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The Mayfair Bookshop

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USA Today bestselling author Eliza Knight brings together a brilliant dual-narrative story about Nancy Mitford—one of 1930s London’s hottest socialites, authors, and a member of the scandalous Mitford Sisters—and a modern American desperate for change, connected through time by a little London bookshop.

1938: She was one of the six sparkling Mitford sisters, known for her stinging quips, stylish dress, and bright green eyes. But Nancy Mitford’s seemingly dazzling life was really one of turmoil: with a perpetually unfaithful and broke husband, two Nazi sympathizer sisters, and her hopes of motherhood dashed forever. With war imminent, Nancy finds respite by taking a job at the Heywood Hill Bookshop in Mayfair, hoping to make ends meet, and discovers a new life.

Present Day: When book curator Lucy St. Clair lands a gig working at Heywood Hill she can’t get on the plane fast enough. Not only can she start the healing process from the loss of her mother, it’s a dream come true to set foot in the legendary store. Doubly exciting: she brings with her a first edition of Nancy’s work, one with a somewhat mysterious inscription from the author. Soon, she discovers her life and Nancy’s are intertwined, and it all comes back to the little London bookshop—a place that changes the lives of two women from different eras in the most surprising ways.

432 pages, Paperback

Published April 12, 2022

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About the author

Eliza Knight

160 books1,582 followers
Eliza Knight is an award winning, USA Today and international bestselling author. Her love of history began as a young girl when she traipsed the halls of Versailles and ran through the fields in Southern France. She can still remember standing before the great golden palace, and imagining what life must have been like. Growing up in the Washington, D.C. area, her weekends were filled with visits to museums, and historical reenactments. Escape into history for courageous heroines, irresistible heroes and daring escapades. Join Eliza (sometimes as E.) on riveting historical journeys that cross landscapes around the world. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and Novelists, Inc., the creator of the popular historical blog, History Undressed, and a co-host on the History, Books and Wine podcast.

While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she tries to keep up with her three not-so-little children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain with her own knight in shining armor, three princesses, two very naughty Newfies, and a turtle named Fish.

Coming June 4, 2024, THE QUEEN'S FAITHFUL COMPANION, a novel of Queen Elizabeth II's beloved corgi, Susan.

For more information about book club visits, downloadable reader guides, upcoming author events, book news, newsletter and more, visit her website: www.elizaknight.com

If you love history and want to dive in for some fun, visit Eliza's popular, award-winning blog:
http://historyundressed.com or her history podcast: https://historybooksandwinepodcast.bu...

To connect on social media, visit/follow Eliza at the following:
Twitter: @elizaknight
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/elizaknightfi...
Instagram: @ElizaKnightFiction

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5 stars
554 (20%)
4 stars
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3 stars
822 (30%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 443 reviews
Profile Image for Eliza Knight.
Author 160 books1,582 followers
October 5, 2021
I am often asked where I get my story ideas from, and mostly it's from some tidbit of real life or an interesting historical fact that percolates until a story forms. I am drawn to larger than life female characters who challenge me to dive into their stories.

I was first introduced to Nancy Mitford's writing in high school by a history teacher who was a fan. And later did some extensive research on the family while in college earning my Family Studies degree.

I wanted to write a story about their dynamic for years, but it always seemed so daunting! And then finally at the start of 2020, I took the leap, and emailed a story to my agent that would become THE MAYFAIR BOOKSHOP. With her support, the support my editor and all the wonderful people at William Morrow and my wonderful friends were a part of this journey, this book is coming to life for all of you on April 12, 2022.

I gave so much of myself to this book. I honestly can say I think it is the best thing I've written to date. It was my pandemic baby, got me through the days of homeschooling, my husband being stuck overseas, and the general melancholy of not being able to leave the house. There is a reason for the tagline: A novel of Nancy Mitford and the Pursuit of Happiness, and that is because I explored that very idea within the pages.

I can't wait for you all to finally read this book. It was an incredible journey, that I will be forever grateful for having taken.

