Still mourning her late husband Harry after two years, Gertie Bingham is uncertain how to move forward with the bookstore they owned and ran together. A staple in their Beechwood community, the love they poured into Bingham Books is still there, but Gertie’s days are lonely, even with her beloved dog Hemingway at her side. Annie Lyons takes us on the journey of Gertie’s second act in her masterful and darling The Air Raid Book Club.

As Hitler’s horrific agenda marches across Germany, people are called on all over the world to take in Jewish children. Gertie, who could never have children of her own, finds herself boarding teenage Hedy, a bright and beautiful young girl who misses her family desperately. Gertie tries again and again to make Hedy feel comfortable, but Gertie herself has no idea what she’s doing, so the pair bump along uncomfortably until other members of the community come to the rescue of their relationship. Once they become closer and see that Beechwood needs a way to feel connected in a time of war, they begin the Air Raid Book Club–a place of solace and stability in the midst of fear and chaos.

The Air Raid Book Club is that perfect slice of historical fiction that never feels to set in the past; instead, its spotlight on humanity, kindness, and generosity remind us that even on the darkest days, we can turn to one another for comfort.