Author: Amy Lynn Green
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: November 15, 2022
In 1942, an impulsive promise to her brother before he goes off to the European front puts Avis Montgomery in the unlikely position of head librarian in small-town Maine. Though she has never been much of a reader, when wartime needs threaten to close the library, she invents a book club to keep its doors open. The women she convinces to attend the first meeting couldn't be more different--a wealthy spinster determined to aid the war effort, an exhausted mother looking for a fresh start, and a determined young war worker.
At first, the struggles of the home front are all the club members have in common, but over time, the books they choose become more than an escape from the hardships of life and the fear of the U-boat battles that rage just past their shores. As the women face personal challenges and band together in the face of danger, they find they have more in common than they think. But when their growing friendships are tested by secrets of the past and present, they must decide whether depending on each other is worth the cost.
Reviewer: Kimberlee Sams
The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green is an example of Christian historical fiction at its finest! I enjoyed reading about World War II from the perspective of several women living in Maine. The basis of the story is Avis (not a big reader) taking over the local library to keep it open while the men are off fighting. She starts a book club which quickly becomes the heart of the narrative.
I enjoyed meeting the different members of the club and getting to know them as they discussed each book. I particularly liked how the story was told from multiple points of view. It made it easier to understand the mindset of the different narrators and get to know them as individuals. Watching these women get to know each other (and come to genuinely care for each other) was truly a delight. I also appreciated the club members' insights into the various books they read. I was inspired to add a couple of titles to my list as a result!
The historical aspect of the novel was well-researched and interesting. I felt like I gained some new insights into that time period and appreciated this chance to view WWII from a new perspective. All historical information was presented as a natural part of the story, so it never felt like reading a textbook.
I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House Publishers through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Mary Polyakov
The Blackout Book Club welcomes readers into a gathering of bookish people of varying ages and walks of life, delighting the reader as they explore love, loss, friendship, and togetherness against the backdrop of a world in war.
I enjoyed getting to know these characters, from brusque Louise to strong Martina to longing Avis and the other memorable people within the pages. The witty banter between Ginny and Freddy was perhaps my favorite side of the book. I loved how sweet and understated their friendship was, especially in a time of need. I also loved seeing the characters grow and learn how to rely on and carry one another's burdens.
There was a good taste of sibling relationships, platonic friendships, and romantic relationships brought to life within these pages. Anthony's letters to his sister were such fun to read, including bits like "I'm late in responding, but you can blame the army for that" and longer excerpts from his letters such as:
"If I didn't know better, it sounds like you're actually starting to like reading. I should be offended that twenty-five years of being related to me didn't do the trick, but I'll rest content in the knowledge that you've finally agreed to my motto: 'He was fond of books, for they are cool and sure friends.' (That’s Les Misérables. It's an undertaking— the French like their prose the way they like their baguettes: very long— but you've got to take a crack at it. Maybe during the winter when everything is frozen, and you can stay in with tea and wool socks and voluminous great novels.)."
Ah, don't you wish you knew him? I do.
Not all the characters were favorites - Russell, with his selfishness and grumpiness when he didn't get what he wanted and how he took advantage of his wife, for instance. But for the most part, the characters had solid goals and relatable flaws.
This book was an experience I savored, filled with many glad moments. I'm looking forward to the author's next book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review courtesy of the publisher through Interviews & Reviews. A positive review was not required.
Reviewer: Nikita Wells
“Giving and receiving love is the greatest risk and the greatest joy.”
This is a book by another author that’s new to me. I’ve been skimming book lists and favorites from friends, hoping to find some new favorites.
I’d heard a bit about Mrs. Green’s books but hadn’t read any of her works until now. This book was ok but had a few issues. The writing style wasn’t bad but was a bit slow for my taste. Overall, it just wasn’t a great fit for my shelf. No offense to the author intended.
This is a World War II-era book but thankfully doesn’t have any graphic violence or blood. This is written from the perspective of mainly women on the homefront and depicts life for homemakers and the women who worked war effort jobs outside the home.
One of the characters has a child out of wedlock. There are no inappropriate details given, though.
There’s a mention of the Brits scorning American soldiers as “Overpaid, overse*ed, and over here.”
A soldier mentions books from care packages being “more popular than pin-up girls.”
I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Nora St. Laurent
This is a great, heartfelt story with a wonderful, diversified cast. I instantly cared for them and their situations. I loved how everyone came together to enjoy and discuss various books in the library.
My heart went out to the main character, Avis, whose brother went off to war, and she agrees to take over his post at the library. She asked him, "Don't you have to read to work at a library?" (She makes me chuckle, but many women were put to work doing jobs they never imagined doing.)
He encouraged and helped his sister in the short time they had to get ready for the task at hand. Then she was given a job to create and run a book club. She was clueless about how it all worked, but she knew life was difficult for everyone because of the war. So, Avis plunged ahead.