The book is available now on NetGalley for reviewers!
Profile Image for Tina Loves To Read.
2,529 reviews1 follower
Shelved as 'dnf'
June 21, 2022
This is a Historical Fiction that has two timelines (1930s Nancy and Present Day Lucy). I was really looking forward to this book. I have tried to pick up this book on two different times, and the first couple characters pulled me in both times. After, The first couple characters the books just could not keep me pull into the story. I really did not like the present day timeline. I did enjoy Nancy's character. I received an ARC of this book. This review is my own honest opinion about the book like all my reviews are.
Profile Image for Natasha Lester.
Author 16 books2,570 followers
October 16, 2021
Take one fascinating family, add in a legendary bookshop and a few Bright Young Things and you have the bookish equivalent of chocolate cake: a delightful treat. Nancy Mitford had an extraordinary life and Eliza Knight skilfully manages research, legend, fact and fiction to bring us a truly absorbing novel.
Profile Image for Jeannine.
572 reviews38 followers
May 9, 2022
There are two books here. Pages 1-300 meander quite a bit. I almost DNFed several times because there didn’t seem to be any point to the action. What was the plot? A bad marriage? Fascist family members? Aristocrats experiencing lean times? What is the point?

Everything changes around page 300.

In the last 100 pages, we see Nancy take more control of her life, get involved with the war effort, find a bit of happiness in her love life, and get a job at the bookshop. It’s a bit odd that the title is The Mayfair Bookshop when the place plays a very, very small part in the story.

I wish the book started with the war and used Nancy’s covert work as a bigger part of the plot. It could have been a thrilling read.

This is a dual timeline book and the modern story doesn’t need to be here. The connection between the two is weak.
Profile Image for Antoinette.
781 reviews61 followers
April 25, 2022
3.5 Stars.

I decided to read this book for two reasons: 1. I am fascinated by Nancy Mitford and her family. Having read The Pursuit of Love last year, I thought this would be a perfect addition. 2. I love Heywood Hill bookstore- a small, quaint bookstore on Curzon Street in the heart of Mayfair. In fact, we stayed at an apartment directly across from the store when we were in London in December. It was so lovely to look our every morning and gaze upon the bookstore.

This book was an informative look at Nancy Mitford- the trials and tribulations of her family, her husband, her writing and overall her life. She had given up on writing for a while. This book looks at what inspired her back to writing “ The Pursuit of Love.”

In the current day ( dual timeline), we meet Lucy, who is on a quest of her own in regards to Nancy Mitford. Her job, as a personal curator, takes her to Heywood Hill, where Nancy worked for a while during WWII.

It was an interesting read, albeit not a deep read. My next step will be to read a biography of the sisters and of course, more books by Nancy Mitford.

Published: 2022

Profile Image for Joan Happel.
170 reviews69 followers
April 30, 2022
This dual-narrative historical fiction novel. The novel follows Nancy Mitford (of the notorious Mitford sisters) during her years as one of the “bright young things” and follows her through her budding career as a novelist and into WWII. The second story, set in the current time, tells the story of Lucy St. Clair who has come to England to curate rare books for a collector. Their stories merge at the Heywood Hill bookshop in London where Nancy worked during WWII while her marriage was falling apart. Lucy has a second motivation for her work at the bookstore; she possesses a copy of Nancy Mitford’s novel “The Pursuit of Love” with an inscription to Iris. Lucy wants to solve the mystery of who Iris was and what her connection was to Nancy.

The most compelling part of this novel is Nancy’s story. The scandalous lives of the Mitford sisters, Nancy’s evolution from an unfocused debutante to a famous novelist, the many literary heavy weights who frequent to bookshop jump off the page, bringing alive the life and times of Nancy. Lucy’s story however seems like an afterthought. While the mystery is interesting, it doesn’t seem necessary to move the first story along. Still, this is an engrossing novel and one that will appeal to fans of WWII historical fiction, those interested in the Mitford sisters and those looking for a story about fascinating women.

