in Spain, I discovered the translated version of The Little Wartime Library. It was in every bookshop, recommended to me by more than one bookseller and in magazines and on posters. The book had just come out in the most delectable hardback and I ached to get it!

Kate Thompson - Wartime Libraries and Bookclubs

It’s got a really cute title in Spanish which literally translates back as ‘ The library of brave readers’

The Little Wartime Library.

La biblioteca de las lectoras valientes

I’d already got the book in English but sometimes, a book is just that special, the story inside one that really resonates and touches you, that  I just had to have it.  Based on true facts, it tells the tale of a woman who created an underground library – the very real one of Bethnal Green –  during war time. Quite an amazing story and so important to be told.

I totally get why this book is doing so well in Spain (its having its fourth reprint as we speak). It’s a universal story about books and people who love books. It’s about how books take us to places and allow us to escape.

Wonder what the Spanish readers will make of this one….

The Wartime Book Club

The Wartime Book club Kate Thompson

Equally as brilliant and a homage to books and book lovers everywhere, Again, it was inspired by a true story – about the women who joined the resistance in Jersey during the German occupation in WW2.

Grace and Bea are best friends living in St Helier, Jersey. At the start of the book, the island is a picture of sunshine and calm. Then the Germans invade and the darkness descends.

The Wartime Book Club

But that’s where the book magic comes in – Grace is a librarian and Bea, a postwoman. The first one hides books the Germans will ban, the second delivers and hides mail from prying eyes. To think that such acts of defiance were so warmly welcomed by those who loved books.

Grace decides to start The Wartime Library Book Club. This has to be approved by the Germans of course, but when it is, the community flock to it. War rages outside and this group of people shelter between the pages of their latest find.


Two wonderful books which showcase what books really represent. Books as ways to escape, ways to survive and ways to both remember and forget.

How women fought for books and reading, when war was raging around the world. Remarkable for being true stories but ultimately, the stories speak for themselves.


BookTrail Boarding Pass: Kate Thompson books

Twitter:     @katethompson380

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