I liked Avis and her creativity. As time went on, this small group developed a bond over the books they discussed. They learned the power of friendship. That's what the book club became for so many. I really enjoyed the book club discussions and the well-timed humor. I couldn't help but chuckle about when the secretary took the book club minutes. I liked her determination.
The reader gets a front row at the book club meetings, and the author allows them to walk in the members' shoes and how the war has affected their lives. Readers get to see how this group comes together in more ways than one.
I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of books read by the members. I was thrilled to discover the author included (in the back of the book) a list of novels discussed. I appreciated the author notes about the historical events. And the discussion questions are awesome. It will help create a lively discussion time at your book club meeting.
You will love this novel if you love books, libraries, and Book Clubs with a WWII setting. This is Amy Lynn Green at her best!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I requested and received a copy of this book from the publisher/NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Reviewer: Cheryl Wood
Amy Lynne Green is one of my favorite authors, and I eagerly wait for her new books to be published.
The Blackout Book Club follows Avis Montgomery, the head librarian in small-town Maine during WW II. Four women who are very different, Ginny, who has an outgoing personality, is trying to save money so that she can return to the island, and Martina, who is in hiding with her children. Louise, who is old and slightly bitter, and Avis, who becomes a librarian after her brother leaves for war. They unintentionally form a book club and prevent the library from shutting down. I can empathize with them as they don’t know one bit about how to run a book club. I have been a part of a handful that brought together ladies from different backgrounds and turned the club into lifelong friends.
A story full of rich history, family bonding, and friendships that are tested by the past and present, where they must decide if depending on each other is worth it. Well done, Amy Lynn. The Blackout Book Club is my favorite book this year.
I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House Publishers through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Paula Shreckhise
Step into the past and see what one plucky librarian tries in order to save a private library from extinction during 1942 on the home front. Could a book club revive the library and bring the citizens together?
“...books make fine friends - but fellow readers even better.”
Ms. Green has given us well-rounded, relatable characters that have struggles just as we do in a world we can only imagine. She gives interesting facts about towns on the east coast during wartime that had the threat of German U-boats off our mainland. But it is the varied personal problems of Avis, Russell, Louise, Ginny, Martina, and Freddy that showed me those struggles are universal and worthy of being seen in the light of faith and grace. Forgiveness and reconciliation were shown as were upholding the truth and revealing dangerous secrets.
A story about history, books, and libraries? It is a YES from this book lover! A worthy addition to her other two books. Highly recommended.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Trixi Oberembt
“I have found books make fine friends—but fellow readers even better. “
Being an avid bookworm, I was excited to dive into this story! Though WW2 novels aren't my favorite, I've heard such great things about the author Amy Lynn Green. I'm glad I took the chance on both the book and author.
Admittedly, it took me some time to get into because it started out a bit slow. I was afraid it would be another “did not finish” book on a long list of these lately. Not due to the writing (it's brilliant, by the way!), but so much was happening at the beginning that it was hard to keep up with. I finally found my groove around the 40% mark and the characters began to grow on me. I think the one that took the cake for me was Ginny. Oh my....she's rash, outspoken and brutally honest, but made me laugh so much. She's an awful lot like myself, my connection to her was uncanny! You wouldn't find a better friend or confidant like her, though. I just loved the complex layers to each character as they took shape on the pages. Every one of them was special in their own way and the bond they had in the end was tight.
These friendships were forged in the fire of war and connected in the love of literature. This is not only about a book club that grew, or merely an effort to save the library, but a story that I think can touch the heart of every reader! What an emotionally satisfying novel and a peek at history lived through the lives of its characters! If you are a fan of Amy Green—or even a new one like myself—and also enjoy the likes of Sarah Sundin or Kate Breslin, I would highly recommend The Blackout Book Club to you. I found it to be a brilliantly written, multi-layered novel to enjoy over and over again!
I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers and was not obligated to leave a review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Oh, how I wish I were part of the Blackout Book Club! Without the need for a blackout, of course. This is my first book by Amy Lynn Green, and it won't be my last.
With a cast of diverse characters, I thought at first that I would be unable to keep track of them all. However, the book's flow was such that while these characters got to know each other, so did we by listening in on their discussions.
I loved the notes kept by the members. Each member conveyed a part of their personality, and their "meticulous" notes were a joy to read as they discussed the various books they had chosen. And if you are wondering what those books were, the author has conveniently included the list at the end of the book.
My favourite character by far was Ginny. Her snappy comebacks and her insight into people, in general, were refreshing. Each character, however, had unique qualities, creating a well-rounded circle of friends you could trust and that you wanted to spend more time around. I will miss them.
If you love to read, are part of a book club, or wondered what they were like, dive into the Blackout Book Club. You won't regret it!
I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley for my honest opinion.
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