The Air Raid Book Club 

Reviewed By  Nan van Dissel       July 23, 2023

 

Author  Annie Lyons

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 9781035401055
Publisher:         Hachette. Imprint Headline Review.
Release Date:   July 2023  

Website:    https://www.hachette.com.au 

Books have the ability to bring people together and to help bolster their spirits through the most challenging and demanding times. Best-selling author Annie Lyons’ female-centric historical novel ‘The Air Raid Book Club’ highlights the importance of book clubs, which were the very thing to fight boredom and fill blacked-out evenings at home or in shelters with pleasure and temporary escape from the horrors of falling bombs over London.

In 1938, with war looming, widowed bookshop owner, Gertie Bigham had lost a little of her zest for life. However, with the rise of Hitler in Germany and the resultant threat to its Jewish population, she reluctantly takes in a traumatised evacuee, Jewish teenager Hedy Fischer as part of the Kindertransport programme.

Despite feeling out of her depth, over time the two form an unbreakable bond and when the Blitz begins, they decide to create the enormously successful Air Raid Book Club. Its huge success leads them to expand their programme to cater for children and then, as the war continues, Gertie and Hedy resolve to send books overseas in care packages to prisoners of war. 

Despite war being the backdrop to this narrative, it is more a heartwarming tale of resilience, friendship, hope, love and the unity that books can bring, however readers are given some insight into hardships experienced by those on the home front.

The author has included the list of “Bingham’s Book Club recommended books” at the end of this captivating novel.