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The Bermondsey Bookshop

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  32 reviews

Set in 1920s London, this is the inspiring story of Kate Goss's struggle against poverty, hunger and cruel family secrets.

Her mother died in a fall, her father has vanished without trace, and now her aunt and cousins treat her viciously. In a freezing, vermin-infested garret, factory girl Kate has only her own brave spirit and dreams of finding her father to keep her

Kindle Edition
Published February 6th 2020 by Head of Zeus
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  42 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I chose to read this book because of the title as well as the description of the story - but the title immediately made me open to it. I like books about bookstores - I've spent so many happy hours in them myself I just can't resist.

The story is set in 1920s London and is focused around the spirited Kate Goss. Kate's mother died, her father has been away for years, and Kate is living with a mean and resentful aunt and her children. Kate is treated terribly and is definitely not wanted. She
The story moves at a pace that allows plenty of opportunity for the author to provide detail about daily life for working class families in 1920s Bermondsey. The contrast between their experience – poor and overcrowded housing, ill health, insecure work – and that of the wealthier and more privileged is vividly depicted. In a neat inversion, it is Kate who lives in a garret and Martin, the artist for whom she models, who lives in a swanky flat.

I might have wished for a little more of the story
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Bermondsey Bookshop by Mary Gibson is an intriguing historical novel. I found it to be well-written that moved along at a thoughtful pace and it has a strong female protagonist. Kate Goss had a loving mother until she had an accident coming down the steep garret stairs. Archie Goss, Kate’s father, deposited Kate with his sister, Sylvie and then departed. Sylvie did not like Kate’s Romany mother, Bessie which she takes out on Kate. Her cousins, Janey and Stan are just as mean and spiteful. ...more
Carol Mageean
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Firstly thank you Net Galley for allowing me to read this book. I love this author and have enjoyed all her books. This particular one is based
in 1920s London. It was very cleverly written about Kate Goss and her personal struggles against poverty, hunger and cruel family secrets. It was most enjoyable and I found it quite absorbing how the different characters were woven into Kate’s life and the Bermondsey Bookshop. I felt so sorry for Kate at times and could not believe the hardships she
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received a digital ARC via Netgalley through the publisher but all thoughts are my own.

This is the story of a young woman named Kate who has grown up in a small run down town called Bermondsey, at the mercy of her cruel Aunt Sylvie and cousins who have done their best to make her life miserable and treated her as a proverbial physical and emotional punching bag.

Her Aunt forces her to get a job at the young age of fourteen and takes most of her wages, leaving an amount left that she couldn't
Firstly, to start this review it is important for you to know that the bookshop was a very real place, set down in a very unlikely neighborhood where people struggle to simply make the rent and put food on the table. The changes wrought in the early 1900’s in Britain not only returned (or didn’t) several men from World War I, a shakeup of the ‘grand houses’, women finding work other than street corners, and a general overlay of grime and soot because of the heavy use of coal for heat and power. ...more
Fraser's Fun House
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tragically Kate Goss’ Mother was killed when she was very young and her ambitious Father entrusted the care of his only child to his Sister whilst he worked to built his business. However that was years ago and whilst Kate dreams of his return she sadly has to live with the hellish life she finds herself in; forced to leave her education and thrust into the workforce by her cruel, unloving Aunt.

Not one to shy away from hard graft Kate throws herself into job in a vain attempt to escape the cycle
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Bermondsey Bookshop by Mary Gibson is an intriguing tale of life in the tenements of London in the 1920s. Her father in the care of her aunt, following her mother's death, has left Kate. Her father had gone off to war and then to seek his fortune. She dreamed daily of his return. Her life was horrible. The description of life in Bermondsey for most of the people there was absolutely miserable. It was worse for Kate. This was a tough book to get into. It took about halfway to really start ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Set in 1920s London, this is the inspiring story of Kate Goss's struggle against poverty, hunger and cruel family secrets.

