The glorious debut novel by Freya Sampson, The Last Library, has its UK release today with Bonnier
It has been delighting US fans since it was released only days ago, and now The Last Library is finally available to UK readers. With key themes of community and the importance of libraries as a central space within the community, this novel tackles a topical subject close to many book lovers’ hearts: what happens when those spaces are under threat? Freya appeared on Jo Good’s BBC London show in August to discuss the topic in more detail as well as why she was inspired to write about it.
The response from early reviews has been so enthusiastic that it was an impossible task trying to choose only a few to share:
“I’ve spent the last few days asking myself what Matilda would do, and I’m totally in love with Mrs B. A wonderfully warm and uplifting story of kindness, community, love and libraries. The Last Library made me laugh, cry, cheer and want to champion all of our fabulous libraries.” Clare Pooley
“I really loved this from start to finish. The premise is a library threatened with closure and community coming together to campaign to save it, but with a lovely light touch. A brilliant first novel.” Katie Fforde
“The Last Library is sheer joy from the first page – a story of love, loss, self-discovery and courage. Funny, poignant and a celebration of books, libraries, stories and everything that makes us human. Unmissable” Katie Marsh
“Such an uplifting story with a cast of characters I fell head over heels in love with. A heartwarming portrayal of the vital role libraries have in our communities and I adored every page.” Jessica Ryn
“Freya Sampson’s debut has all the markings of a hit: a book-centric premise, a quirky cast, and a librarian protagonist finally forced step out from behind the shelves and open herself up to the world. The premise is giving me big Fredrik Backman vibes, so if you like feel-good found family stories about books and people with a dash of romance, you’re definitely going to want to put The Last Chance Library on hold.” BookRiot
Pick up your copy of The Last Library here. Not only is it a fantastic read, but it will inspire you to pop down to your local library and show your support. Read on for a glimpse of what is in store…
June Jones lives in Chalcot, the sleepy village she’s never left. Her childhood was spent with her head buried in a book alongside her mum, Chalcot’s beloved local librarian and June’s best friend.
When her mother became ill, June put her own life on hold to care for her. Now, years since her mum’s death, June has retreated into herself and her memories; working in the same library, surviving on Chinese takeaways for one and rereading her favourite books alone at home.
When the council announces plans to close the library, June’s whole world is threatened. A ragtag group of eccentric library patrons set up the Friends of Chalcot Library to campaign for it, but June’s employers ban her from joining. Instead, she must find a way to fight for the library in secret. The only person she can confide in is Alex, an old classmate who is back in Chalcot for a few months.
June can’t risk losing her job and the place that holds the dearest memories of her mum, so it’s time for her to finally step out from behind the shelves and take ownership of her life. Because maybe, in fighting to save the library for her community, the community, and Alex, can save June, too.
Sending you a huge congratulations, Freya!