A woman fleeing an unhealthy marriage opens a bookstore and creates a reading club, attracting four Radcliffe first year students. Through a variety of thought-provoking book selections, these girls search for meaning and understanding of perceptions versus reality, as well as helping them pursue the challenges they encounter during their first year at a university, when women were not seen as equal. I enjoyed this novel because it developed strong women characters who were dealing with real life issues of that era.
—Michelle, Snail Readers Circle
For readers of Martha Hall Kelly and Beatriz Williams, "a story of female freedom and constraints that doesn't shy away from the trauma—and joy—that faced U.S. women"(Kirkus) during a pivotal period in American history.
Literature impacts us all uniquely — but also unites us.
Massachusetts, 1954. Alice Campbell escapes halfway across the country and finds herself in front of a derelict building tucked among the cobblestone streets of Cambridge, and she turns that sad little shop into the charming bookstore of her dreams.
Tess, Caroline, Evie, and Merritt become fast friends in the sanctuary of Alice's monthly reading club at The Cambridge Bookshop, where they escape the pressures of being newly independent college women in a world that seems to want to keep them in the kitchen. But they each embody very different personalities, and when a member of the group finds herself shattered, everything they know about each other—and themselves—will be called into question.
A heart-wrenching, inspiring, extraordinary love letter to books set against the backdrop of one of the most pivotal periods in American history, The Radcliffe Ladies' Reading Club explores how women forge their own paths, regardless of what society expects of them, and illuminates the importance of literature and the vital conversations it sparks.
"A story of female freedom and constraints that doesn’t shy away from the trauma—and joy—that faced U.S. women in the 1950s." — Kirkus
"Readers who enjoy character-driven narratives will appreciate the gradual but notable changes in the friendships and how the women relate to one another. . . . a great choice for book clubs." — Library Journal
"Relevant now . . . A good fit for enthusiasts of historical fiction centering young women, New England settings, and college nostalgia." — Booklist
"A loving, engaging tribute to female friendship and the intimate power of books." — Mary Anna Evans, Benjamin Franklin Award-winning author of The Physicist’s Daughter
"Elegant prose and compelling storytelling….I loved every heartbreaking, empowering, unexpected and uplifting moment of it." — Penny Haw, author of The Invincible Miss Cust
"Endlessly charming…you will never want to leave the Cambridge Bookshop." — Mariah Fredericks, author of The Lindbergh Nanny