Thank you to William Morrow and Custom House, as well as NetGalley for the e-ARC.
Profile Image for Madeline Martin.
Author 76 books2,265 followers
January 23, 2022
The Mayfair Bookshop is a window into the riveting life of Nancy Mitford, not as an untouchable socialite, but as a woman who has her share of struggles on a very real, very relatable level. Eliza Knight’s beautifully descriptive novel gives us a tale of fortitude in the face heartbreak and war and how Mitford came to be at Heywood Hill Bookshop – an absolute must read!
Profile Image for RoseMary Achey.
1,374 reviews
May 30, 2022
Truly this novel put me to sleep every time I picked it up. It was a slog to get through. I questioned the plot-was there one?
Profile Image for Maine Colonial.
652 reviews173 followers
March 17, 2022
I received a free review copy from the publisher, via Netgalley.

There’s something we have to get out of the way first thing. And that’s the absolutely astonishing similarity between the plot of this novel and last year’s The Bookseller’s Secret: A Novel of Nancy Mitford and WWII, by Michelle Gable. Both are dual narrative novels, with one narrative featuring the real-life 20th-century novelist Nancy Mitford, and the other a contemporary young woman investigating a mystery involving Nancy Mitford’s time working at the famous Heywood Hill bookshop in London’s Mayfair during World War II. I would just love to know how in the world two different authors came up with this notion for a book and, even more so, how they and their publishers reacted when they found out about the other book. But I’ll probably never have my curiosity satisfied on those points, so I decided just to read both books and see who does it better. Spoiler alert: since I one-starred Michelle Gable’s book last year, the odds were with Eliza Knight from the title page. OK, on to the review.

The Nancy Mitford thread of the novel begins in the late 1930s, shortly before Nancy’s marriage to the pompous, lazy and perennially unfaithful Peter Rodd. The Nancy chapters often begin with an excerpt from the real-life Nancy’s letters to friends like Evelyn Waugh. Nancy’s pre-war time with Peter is depressing, since they are always in debt due to his overspending and under-employment, Nancy fails to have the baby she yearns for, and Peter treats her with disdain.

Mitford fans will want to read more about Nancy’s famous family, especially those who were Hitler friends and part of the British Union of Fascists. And yes, there is plenty of that. We also read about Nancy’s aid work during the war, her social life, her early novels, and finding love and happiness. Those who know their Mitford history will recognize it all, but it is well told and the fictional elements don’t strike a false note. I will say, though, that Eliza Knight leaves out the sharp tongue and cruel humor that Nancy was known for at times.

The contemporary thread, featuring young book curator Lucy St. Clair (a name straight out of romance fiction if there ever was one), has Lucy given work space at the Heywood Hill bookshop for a couple of weeks, where she gets on like a house afire with the current staff and meets a charming Scot. Lucy is especially happy to be there because it’s where Nancy Mitford worked for a time during World War II, and Lucy’s mother left her a cache of Mitford’s letters and a book inscribed with a mysterious message. Lucy hopes to find the intended recipient of the message and learn the story behind the inscription.

While this book is definitely far better than Michelle Gable’s book, I can’t say it was better than an OK read. The Lucy story is bland and predictable. Nancy’s story is more interesting, but Knight doesn’t have a lot to add to reality, and so much of what Nancy goes through is just depressing. If you’re a big Mitford fan, this wouldn’t be a waste of time to read, but it mostly made me want to re-read The Pursuit of Love.
Profile Image for Allison Keith.
251 reviews86 followers
June 5, 2022
3 stars, The Mayfair Bookshop
Like most dual timeline stories, I could have done without the present day narrative in this tale. While I was intrigued by a quest to discover the identity of a woman in a book’s inscription, the modern perspective did not serve to move the plot forward overall. The first three quarters of the story were quite slow and devoted to exploring Nancy Mitford’s life in the pre-war era. Nancy is a woman at loose ends. Her marriage is in shambles, her politics have divided her from the fascist members of her family, she has had multiple miscarriages and the complications result in a hysterectomy, and her first four novels have largely been a failure. Family drama, heartache, and dysfunction permeate the pages.
The last hundred pages of the book were gripping, though, as we see Nancy mature from a disenchanted socialite to a passionate, renowned author. Working at the Heywood Hill bookshop gives her a sense of purpose and life during the Blitz encourages the character’s growth. I loved the details of the bookshop and the literati who used the shop as a salon. The story was well-researched and well-written, and this semi-biographical work of fiction offers a humane, sensitive portrait of a bright, talented woman.
Profile Image for Karen.
896 reviews484 followers
June 16, 2022

Nancy Mitford was a name from history I knew mainly for being one of the Mitford sisters (there were 6 daughters and 1 son with Nancy being the eldest sibling). I’ve also followed the Heywood Hill bookshop on Twitter for some time without being really aware of its Mitford history.

