Out on 14 March 2024

The Underground Library

Jennifer Ryan

14 March 2024
400 pages


When the Blitz threatens the heart of a London neighbourhood, three young women must use their fighting spirit to keep their community together in this heartwarming novel from the author of The Kitchen Front.

On the day Juliet Lansdown reports to work for the first time at Bethnal Green Library, it isn’t the bustling hub she’s been expecting. But, in the face of German attacks, she’s intent on making it a place where everyone feels safe and welcome.

Katie Upwood is thrilled to be working at the library, too, though she’s only there until she heads off to university in autumn. But, after the death of her sweetheart on the front line and some unexpected family strife, she’s more in need of support herself.

Sofie Baumann, a Jewish refugee without any family to lean on, finds comfort and friendship in
Bethnal Green’s rapidly growing literary scene and escapes to the library every chance she gets.
But, with her asylum in London tied to a domestic work visa issued by an unscrupulous employer, her position is vulnerable.

When bombs damage the library, Juliet can’t bear to give up on her safe haven of books, so she relocates the stacks to an underground station, where the city’s residents shelter nightly. The three women must work together to overcome their own troubles and keep the library - the beating heart of their community - open to all . . .

A delight! Jennifer Ryan cooks up a fresh take on the popularity of World War Two fiction and brings the battle into the heart of the wartime home. A charming blend of intriguing characters and a high-stakes cookery competition, served with the perfect amount of pathos and humour
What a dream of a book! Absolute perfection! Nostalgia, rivalry, friendship and fun – a real treat. Beautifully detailed – you will be right there with a cast of vivid characters, cooking their way to a new life
Delightful . . . it manages to be sad and funny, exciting and heartwarming, all at the same time. Quite an achievement