Elsie Martin may lead a quiet life, but working in her beloved local library is enough to make her happy. After all, books have always been her armour against the world. So when the library is threatened with closure to make way for a new housing development, Elsie knows it has to be saved – and that, despite being painfully shy, she needs to lead the campaign to save it.
Jacob Yardley thinks he’s doing the right thing by building a new affordable housing development. Why shouldn’t local people be able to buy a house in the place they grew up? Having to leave his own small hometown broke his heart. Plus, people don’t really use libraries anymore, do they?
As Elsie and Jacob clash over the future of the library, sparks begin to fly. Jacob is falling back in love with books and libraries – could he possibly be falling for her too? And will Elsie be able to save the library that means so much to her?
My thoughts: I pretty much spent my childhood in a library. I even became a student librarian at secondary school, with responsibility for uploading new books onto ALICE, the computer system and shelving. So I immediately felt a kinship with Elsie – libraries are so important and hers is also essentially the heart of village life.
The various community groups that meet there, the safe space it offers for the lonely and bereaved, the daily cakes from best friend Gemma’s bakery, even rude Karen the supervisor. And knocking it down will prevent those people from having anywhere to go. Typical box ticking nonsense from the council about enough provision in the local area not taking anything into account. And then there’s Jacob’s horrible father, I wanted to push him in the duck pond – but that might be unfair to the ducks!
I found myself cheering for Elsie and her pals as they pushed back against the closure, as they pulled together to save their library from floods and demolition. And of course as Jacob learns to stand up to his dad and realises that with Elsie is where he belongs. Lovely, heartwarming stuff.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.