The first thing to say is that I absolutely loved this book. Even without the bookshop connection (and I love stories featuring bookshops or books), Nancy’s story told in her first person voice was captivating. Together with the inclusion of (fictional) extracts of her letters sent to such friends as Evelyn Waugh, the story reveals her unhappy marriage, the scandal caused to the family by her two sisters’ support for fascism, the disgust she feels for their closeness to Hitler as well as the general ups and downs of life, friendships, and perhaps most poignantly of all, her feelings of failure both as a writer and personally. The amount of research involved must have been tremendous but it all adds to an authentic story, both in dialogue and narrative. Nancy may have been a ‘Bright Young Thing’ in her youth but much of her adult life seemed consumed by family drama and personal troubles. Despite all this however, I was left with the impression of a resilient and spirited, albeit sometimes selfish but ultimately good hearted woman, doing her best in difficult times especially during the London blitz of WW2.

This is a dual time story covering the period from the early 1930’s to the mid 1940’s with a present day strand featuring an American book curator Lucy and her search for the identity of a particular handwritten dedication by Nancy in one of her books, The Pursuit of Love. Whilst this part of the story didn’t quite capture my imagination as much as the historical aspect, Lucy was an engaging character and I was intrigued to know if she would be successful in her quest. I just thought it unfortunate that she didn’t really feature enough to make much of an impact on me and it was always Nancy and her life that I was keen to get back to.

Eliza Knight’s writing is superb, she clearly has an exceptional talent for storytelling. Fact has been blended with fiction to create an absorbing story around the life of a famous figure which is both fascinating and entertaining. At the end of the book there is a very interesting author note as to which parts/characters were fiction and also giving a brief Mitford family history. After reading this I was interested to find out more about Nancy and her life after this story ends. Nancy Mitford seemed to be a complex character and this story reveals the many layers of what is known of her personality. I’m sure that fans of historical fiction would greatly enjoy The Mayfair Bookshop, I certainly did and would love to read more by Eliza Knight.
Profile Image for Evie Hawtrey.
Author 1 book69 followers
October 7, 2021
I was fortunate enough to get an early copy of this novel and here is what I had to say: "The Mayfair Bookshop takes readers into the legendary Nancy Mitford’s head, and more importantly her heart...Twining two timelines together, Knight reminds us that women and books have the power to shape the world, and we have the power to forge our own destinies—even in times of extreme adversity."

If you don't have this one on your radar or your TBR pile it NEEDS to be there!
Profile Image for Lollita .
212 reviews74 followers
July 23, 2022
First thing thanks for the book as I recieved this from the publisher. It was okay the story wasn't bad and I'll admit I really don't know much about the Mitfords, so thought it would be something new. The story was okay but I found it hard to stay interested very long, the first half was rather dull and Nancy was a bit annoying the book got a little more interesting in the second half but still wasn't anything all that memorable for me. Writing was okay but one of the biggest things that bothered me was really big time jumps that seemed to happen in the same paragraph without any smooth transition or indication just seemed to be months or years later all of a sudden, as this was an uncorrected proof hopefully that was altered? Lastly the added point of view by Lucy didn't seem to be all that necessary just kind of detoured away from the main story in tiny snippets.
Profile Image for Kristy W .
729 reviews
November 29, 2021
I was eager to read this, I love books about books and bookstores, and I love that part of London, however I found this novel a little slow. The story jumps between the 1930s and present day, but while I was interested in the modern-day plot, I had a harder time with Nancy Mitford and her vapid social set. That being said, I did really enjoy the modern-day protagonist, Lucy, and the life she stepped into in the bookshop.
Profile Image for Emma.
207 reviews118 followers
May 13, 2022
So many writers out there who should not be attempting Mitford voices
Profile Image for Margaret Watkins.
2,830 reviews55 followers
April 11, 2022
Two stories run in parallel as book curator Lucy St. Clair tracks down the elusive Lily, a person who appears to have featured strongly in the life of Nancy Mitford. Lucy's research leads her to London, an English country estate, and WWII museums, all in the quest for answers to an inscription found in a book belonging to her mother. A combination of extracts of letters and Nancy's story written in the first person, the novel brings to life the heartache, pain, and drama that epitomized the Mitford family, divided by war and ideology. With names of well-known characters from the era being drawn into the story, one receives a fresh perspective of the reality of life in wartime London. Certainly, I found that I was unable to put the book down once I started reading, and at times I felt as if my heart was being torn out of my chest. I received a copy of this semi-biographical novel as a prize in a charity drive to support the current Ukraine War, and I feel privileged to have been able to read this advance copy from the author, received through NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.
Profile Image for Dianne.
1,599 reviews120 followers
April 14, 2022
3.5 stars rounded up.

