It all began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. As Helene’s sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the stodgy and proper Frank Doel of 84, Charing Cross Road, a relationship blossoms into a warm and charming long-distance friendship lasting many years.
A book about books, a bookstore, a writer in New York and the lovely city of London. Yes, this one is definitely a book that ticked all of Adrienne the Anglophile’s boxes.
This one had been on my TBR list for a long time. I can’t remember where I heard about it or why I wanted to read it so badly, but I finally checked it out of my local library a couple of weeks ago and read it over the Easter long-weekend.
This book was amazing.
It was very similar to The Potato Peel Pie Guernsey Literary Club, in that it was a collection of letters, but also being oh so English and so lovely all round. The main difference here, of course, is that 84, Charing Cross Road is a non-fiction book and these characters were real people and the events were not fiction. I think this really satisfied my nosy parker self – lately I’ve been craving more stories about “real” people.
I’m going to leave this review as a short and sweet one, just like the book itself. I read this book in one sitting on a comfy Saturday afternoon at home and I strongly recommend that you all do the same!
I would love to find more epistolary novels and non-fiction works of collected letters. Please leave your recommendations below and let me know what you’re reading this week!