Today I am going to be reviewing The Willoughby Book Club! The Willoughy Book Club is a service that you can subscribe to that will tailor reads to your preferences, and send a selection they think you will love every month.
I first learned about The Willoughby Book Club from my husband, who told me to expect a package in the post. He had purchased it for me because I just completed writing a 16,000-word dissertation and received my Master’s Degree. It was such an amazing gift as I had just done an intensive year of reading, neglecting any sort of reading for pleasure.
From what I understand, he told them what kind of books I liked (he said I liked fantastical, magical type stuff with an element of fairy tale, but that I also loved historical fiction, and classics like Jane Eyre) and included a message, and it was up to them to choose the books! He got me a three-month subscription, which meant that I would receive a hand-chosen book at the beginning of the next three months.
The first package I received included a bookmark, a badge that stated “I ❤ WBC”, a personalized card with my husband’s message of congratulations, and the wrapped book. The book is wrapped in tissue paper and twine, and has a gift tag on it from WBC.
The first book I received was The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. We were both really pleased with this selection as it sounded right up my alley – and it was (though I am halfway through it – I forgot the reason I put it down, but it wasn’t anything bad about the book! I fully intend to pick it up again in the next week or two).
Synopsis: Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake. (Taken from Amazon)
From what I understand, this is the first book in a series and the second has already been published, titled The Masked City.
The second book I received was Lips Touch, a short story collection from Laini Taylor. I had never heard of this author before (though her books were quickly added to my wish list), and I was so pleased with the book! I took it on a train with me and was able to finish the first two stories on my journey from and to home. I have to say that I enjoyed the middle story the most.
Synopsis: In Victorian times, goblins offered sumptuous fruits in exchange for maidens’ souls… and were usually successful. But what does it take to tempt today’s savvy young women? Discover the answer in GOBLIN FRUIT.
In SPICY LITTLE CURSES a demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test the curse placed upon her.
And in HATCHLING, six days before Esme’s fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons? (Taken from Amazon)
I completely fell in love with this book. It also features gorgeous illustrations that give you a little clue as to the nature of the story. I am eagerly looking forward to reading the rest of Laini Taylor’s books!
The third book I received was Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. I had already read this book (part of my senior seminar when I got my BA in English), however, I didn’t own a copy of it, so I decided to keep it. However, if I wished, I could have contacted Willoughby Book Club and let them know that I had the book/had read it already, and they would have sent me a different selection! I was very impressed with this level of customer service even though I didn’t take advantage of it.
Synopsis: Emma Bovary, a young woman, newly married to a provincial doctor, is dazzled when she attends her first ball, attended by high aristocracy. With the culmination of her romantic ideals realised, her head is so filled with fanciful notions that she never re-enters reality, until the damning end:
Before her wedding day, she had thought she was in love; but since she lacked the happiness that should have come from that love, she must have been mistaken, she fancied. And Emma sought to find out exactly what was meant in real life by the words felicity, passion and rapture, which had seemed so fine on the pages of the books.
Frustrated and bored by her marriage, Emma embarks on a brief, rather touching affair with one young man but soon, vulnerable and exposed, she is fitting carrion for Monsieor Rodolphe, a serial womaniser. Soon, Emma has not only ruined her own reputation but destroyed that of her husband in her ruthless bid for wealth and recognition. The cast of characters, from passers-by to the shopkeepers who take her money, act like the chorus in a Greek tragedy. Seen through their eyes and their reactions to her, Emma’s downfall is recounted but also society’s intolerance. (Taken from Amazon)
As the excerpt says, the book is scandalously romantic but heartbreaking.
I was so pleased with my experience with Willoughby Book Club! It introduced me to two authors that I doubt I would have known about, or even picked up their books if I weren’t specifically looking for them.
So, let’s get into the gist of what they offer: They have a number of different packages available which you can see on their website. My husband got me the Bespoke Fiction package, but they have loads! They have children’s, young adult, selections for chefs, a selection for couples (to receive the same book and read together – cute!) – there’s something for everyone! AND, when you subscribe, they will donate a book to Book Aid International.
The service has free postage for UK customers, however there is a postal charge for international customers. The charges can be found on the product pages.
If this sounds ideal for you, definitely check them out!
Do you have an experience with Willoughy Book Club? What did you think? Or do you receive books from another service that you absolutely love?