This was an interesting and saddening look into the life of Nancy Mitford, yes, THAT Nancy Mitford Nancy Mitford: A Biography. This book is written in a dual-narrative. It is mostly told by Nancy herself; a slightly fictional one I assume, told during the 30's to the 40's, and a side story told during this century, by Lucy St. Clair a visitor to London and working in the same bookshop that Nancy and her writer friends used as a salon.

Reading this book encouraged me to read some more about the fantastical life of Nancy and her family. To have two sisters and a Mother that were Nazi sympathizers, a husband who couldn't keep it in his pants, and a suicide wish...well, what a life. But I digress.

I really did like this book, and I would have loved this book had it not had the second storyline. However, this storyline felt like it was almost thrown in as an afterthought, and I felt that it did not mesh well with the rest of the book.

*ARC provided by HarperCollins, The author, and NetGalley.
Profile Image for Christine M in Texas.
1,030 reviews101 followers
April 18, 2022
Nancy Mitford led a fascinating life. She is one of the most well-known sisters.
1938: Nancy is gorgeous, lively, dazzling and her green eyes make her a stand out. She is sought after by many but she marries and sadly her life is not what she hoped. He turns out to be unfaithful, condescending, broke and always finds himself anywhere else than with Nancy. She longs for a child, and hopes this will help them find their way back to each other. A couple of her sisters are Nazi sympathizers and one is in a relationship with Hitler. When war breaks out Nancy finds work in a local bookshop, Heywood Hill.
Present day:
Lucy St. Clair, a book curator finds work at Heywood Hill which is a dream come true. Lucy brings a book by Nancy with a mysterious inscription. A mystery ensures their lives and the bookshop that changed both ladies. It’s amazing how books can change people’s lives. Dive into this one and be taken away to another time.
Profile Image for Malia Wong.
221 reviews54 followers
September 23, 2023
A buddy read that we both liked well enough. I didn't know anything about the Mitford family before this, so it was definitely an education.
Profile Image for Vicky Sp.
1,258 reviews90 followers
July 12, 2023
Recensione sulla mia pagina Bookstagram https://www.instagram.com/p/Cumae19MG...
⭐⭐⭐⭐, 5
Ho amato la passione e la dedizione che Lucy, la protagonista di questo bellissimo romanzo, mostra per il suo lavoro, che consiste nel prendersi cura delle librerie affidategli, sistemando e posizionando al meglio ogni libro presente in maniera da renderlo più visibile e valorizzarlo.
Quando le viene offerto di lavorare nella più antica e famosa libreria di Londra non sta più nella pelle, non soltanto perché lo ritiene un luogo magico che profuma di libri, ma perché a Heywood Hill ha vissuto la sua scrittrice preferita.

🖋️Eliza Knight è una giornalista e autrice di grande successo nella sua patria.
Ci presenta un romanzo dalla narrazione lenta ma che coinvolge il lettore appassionandolo con le vicende vissute realmente da Nancy Mitford, famosa scrittrice e donna dell’aristocrazia degli anni Trenta.
Una donna umile che ha vissuto una vita non facile, tra alti e bassi e problematiche varie che ne hanno condizionato l’esistenza, senza però influire negativamente sulla sua passione per la scrittura.