When her mother dies and her father leaves to find his fortune, Kate is raised by Aunt Sylvia. Her Aunt and cousins are particularly cruel to Kate who is cold, given barely enough food and forced to leave school to work in a foundry. It is there that Kate makes friends and learns a trade. The factory where she works lays off people seasonally and Kate must search for a way to
Jacinda Literature Babe
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
"The Bermondsey Bookshop" is a unique Historical Fiction story that takes the reader to the rough and raw streets of Bermondsey during the 1920's. We get a window into the plight of those living there...poor families...impoverished women working in factories, domestic abuse, brutality against women and lenders and scammers...and the hope for better that lives deep inside.

Mary Gibson, author of the Factory Girls series, hits it out of the park with this absolutely engaging story.
Karen Huxtable
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Vicky at Head of Zeus for my invitation to the tour and for my gifted copy of the book via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.

I was attracted to the title of the book as I do not read a huge amount of historical fiction I was intrigued to find out more.

Poor Kate has not had a good start in life, her Mother was killed in a fall and her Father left her with her awful Aunt who cannot wait to send her out to work at the age of fourteen. She gets a job in a factory
Emi Bevacqua
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Plucky Kate "Noss" Goss is an entertaining heroine, with her fiery personality, tragic backstory, and straight-talking guilelessness. I'm not a Romance genre fan, but all the mystery, Victorian era intrigue, class contrast and clashes, and psychological drama in The Bermondsey Bookshop puts it in a separate category. Maybe this is romantic historical fiction. Kate endeared me, as she traffics back and forth between slummy Bermondsey and swanky Belgravia, realizing that "appearances are no ...more
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Though this is a novel, the Bermondsey Bookshop is a real place. It was founded by Ethel Gutman in February, 1921, and closed in 1930. We would call the setting "the slums", inhabited by families and others who lived on the "sharp edge of poverty".

As I read, I wondered when the bookshop, as a character, would appear. When it did, I was curious to see that this story was not necessarily about books. It was more about the people who worked at the bookshop. The Sunday night lectures [free], Monday
Maddy Cordell
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kate Goss is brought up in Bermondsey. When she is very young her mother died in a tragic accident, and her father leaves her with his horrible sister and vile cousins while he disappears on business, but promises to come back. Years later he hasn't come back. Her Aunt removes her from school and sets her to work in the local tin factory - keeping nearly all the money. Kate spends much of her precious spare time daydreaming of when her father would return and take her away.

Meanwhile the
Sherri Lewis
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*** I received an advanced e-copy from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review

This book is set in the early 1920's. London.....Bermondsey to be exact. It is based on the true story of the Bermondsey Bookshop... a place where where anyone from dock workers to factory workers on up can come learn to read, buy books, listen to lectures, and learn all sorts of things. It is here that young Kate Goss gets her start in life. Kate's mother died when she was a young child and then her father
Grace J Reviewerlady
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a totally enjoyable novel; it's been well planned and is just that bit different to others of the genre.

Kate is an 'almost orphan'; after her mother's tragic death her father leaves her with his sister, Sylvie, and Kate's life takes a turn for the worse. Treated no better than a slave, she endures a miserable childhood and once her aunt sends her out to work as soon as she has turned fourteen, things barely improve. But Kate never gives up hope that, one day, her father will return for
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Poor young Kates' mother died tragically from a fall when she was little, her father went away "on business" leaving her in the clutches of her horrible aunt and cousins, who treat her like a slave, torment and bully her. She longs for the day her father comes back to her and daydreams about this and her loving mother telling her fairytales.
Her aunt forces her to leave school and start working in a tin factory, eventually, she throws her out and Kate is left to support herself, taking on
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to preview this ARC of The Bermondsey Bookshop by Mary Gibson.

Set in the earlier 1900's, Kate Noss is practically an orphan, living with her abusive aunt and so down on her luck. Things go from bad to worse after fleeing her abusers and no where to go. But because of her grit and willingness to work hard, she lands odd jobs, including cleaning a local bookshop. Through the bookshop she discovers that her long lost father, may not be far away, or lost.
Louise Wilson
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is based around a real bookshop that was founded by Ethel Gurtman in 1921. Established to provide a place for the working classes to learn to read, buy books learn languages or stage classical plays. Cross was a young woman who struggled with poverty. Her other had died and her father had abandoned her. She works several jobs to try and make ends meet. When she gets a job in the bookshop, her life begins to change.

