June Jones, 28, is the library assistant at the Chalcot Library in rural England. Built in the 1870s as the village school, the library is a red brick building. It is beloved, but it has seen better days. Shy June is beloved as well. Every morning, she opens the library doors to Stanley Phelps. June helps Stanley log into his email so that he can write his son in the United States. Stanley also does the daily crossword puzzles in pencil, which June dutifully erases from the newspaper so that the library manager Marjorie Spencer won’t lecture him about breaking the rules.
Like the novels she reads, June realizes that every patron in the Chalcot Library is a story. But when Marjorie is informed by the village council that austerity measures are going to force them to close the library, June’s life changes overnight. The library’s patrons take things into their own hands, and they want June on their side, front and center. Will June fight for what she loves?
In her debut novel, The Last Chance Library, TV producer Freya Sampson has created a contemporary and delightful English village. This book’s charms are its deft plotting and the complexity of its seemingly ordinary characters. It’s perfect summer reading!
Contributed by Maureen Millea Smith, a librarian and reader’s advisor at the Edina Library. She is also a Minnesota Book Award–winning novelist.