Title: The Lonely Hearts Book Club
Author: Lucy Gilmore
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: March 28th 2023
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Finished reading: February 23rd 2023
Pages: 352

“Life stories were written in ink, not pencil. Once they were down, the only thing you could do was turn the page.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


I have a weak spot for stories with a bookish angle as well as stories with one or more older main characters, so it’s no surprise that the blurb of The Lonely Hearts Book Club caught my attention immediately. Arthur McLachlan gave me A Man Called Ove vibes, which is an all time favorite… Add the promise of unlikely friendships and a bunch of misfits thrown together, and I fully expected to have an excellent time with this story. I’m now happy to announce that I might just have found a new all time favorite to add to my list, and this story was everything I hoped it would be and more!

I don’t hand out those full 5 star ratings often (it’s like an A++ for me), but I couldn’t give The Lonely Hearts Book Club any less than the full rating. My first 5 star read of the year that will without a doubt appear on my list of 2023 favorites! Why was this story so successful for me? More than one reason, but a lot of it has to do with the main characters. Arthur McLachlan makes for the perfect old curmudgeon grump, and the A Man Called Ove comparison is definitely accurate. His character growth is one of the reasons this story truly stands out, and his attitude makes for some hilarious banter and interaction in general. His character is complemented with a great mix of other misfits; a truly unlikely bunch to be thrown together into a book club and friendship, but even more powerful because of it. Every single one shows character growth over time, and I loved spending time with them.

The story uses a multiple POV structure, but not in your usual way. Instead, The Lonely Hearts Book Club is divided into ‘parts’ where each main character is in the spotlight before moving on to the next. These changes in the POV made it easy to truly get to know every single one, and since their friendship evolves and they started spending more and more time together, you will still get to see all of them anyway. Having Arthur’s POV later in the story is a brilliant play, because he might not have had the same impact early on in the story… As a whole, I loved the structure of the plot and how everything was wrapped up in the end.

The Lonely Hearts Book Club is a true bookish story with not only part of the plot set in a library, but also two librarian main characters, an old professor, the book club and lots and lots of bookish references and quotes. If you like a bookish angle in your contemporaries, you will be in for a real treat! I particularly loved the book club part, and how the characters with a different background and education all got something different out of the books they read. Such a perfect representation of what books mean to different people! Another bonus: the fact that there is hardly any romance at all. Instead, The Lonely Hearts Book Club focuses on friendship as well as family, grief and self reflection… And I loved the story so much more because of it.

All in all The Lonely Hearts Book Club turned out to be such a wonderful, heartwarming and moving story, and I cannot recommend it enough if you enjoy well written bookish contemporaries with a fantastic cast of characters.

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