Donna di grande intelligenza e dalle idee moderne e ribelli, ha saputo trovare ispirazione per i suoi romanzi nelle maniere più disparate.
Delle sue opere e del piccolo mistero di Iris si è occupata la nostra curatrice di librerie, e grazie all’amore per la sua scrittrice del cuore è riuscita a trovare il coraggio di rincorrere la felicità e realizzare i suoi sogni, proprio come a suo tempo è riuscita a fare Nancy.
Consigliatissimo ❤️

*Ringrazio la CE per la copia cartacea e la collaborazione
Profile Image for Janet.
3,936 reviews35 followers
April 11, 2022
1938: She was one of the six sparkling Mitford sisters, known for her stinging quips, stylish dress, and bright green eyes. But Nancy Mitford’s seemingly dazzling life as part of the Bright Young Things was really one of turmoil: with a perpetually unfaithful and broke husband, Peter Rodd, two Nazi sympathizer sisters, and her hopes of motherhood dashed forever. With war imminent, Nancy finds respite by taking a job at the Heywood Hill Bookshop in Mayfair, hoping to make ends meet, and discovers a new life.
Present Day: When book curator Lucy St. Clair lands a gig working at Heywood Hill she can’t get on the plane fast enough. Not only can she start the healing process from the loss of her mother, it’s a dream come true to set foot in the legendary store. Doubly exciting: she brings with her a first edition of Nancy’s work, one with a somewhat mysterious inscription from the author.
A well written book with two timelines, which I enjoyed , I loved the mix of fact & fiction & the author did a very good job marrying the two. I enjoyed Nancy’s story more than Lucy's but I did become engrossed in Lucy's quest to find Iris & how she delved into Nancy's life. An interesting read which took me a little while to get into but once I got past the first ten percent I was hooked. A different era for the author.
My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
Profile Image for Moonkiszt.
2,160 reviews210 followers
September 15, 2022
Books about books! About writers and how they began! Those are books that keep me reading. . .and this is one. I had only heard of the Mitford family in the broadest terms, in books about WWII. So to find an author or two in the group of siblings was a plus, and the focus of this book centered on a bookshop. . .in England. . .Book vacation!

This was a welcome combination of the historical reads I enjoy, and romance - which I rarely read - they so often can only end one of two ways (right?). The Mayfair Bookshop was time well spent, and resulted in books added to my TBR (to-be-read list) and a much better understanding about who was who in Europe's literati pre- and during WWII. If you are a Mitford fan, or Evelyn Waugh, even, this book will please you! Before this read I didn't even know them and now am an eager-to-continue-investigation fan.

A Sincere Thank You to Eliza Knight, William Morrow and Custom House, and NetGalley for an ARC to read and review. #TheMayfairBookshop #NetGalley
Profile Image for Anna.
1,133 reviews96 followers
June 30, 2023
Told through dual time-lines, tied together by The Mayfair Bookshop.
Famed author Nancy Mitford and her sisters were fodder for a lot of gossip and publicity. They couldn't have been more different, but loved one another despite their differences. Nancy was one of The Bright Young Things in London and appeared to the world to be carefree and vivacious. Yet, underneath it all she struggled with finding love and happiness.
Lucy St. Clair has come to The Mayfair Bookshop to curate books for an upcoming exhibit. She is also searching for a mysterious woman from an inscription written in a book that belonged to her mother. Nancy Mitford was her favorite author, and she was thrilled to find a connection to her.
As both their storylines unfold, each woman must find the courage to make their own happiness and plans for the future,
Knowing little about the Mitford sisters, I always appreciate when I learn something new about historical figures. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction.
Profile Image for Ruth Casie.
Author 50 books690 followers
April 27, 2022
The Mayfair Bookshop is a winning story about two intriguing women, told in two story lines, by a wonderful author and storyteller. Ms. Knight weaves a story of the complicated Nancy Mitford and her family and a young, dedicated book curator, Lucy St. Clair on a quest to resolve a mysterious inscription Ms. Mitford left in a book. The mystery will connect to two across the decades and bring Lucy to her own crossroad. Will she learn from the lessons of the past? I enjoyed the two story lines and experiencing the parallels between Nancy and Lucy. If you like historical fiction, captivating women and excellent writing, I recommend you read, The Mayfair Bookshop.
Profile Image for Mary Prather.
74 reviews77 followers
December 17, 2021
Add this to your TBR for 2022! Thanks to @netgalley and @elizaknightfiction for the advanced copy.

