The Bermondsey Bookshop by Mary Gibson #BookReview #HeadofZeus #NetGalley #4.5*


02. Hrt 175 centred


‘Happiness had never been something she’d looked for. A quiet day with no insults or wallops, that was the best she could imagine.’

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 going. She has barely enough money to feed herself, or to pay the rent. The factory where she works begins to lay off people and it isn’t long before she has fallen into the hands of the violent local money-lender.

That is until an unexpected opportunity comes her way – a job cleaning a most unusual bookshop, where anyone, from factory workers to dockers, can learn to read and then buy books cheaply.

A new world opens up, but with it come new dangers, too.


Based on the true story of the Bermondsey Bookshop, this is the most inspiring and gripping novel Mary Gibson has yet written.


01. Hrt 125 centred




01. Hrt 125 centred


A Very Engaging Tale!      stars 4.5


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 her . . .

This is a very engaging tale, depicting the hardship and deprivations of the working classes during the period in which the book is set. Whilst most of the ‘educated’ folk looked down upon the poor it’s excellent to come across some who gave them every opportunity to rise out of poverty. This is heartwarming, exciting and heartbreaking, all at the same time! A beautifully written story and one which I flew through, absolutely desperate to find out what happened next! I’ve read several of Mary Gibson’s novels previously, and she consistently publishes work of a very high standard. Completely enjoyable, and a book I’m delighted to recommend. 4.5* and well worth them all!

My thanks to publisher Head of Zeus for my copy via NetGalley; this is my honest, original and unbiased review.


Tags: historical fiction


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Author Bio


Mary GibsonMary Gibson was born and brought up in Bermondsey, south east London. In 2009, after a thirty year career in publishing, she took the opportunity of early retirement to write a book of her own! Her début novel, Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts, was inspired by the lives and times of her grandparents in World War One Bermondsey and was a top ten Kindle best seller and selected for World Book Night 2015. Further Bermondsey novels: Jam and Roses, about three sisters living in Dockhead during the 1920s; Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys, set during World War Two; Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams set during the 1930s, and Hattie’s Home, following three women’s struggles to rebuild their lives in post-war Bermondsey, A Sister’s Struggle, set during the ‘hungry thirties’ are all available in e book, hardback, paperback and audio. Her latest novel, The Bermondsey Bookshop will be published on 6th February 2020.


Social Media

Website: Mary Gibson author

Twitter: @MaryGibsonBooks

Facebook: @MaryGibsonBooks


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