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  • Book about books

    Imagine that your whole world is being threatened to be taken from you. That is exactly what June Jones is feeling. The library that her mother worked at and that she now works at is possibly being closed. She tries to stay out of it but her heart steps in and she knows that she must step up and do what she can to help. I liked most seeing June step up. She was a mousy librarian when the story started. As the story continues, she finds her voice, her strength, and uses them for the good of the library and the community. She finds that the visitors of the library see her as more than just a librarian, but as their friend also. The library has multiple meanings for each visitor and as the fight to save the library goes on each person shares their story. I loved hearing about the visitors, their need for the library, and how it affects their lives. It is true that a library is not just a place to get books to read, it is a place to make friends, a place to find warmth, a place to escape from their homes, and a place to be safe. Freya Sampson did a great job of taking a diverse set of characters and pulling their lives together. Weaving their stories to make one larger picture that was beautiful. I loved seeing each character come into their own, seeing them come together for each other, and seeing a wonderful library become the center of a community.

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  • Freya Sampson's Debut Novel

    The Last Chance Library is Freya Sampson’s debut novel. June Jones is a library assistant whose life revolves around work, home, and books. June has not been able to move forward with her life since the death of her mother eight years earlier. When the Chalcot library is threatened with closure, the townspeople rally to save it and expect June to lead the charge. Unfortunately, June has trouble with large crowds and speaking in front of anyone including children at Rhyme Time. The local residents form FOCL (Friends of Chalcot Library) and work to keep the library they love with some help from a helpful anonymous insider. The Last Chance Library sounded like such a fun story which is why I was disappointed with the end result. I found the pacing to be slow with expected characters. There are some quirky residents like Vera and Mrs. B (she is really over-the-top). I loved Stanley. He was a kind soul. Our protagonist, June is a timid woman who seems afraid to live. Being afraid of public speaking myself, I could relate to her fear. I just expected more from the main character. I wanted to see her leading the charge and coming up with creative ideas to save the place she loved. The ending was a mixed bag. Most of the story followed a predictable path, and I like how things ended for the library. June’s story was disenchanting. There is a potential romance for June with old school chum, Alex. I never felt any sparks between the pair and the pairing felt forced. I was especially offended by the amount of foul language in The Last Chance Library. I did enjoy the book references and how the library patrons worked to save their local book haven. A library is so much more than a place to get books. That is the one thing that non-book lovers fail to see. It is a place to meet other people, get help with homework, use the computer, watch a movie, learn a new skill, and where our children can learn to love books as much as we do. My favorite quote from The Last Chance Library is, “You are never alone when you have a good book.” While The Last Chance Library is not my cup of tea, it does appeal to others. You should read a sample, to see if The Last Chance Library is for you. The Last Chance Library is a debut novel with a bevy of books, a shocking closure, a bully for a boss, activist patrons, and a tentative library assistant.

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  • Last chances, indeed!

    The various threads that come together to make up this story are touching, poignant and well thought out. The combination of these threads woven into this story make up a rich tapestry of these many people who have mostly known each other since they were born, whether that’s good or bad in the end, and keeps the characters in their ruts for the most part. New characters are introduced to allow for growth for all that are willing to do the work in order to climb out of their ruts and rejoin the exploration that keeps life fresh and interesting. Despite their respective commitments to their families - those who still have family, anyway - they find their own ways to protect and keep alive this common bond they have created in the town’s library. It made me think back to my own experiences with both my local library and my school library. Reading kept me sane in my own crazy upbringing, so I can totally relate to June. It was so great to see her finally shake off her shackles to her past and return to the fullness of life again, which leaves me with hope for my next chapter too!

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