Review: The Lonely Hearts Book Club

If you’re a reader (and I assume you are if you’ve found your way to this space) you likely enjoy books about books and reading. Add a curmudgeon who has gotten a bit lost but books or reading will put him back on the right path and I am very much sold. That’s a very very general description of Lucy Gilmore’s The Lonely Hearts Book Club, publishing on April 4.

Sloane Parker lives a quiet life as a small-town librarian. She’s not close with her parents and hopes that her fiance’s family will embrace her, even though her prospective mother-in-law is not her biggest fan. She hopes that she will soon get a promotion at the library, but then she runs into Arthur McLachlan, a very irritable senior patron. The other librarians steer clear of Arthur as much as possible but Sloane sees a challenge, one that soon has her life looking very different as she finds herself in a book club at Arthur’s house with a group of lonely misfits.

The characters in this book have so much depth. The book is split into sections which focus on each character and they don’t switch back and forth so you really get to know each character without having to keep straight who is who when (I’m reading a book like that right now and it’s driving me mad.): there’s Sloane, eventually you get to know Arthur, his neighbour Maisey who is adept at reading everyone except those closest to her, Greg who is dealing with the death of his mother and trying to figure out who he is without her, and Mateo who is living in his mother’s shadow, ignoring who he could be to stand outside of her shadow, Gilmore does a great job with each of the characters, giving them (mostly) believable backstories that are tender while still infusing them with enough humour to make it all charming, not depressing.

As with these types of books (I’m thinking mainly of The Reading List, an apt comparison but way more serious and a tough traumatic), the group has books assigned to read and discuss. I appreciated the choices in this book because while the third was a classic in the traditional sense, the first two were books by Asian authors – well-known, modern classics but it still felt like a deliberate choice and I appreciated it.

I really liked this book. I think it could make for great lake/pool/beach side reading this summer and I’d absolutely read more from Lucy Gilmore!

Thanks to SourceBooks via NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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