This piece of historical fiction offers a view into the lives of Nancy Mitford and her sisters. Taking place during WWII, we get to know Nancy and many of her friends (the famous Bright Young Things) as their lives move on and change during the war.

At the same time we are following Lucy, living and working now in London at the same bookshop, Haywood Hill, where Nancy spent so much time.

Throughout the book their lives slowly intertwine as Nancy’s life spurs Lucy on to be braver, bolder - and to ultimately reach for her dreams.

I loved the dual timeline, and I also loved learning so much about Nancy Mitford and yet another facet of WWII.

Put this one your TBR for spring 2022!

Four stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Profile Image for Sydney Long.
217 reviews23 followers
January 28, 2022
First of all….let me start off by saying that I loved every page of this book. Dual timelines…especially ones that flip flop between WWII and present day. I also love books that introduce me to real people or places that I didn’t know much about or anything at all. The Mayfair Bookshop is like winning the jackpot because I got all of that and more!

The Mayfair Bookshop tells the tale of the infamous Mitford family. Though there are seven siblings including a couple of Nazi sympathizers, Mayfair focuses on the eldest Nancy and her path to self discovery, love and worth. It chronicles her life in prewar London, the war years and mentions the post war years. It also introduces us to Lucy, a book curator with a love of Nancy Mitford the author and a bit of a mystery. For years, she has had an original Mitford novel in her possession with an inscription to a woman named Iris…who is iris? Equipped with Nancy’s personal letters to family and friends, she heads to London on a job assignment and as she attempts to solve the mystery, she learns a lot of from Nancy and embarks on her own journey.

My only thing with this great book is that I would have liked a bit of an epilogue because I wasn’t ready to close the back cover.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, William Morrow and Custom House and Eliza Knight for early access to this book! What a great read and I highly recommend!!
Profile Image for Shannon.
4,527 reviews225 followers
April 18, 2022
This was a highly entertaining dual timeline novel about the life of Nancy Mitford and her actions before, during and after WWII. Based on real events and people, this book was well researched and full of rich historical details. I loved that the focus of the book is on the letters Nancy wrote to a mysterious woman named 'Iris' and that Lucy, a book curator in the present is trying to uncover the identity of this woman.

Perfect for fans of books like Possession, The sunflower sisters or The bookseller's secret (another book about Nancy Mitford). If you are as fascinated by the Mitford family as I am you won't want to miss this one. The author did such a wonderful job bringing to life Nancy and her sisters, their rocky relationships, her marital woes and infidelities and her struggles with loss and infertility. This was also great on audio narrated by Ann Marie Gideon. Highly recommended for all the historical fiction fans and lovers of books about books and women authors!
Profile Image for Brenda Freeman.
792 reviews9 followers
August 23, 2021
This novel on Nancy Mitford and her time during the war has made me want to know about the character. She partied with the rich and famous in London, helped the war cause, wrote a few books and worked in the bookshop. Her marriage was set to fail from the beginning, yet at times they needed each other just to know they were alive.
Profile Image for Lisa Goodmurphy.
382 reviews7 followers
May 4, 2022
3.5 stars This is the second historical fiction novel that I have read about Nancy Mitford in the past year and it was much better written and, as a result, more enjoyable than the first. It's a dual timeline story that alternates between Nancy's life in London in the 1930's/40/s - her marriage, friends, family, war work, writing and employment at Heywood Hill bookshop - and a modern day library curator from the U.S. working at Heywood Hill for a couple of weeks and trying to find the answers about an inscription Nancy had written in one of her novels. Nancy and her family had fascinating, eventful lives which makes for great fiction but I also enjoyed the author's exploration of the pursuit of happiness and whether Nancy eventually found it in her life. I have been to London several times and not visited Heywood Hill but, after reading The Mayfair Bookshop, I'm determined to visit the bookshop the next time I'm in the city!
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