Monday, January 22, 2024

Book Review: The Lonely Hearts Book Club

By Melissa Amster

Sloane Parker lives a small, contained life as a librarian in her small, contained town. She never thinks of herself as lonely…but still she looks forward to that time every day when old curmudgeon Arthur McLachlan comes to browse the shelves and cheerfully insult her. Their sparring is such a highlight of Sloane's day that when Arthur doesn't show up one morning, she's instantly concerned. And then another day passes, and another.

Anxious, Sloane tracks the old man down only to discover him all but bedridden...and desperately struggling to hide how happy he is to see her. Wanting to bring more cheer into Arthur's gloomy life, Sloane creates an impromptu book club. Slowly, the lonely misfits of their sleepy town begin to find each other, and in their book club, find the joy of unlikely friendship. Because as it turns out, everyone has a special book in their heart—and a reason to get lost (and eventually found) within the pages.

Books have a way of bringing even the loneliest of souls together... (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

A close friend of mine recommended The Lonely Hearts Book Club a lot last year, so I added it to my wishlist. Then I won a wishlist giveaway and the person running the giveaway sent me this book. I'm so glad because I really enjoyed reading it. It's uplifting, heartwarming, and delightful from start to finish.  I loved how books brought these characters together and how it was easy to follow the discussions, even if I hadn't read those books. (The closest I came was seeing the movie of one of them and that was a long time ago.)

I really liked all five narrators and seeing everyone else through their perspectives. Maisey felt especially relatable to me. Even though her relationship with her daughter is different than mine is with my kids, I could relate to the feeling of having a child leave the nest, which is something I'm going to have to face later this year. 

There was a nice balance of humor and sentiment, with genuine dialogue throughout. It kept me engaged and turning the pages quickly. My only concern is that some stuff felt vague to me. I had to read paragraphs more than once to understand what was going on at times. 

I didn't know what to expect from this novel, but I was totally pleased. I already want to read Lucy's next novel, which is also about books!

Movie casting suggestions:
Sloane: Mary Mouser

More by Lucy Gilmore:

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