With a well crafted plot and a great descriptions of the bookshop, what
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This tells the story of a bookshop that opened in the 1920’s that allowed the ordinary people of Bermondsey to buy books paying them off sixpence a time. It was a great meeting place as it opened in the evening so people could pop in after work to read or take part in the other activities they had going on. Kate had a tough life living with her unloving Aunt and her children and after leaving to fend for herself Kate ends up finding a part time job as a cleaner for the bookshop. Little did Kate ...more
Ola Adamska
Feb 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed-2020
The Bermondsey Bookshop is a story of Kate, an orphan that had lost her mother and her father went away. Now she lives a story of Cinderella with her relatives and is treated like a slave. One event and now she ha to fend for herself on her own and in that kind of time that was rather a crucial situation.
Finally, she finds a job at Bermondsey Bookshop and now she can find her own wa and try to ort her own life and past. Some events will change the way everything was going and some hidden pat
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This unusual story reads more like an accounting of daily life than a novel. I appreciated the way that the author delved deeply into difficult topics like class and spousal abuse, weaving them seamlessly into the narrative to highlight lived experiences. The main character, Kate, was charming and wise. She worked her way through challenges into a happy ending that seemed very believable.

That said, I found the pace to be extremely slow. I think that this book could've benefitted from additional
Angela H.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you netgalley for sharing this book with me for an honest review!

Wow! What a beautiful tale of Kate's life story. Her life is in shambles at a very young age. She learns to survive in her hardships and works very hard to simply maintain her minimal basic needs.

Through her job in the bookstore, she finds friends and connections that add happiness in her life. Over time, she is surrounded by close friends (family) and her one true love.

I am not well knowledgeable on history after WWII.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This was my first book by this author, so I had no idea what to expect.

I love Kate of a character. She didn’t let anything or anyone crush her spirit and she did what she needed to survive. Even if that meant working himself to the bone. Her pleasures are simple. The story paint a grim tale of the London East End in the twenties. No roaring twenties in that neighbourhood, but there is a big difference in class. Kate her curiosity made me laugh.

I loved the Bookshop and how it changed Kate’s life,
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This is the first book I have read by this author. I had a hard time getting into it at first. Not sure why because it is very well written. But once I got into the story, I was totally drawn in. I loved the main character Kate. She was treated so bad by her entire family. Yet she was strong and tenacious and never gave up. I loved the idea of the Bermondsey Bookshop, and what Ethel Gutman was trying to do. I found this story intriguing but also very sad. I received a copy of this book from Head ...more
Firstly, love the cover!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I got excited each time I picked it up, looking forward to each chapter, actually each page. I loved Kate such a feisty but kind lovely girl, one that had been through hell as a child after her mum died.
Well written with a really good storyline, kept me gripped all the way through.
Full of heartwarming loveliness but also harsh sadness in the reality of life back then and just who her father really is under the mask.
...and a book shop!
Sharon Brewer
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a story set in the 1920's. Kate Goss has a very hard life. Her mother has died and her father has abandoned her to live with a very mean aunt. She grows up waiting for her father to come and rescue her from all of the hardship she endures. She works several jobs to make ends meet, but when she finds a job at The Bermondsey Bookshop her life begins to change. I really liked this story. I was rooting for Kate throughout the story. Highly recommend!
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I read by this author and won't surely be the last as I really liked it.
It's an engrossing and moving story, quite realistic and well researched.
I loved Kate, the MC, but I think that all the characters are realistic and well thought.
The descriptions of the bookshop were lovely and I liked the well crafted plot.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I fell in love with the title and the cover of this book and knew I needed this story in my hands as soon as possible!

I loved it.... the story, the characters it was just perfect.

From start to finish I was captivated.

This story is perfect for anyone who likes historical fiction, books and seeing someone go through a hard time but still remain positive, with a sassy attitude.
Tammy Buchli
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this historical novel. Decently evocative of time and place, with an exciting plot and a very engaging and likable heroine, it was a real page turner. Recommended. Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC copy for my review.
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