The Last Chance Library

“Libraries are like a net, there to catch those of us in danger of falling through the cracks.” ― Freya Sampson, The Last Chance Library.

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson casts a warm glow on the cozy little world of June Jones, a shy librarian in a quaint English village. The library is June’s safety net until it’s not. The threat of losing her beloved library to budget cuts forces June out from the stacks to stand up for her community’s beating heart. This book wraps you up in its comforting embrace like a well-worn cardigan.

With a quirky cast of oddball patrons that feel lifted from a village party, including a romantic interest who never quite steps off the well-trodden path of misfit love stories, The Last Chance Library is comfort food in literary form. But here’s the rub—I recently read a book with a similar plot, and the sense of déjà vu was tough to shake.

For readers looking for depth and complexity, June’s journey might not hit the mark. She’s a character that may strike you as overly timid, and the plot doesn’t stray far from familiar grooves. Yet, there’s a charm to its simplicity, and it’s the kind of book you can pick up on a noisy plane and still manage to fall into without missing a beat.

It’s sweet and uncomplicated, so if that’s the literary escape you’re after, you’ll find solace here. For me, it’s a gentle read that didn’t quite stir my soul. I landed on three stars for The Last Chance Library—it’s not one for the history books, but it might be just the ticket for a breezy afternoon.

Here’s the rub — it felt like déjà vu. I’d wandered down this plotline recently with another book, and let’s be honest, once you’ve seen one small-town library under siege, you’ve seen ’em all. If you’re cool with the bookish equivalent of a Sunday afternoon TV movie, then The Last Chance Library might just be your cup of tea. June didn’t do much for me, either; she’s got the depth of a paddling pool in a drought. The narrative stuck to the safety of the shallow end, too, with twists you could spot a mile off.

So, what’s the verdict? It’s got a three-star sticker from me. It’s the sort of read that’s perfect when you want to switch off and not think too hard — maybe something to keep you company on a lazy beach day. Just don’t expect to be swept off your feet. If you were hoping for a plot that’d make you sit up in your beach chair, you might want to browse a little longer on the shelves.

The Last Chance Library is a cute, lighthearted book, oozing with loveable characters, and a predictable storyline. While the protagonist, June, was too simpering for my taste, she kind of grew on me, and although the story arc is a trifle cliché, I’m giving it 3 stars for a simple, light read. (You won’t get lost in the plot even if an infant on your flight is wailing.) Overall, not to my taste, but an okay read. Three stars, because it’s nice, it’s easy, and it didn’t take forever to read.

** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book. The opinions expressed are my own.



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