The Mayfair Bookshop: A Novel of Nancy Mitford and the Pursuit of Happiness (Paperback)
One of Hasty Booklist's Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels!
USA Today bestselling author Eliza Knight brings together a brilliant dual-narrative story about Nancy Mitford—one of 1930s London’s hottest socialites, authors, and a member of the scandalous Mitford Sisters—and a modern American desperate for change, connected through time by a little London bookshop.
“An absolute must-read!”—Madeline Martin, New York Times bestselling author The Last Bookshop in London
1938: She was one of the six sparkling Mitford sisters, known for her stinging quips, stylish dress, and bright green eyes. But Nancy Mitford’s seemingly dazzling life was really one of turmoil: with a perpetually unfaithful and broke husband, two Nazi sympathizer sisters, and her hopes of motherhood dashed forever. With war imminent, Nancy finds respite by taking a job at the Heywood Hill Bookshop in Mayfair, hoping to make ends meet, and discovers a new life.
Present Day: When book curator Lucy St. Clair lands a gig working at Heywood Hill she can’t get on the plane fast enough. Not only can she start the healing process from the loss of her mother, it’s a dream come true to set foot in the legendary store. Doubly exciting: she brings with her a first edition of Nancy’s work, one with a somewhat mysterious inscription from the author. Soon, she discovers her life and Nancy’s are intertwined, and it all comes back to the little London bookshop—a place that changes the lives of two women from different eras in the most surprising ways.
About the Author
Eliza Knight is an award-winning and USA Today and international bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her love of history began as a young girl when she traipsed the halls of Versailles. As an avid history buff, she’s written dozens of novels including The Mayfair Bookshop, Starring Adele Astaire, Ribbons of Scarlet, A Day of Fire, and Can’t We Be Friends, which have been translated into multiple languages. She is the creator of the popular historical blog, History Undressed, and host of the History, Books and Wine podcast. Knight lives in Maryland and Florida with her husband, three daughters, two dogs, and a turtle.
"The Mayfair Bookshop is a moving, touching tale of a Bright Young Thing turned bookseller/author and her quest to find fulfillment, inspiration, and love in the chaos of the WWII home front. Eliza Knight brings Nancy Mitford to life as an appealing and uncertain young heroine in the days before she is burnished by fame and success—you cannot help but cheer her toward her destiny!"
— Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code
“Take one fascinating family, add in a legendary bookshop and a few Bright Young Things and you have the bookish equivalent of chocolate cake: a delightful treat. Nancy Mitford had an extraordinary life and Eliza Knight skillfully manages research, legend, fact and fiction to bring us a truly absorbing novel.” — Natasha Lester, New York Times bestselling author
“A fascinating view of a pivotal moment in history told from the perspective of an extraordinary woman at the heart of it all. Filled with intrigue, heartbreak, passion, and daring, Eliza Knight beautifully celebrates the life and influence of Nancy Mitford. Vivid and unforgettable!" — Chanel Cleeton, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba
"A romantic and moving love letter to bibliophiles everywhere, The Mayfair Bookshop offers a testament to the magic and power of books and bookstores to shine light on our darkest hours. Beautifully written and featuring a colorful cast of characters and delightful cameos, this historical novel is not to be missed." — Laura Kamoie, New York Times bestselling author of My Dear Hamilton and America's First Daughter
"Eliza Knight’s wonderfully descriptive novel is a window into the riveting life of Nancy Mitford, not as an untouchable socialite, but as a woman who has her share of struggles on a very real, very relatable level—an absolute must read!" — Madeline Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Bookshop in London
"The force of nature that was Nancy Mitford dazzles in The Mayfair Bookshop, first as one of society's 'bright young things' between the World Wars and then as a wildly successful writer. Both Nancy's razor-sharp wit and hidden heartaches make for riveting reading!" — Stephanie Marie Thornton, USA Today bestselling author of A Most Clever Girl
"Knight brings vividly to life the war years, the troubling associations of Nancy Mitford's aristocratic family, and the ripple effect of their misdeeds throughout England and beyond. A rich portrait of a fascinating woman, The Mayfair Bookshop hits all the right notes: intrigue, great heart, and hope. Not to be missed!" — Heather Webb, USA Today bestselling author of The Next Ship Home
“The Mayfair Bookshop gives us not one, but two engaging heroines to truly root for. Knight has created a captivating look at life’s pursuit of love, literature, and dreams both realized and dashed set against a devastating war that divides sisters along the lines of political ideologies. Told with the wit and spunk of Nancy Mitford herself, Eliza Knight’s immense talent shines on every page." — Renée Rosen, USA Today bestselling author of The Social Graces
"Eliza Knight’s sympathetic and utterly believable portrayal of Nancy Mitford is the icing on this fabulous cake of a novel where present-day romance, a literary mystery, and the lives of England’s most controversial sisters keep the pages turning in this delightful and perfectly constructed story." — Janie Chang, international bestselling author of The Library of Legends
"Eliza Knight’s The Mayfair Bookshop takes readers into the legendary Nancy Mitford’s head, and more importantly her heart...Twining two timelines together, Knight reminds us that women and books have the power to shape the world, and we have the power to forge our own destinies—even in times of extreme adversity." — Sophie Perinot, award-winning author of Medici's Daughter
"Channeling Nancy’s verve and quick wit, Eliza Knight’s The Mayfair Bookshop showcases the complex reality behind the glittering Mitford myth, exposing the dark divisions in the breezy pre-war world of the Bright Young Things. Taking readers from country houses to the London Blitz, The Mayfair Bookshop is an homage to Nancy’s timeless truth: that the pursuit of love, in all its forms, is worth fighting for." — Bryn Turnbull, author of The Woman Before Wallis
"Eliza Knight’s The Mayfair Bookshop delivers a deeply human portrayal of the fascinating Nancy Mitford, bringing to vivid life the story of a woman pulled between the expectations of family, society, and the desires of her own heart. Woven with an intriguing modern timeline, this story brims with complicated relationships, infamous characters, heartbreak and, ultimately, triumph. Moving and compelling, this is a must read!" — Kristin Beck, author of Courage, My Love
"A wonderful depiction of the legendary Nancy Mitford and her sisters in their element – both united as Bright Young Things and torn apart by love and war. Along with its added touch of mystery, The Mayfair Bookshop will keep you curled up and turning the pages." — Kaia Alderson, author of Sisters in Arms
"Witty, brilliant, and deep, Nancy Mitford comes fully, poignantly to life in this meticulously researched literary mystery. If you ever wondered what it was really like to be a Bright Young Thing in London between the wars, this book is for you." — Kerri Maher, author of The Paris Bookseller