Summary and book reviews of The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson

The Last Chance Library

by Freya Sampson

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson X
The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson
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  • Published:
    Aug 2021, 336 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

June Jones emerges from her shell to fight for her beloved local library, and through the efforts and support of an eclectic group of library patrons, she discovers life-changing friendships along the way.

Lonely librarian June Jones has never left the sleepy English village where she grew up. Shy and reclusive, the thirty-year-old would rather spend her time buried in books than venture out into the world. But when her library is threatened with closure, June is forced to emerge from behind the shelves to save the heart of her community and the place that holds the dearest memories of her mother.

Joining a band of eccentric yet dedicated locals in a campaign to keep the library, June opens herself up to other people for the first time since her mother died. It just so happens that her old school friend Alex Chen is back in town and willing to lend a helping hand. The kindhearted lawyer's feelings for her are obvious to everyone but June, who won't believe that anyone could ever care for her in that way.

To save the place and the books that mean so much to her, June must finally make some changes to her life. For once, she's determined not to go down without a fight. And maybe, in fighting for her cherished library, June can save herself, too.

CHAPTER ONE
You can tell a lot about a person from the library books they borrow.

June liked to play a game when things were quiet at work. She'd pick a patron and make up their life story based on the books they read. Today she'd chosen a middle-aged lady who took out two Danielle Steel novels and The Rough Guide to Iceland. After some consideration, June decided that the woman was trapped in a loveless marriage, perhaps with a boorish, aggressive husband. She was planning to run away to Reykjav'k, where she'd fall in love with a rugged, bearded local. But just as she thought she'd found true happiness, her husband would track her down and announce-

"Well, that was a pile of shit."

June was snapped out of her daydream by Mrs. Bransworth, who was standing in front of the desk waving a book in her face. It was Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day.

"What a pointless load of rubbish. Masters and servants? Capitalist propaganda more like. I could write better than this."

Mrs. B came into the ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. At the start of the novel June prefers to be alone with her books rather than to interact with her neighbors. How do her feelings towards solitude evolve by the end of the novel?
  2. The library is the center of the community in the small village of Chalcot. What is the center of your community?
  3. Many of June's childhood memories center around specific books such as Matilda. Did you read any books as a child that shaped who you are today? Have you revisited them since?
  4. June's grief for her mother causes her to push friends away. What events and people in the book help her navigate the grief? How?
  5. June has certain books she reads and rereads to comfort herself in times of stress. Do you have books (or movies or TV shows) that you return to...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

This novel is a joy! June Jones is an unlikely but endearing heroine surrounded by a cast of charming, quirky characters. You'll root for them all, all the way through (Madeline M). This book about a library closure in a small town in the UK has some very delightful characters that are so developed that you can almost see them (Carolyn S). A quick one-day read that has left me smiling and just feeling so completely satisfied (Barbara C). I really enjoyed The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson, and I read it in one day (Elizabeth D)...continued

Full Review Members Only (559 words).

(Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
While the simple prose is an initial roadblock, Sampson convincingly brings her characters to life, as well as the importance of their collective crusade to save the library. Readers will be touched by June's transformation.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A delightful exploration of personal growth, inner strength, and the importance of family, friends, and love.

Library Journal (starred review)
Fans of libraries and heartfelt, humorous women's fiction with a powerful message and a hint of romance won't want to miss this one! It's so good that readers may very well devour it in one sitting.

Author Blurb New York Times bestselling author Clare Pooley
A wonderfully warm and uplifting story of kindness, community, and love that made me laugh, cry, cheer.

Author Blurb USA Today bestselling author Colleen Oakley
The Last Chance Library is a heart-squeezing and charming story about grief, love and the power of community. An absolute delight." -

Author Blurb New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer
The Last Chance Library is absolutely irresistible! Curl up and indulge in Freya Sampson's charming novel about a shy librarian in a small town with a great cause. You'll have such a good time and you'll love the unexpected twist at the end!

Author Blurb Libby Hubscher, author of Meet Me in Paradise
Both spellbinding and tender, The Last Chance Library is a gorgeous love letter to books, a celebration of the characters that make a community, and an inspiring call to muster our courage and fight for the things that matter. Simply put, this book is sublime.

Reader Reviews

Elizabeth @Silver's Reviews

Elizabeth@Silver'sReviews - LOVED IT...A Tribute to Libraries
The beloved library can't be shut down. What will the people of Chalcot Library do without this meeting place and the books? June worked as a library assistant and was a very shy, sheltered person. Learning that the city was going to shut ...   Read More
Julie B. (La Crescenta, CA)

Oh, do read this book!
Wonderful! Delightful! Often funny, characters you come to love. Especially for those who enjoy books about books! Oh, do read this book! "So, in answer to your question, June, no. I'm never scared when I'm fighting for something I know is ...   Read More
Catherine H. (NYC Librarian)

An Uplifting Tale of Resilience
Library assistant June Jones has always been painfully shy, and has become more withdrawn after the death of her mother, librarian Beverley Jones, eight years ago. Since that time, June has retreated into her world of books, venturing only as far as ...   Read More
Barbara C. (Hamburg, NY)

A Heartwarming Novel for Book Lovers
A quick one day read that has left me smiling and just feeling so completely satisfied. If you love books and especially libraries, the story of June and a group of eccentric friends of the library will warm your heart. Freya Sampson does a marvelous...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda by Roald Dahl In The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson, main character June is attached to certain favorite childhood books, including the young adult novel Matilda by acclaimed and bestselling author Roald Dahl, also known for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG. Matilda won the Children's Book Award shortly after its publication in 1988 and is today considered a classic of children's literature. Time magazine has listed it as one of the 100 top YA books of all time.

The novel follows Matilda Wormwood, a girl of extraordinary abilities whose dishonest and selfish parents fail to appreciate her. Like June, Matilda has a great love for books, but the rest of her family prefers television and cannot relate to her. Matilda also ...

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