The bookshop – Penelope Fitzgerald


In a small East Anglian town, Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop. Hardborough becomes a battleground. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. Her fate will strike a chord with anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice.

My opinion

This book has been recently published in Dutch, with a beautiful new cover. Even though I like the English cover, the Dutch cover fits the story even more and is very inviting.

What’s also very beautiful is the inside. Maybe even better. Penelope Fitzgerald has a wayward style of writing, which you either love or hate. ‘The gate of angels‘ was a very impressive story, but ‘The bookshop’ is so much better.

Florence is a lady with her own strong will and she decides to open a bookshop in the small town she lives in. The town really has its own opinion about that, which adds tension and conflicts to the story. Because of that, the story almost reads like a soapopera! The main characters are truly fabulous, they’re almost cartoonesque and maybe even more stubborn than Florence herself.

Just because the book was originally published in 1978 doesn’t make it a dated story. At some moments the story is almost ironic and funny. ‘The bookstore’ by Penelope Fitzgerald has become a favorite of mine and for me, she can be part of the true English literature classics.


Penelope Fitzgerald’s ‘The bookstore’ almost feels like a soapopera at times, the main characters are cartoonesque and in between that Florence has to run her bookstore. For me, Fitzgerald easily fits in between Austen and Bronte.


The bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
Published by HarperCollins Publishers
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9780006543541

You can buy the book at Book Depository, here.

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