Review: The Library by Belle Osborne


Title: The Library

Author: Bella Osborne

Published: 2nd September 2021, Aria & Aries

Status: Read September 2021 courtesy Aria & Aries/Netgalley



My Thoughts:


The Library by Bella Osborne is an engaging story about family, friendship, and community.

Set in a small English village, the threatened closure of the local library makes unexpected allies, and friends, of 16 year old high school student Tom, and 72 year old widow and small holder, Maggie. Maggie, restless and lonely, is intrigued by the young man who slinks into the library and tries to hide his romance novel selections. Tom, sad and alone, is impressed by Maggie’s right hook, and her delicious cooking.

Tom is such a forlorn character, and Osborne’s characterisation of a self-conscious, awkward and troubled teenage boy is very good. Since his mother’s death, Tom’s father has spiralled into alcoholism. Money is tight, and Tom’s dad is expecting that his son will leave school and get a factory job, ignoring his son’s hopes of attending University. Essentially friendless, his visits to the library are prompted by a need to escape his father’s moods, and a desire to learn more about girls so he can speak to his crush, Farah.

Maggie is a great character, independent, feisty, and nurturing. Since her husband’s death, Maggie has generally been content to attend to her small holding where she raises goats for their wool, with the weekly book club meeting at the library her only regular social activity. Tom’s vulnerability as he furtively browses the romance shelves, and his brave attempt to thwart her mugging, captures her interest, and when she finds herself in need of help at the farm, she is pleased that Tom offers to give her a hand.

The connection that forms between Maggie and Tom is a delight, and warmth and humour offsets the serious subjects Osborne explores in The Library which include addiction, grief, bullying, and social isolation. The threatened closure of the library is almost incidental to the plot though Osborne uses it to draw attention to the value of libraries within communities.

A moving and ultimately uplifting story The Library is a lovely, satisfying read.


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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  2. Liz Dexter
    Sep 28, 2021 @ 05:39:51

    This sounds lovely – I do like a book set in a library and I loved the last one of hers I read, too.

    Liked by 1 person


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