Review: The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street

duchess-of-bloomsbury-streetBook: The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street (1973)
Author: Helene Hanff
Genre: Adult, Memoir
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Basic Plot: This is the sequel (of sorts) to 84, Charing Cross Road. In this memoir, Helene Hanff finally makes it to London. And it’s here that she becomes the “Duchess of Bloomsbury Street”.


1) I loved touring London through the eyes of Helene Hanff. The book is in the form of a diary she wrote during her stay (from June to July 1971). She records all her first impressions, and I felt like I was on the tour with her.

2) I enjoyed meeting a whole new cast of characters in this book… all the different people who took Helene around London and over to Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon. This includes Frank’s wife Nora, P.B. (of the succinct notes), Leo and Ena Marks, and so many others.

3) My favourite quote in the book: “I despair of ever getting it through anybody’s head I am not interested in bookshops, I am interested in what’s written in the books. I don’t browse in bookshops, I browse in libraries, where you can take a book home and read it, and if you like it you go to a bookshop and buy it.” (Entry for Friday, July 2) 

My thoughts exactly!

4) I loved the part when she gets the cheque from Reader’s Digest, meaning she can stay a little longer. I think I was celebrating as she much as she did in the book!

5) As she neared the end of her stay (and the end of the book), she exactly captured that feeling of “I only have so much time left”. And the “I don’t want to go home!” feeling. I felt the same way reading this book. I didn’t want it to end. 😦


1) Nothing to add here!


My rating is 4.5 Stars (out of 5) – This book was really a wonderful read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was so close to giving it 5 stars, but when I compare it to 84, Charing Cross Road, it doesn’t quite have the magic. But it’s close. (If you haven’t read my review for that book, check it out here.)


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Review: The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street

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