84, Charing Cross Road

84, Charing Cross Road

Book - 1990
Average Rating:
Rate this:
This charming classic love story, first published in 1970, brings together twenty years of correspondence between Helene Hanff, at the time, a freelance writer living in New York City, and a used-book dealer in London at 84, Charing Cross Road. Through the years, though never meeting and separated both geographically and culturally, they share a winsome, sentimental friendship based on their common love for books. Their relationship, captured so acutely in these letters, is one that has touched the hearts of thousands of readers around the world.

" 84, Charing Cross Road will beguile and put you in tune with mankind... It will provide an emollient for the spirit and sheath for the exposed nerve." -- The New York Times

"A unique, throat-lumping, side-splitting treasure." -- San Francisco Examiner
Publisher: New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Penguin Books, 1990.
Edition: De luxe gift edition
ISBN: 9780140143508
Branch Call Number: 818.5409 HANFF H
Characteristics: 97 pages ; 20 cm.


Featured Blogs and Events

A Treasure Hiding in the Stacks

Have you ever had the experience where it seems like the world is conspiring to get you to read a certain book? Well, it recently happened to me. I was minding my own business, shelf-reading in the stacks. (For the uninitiated, shelf-reading is a common task at the library. We go up and down the rows of books meticulously checking the labels on their spines to make sure they are shelved… (more)

From Library Staff

This collection of letters exchanged by a reader and the bookshop who helped keep her in the classics is an instant classic itself - I bought a personal copy the day after I finished it.

LPL_MeredithW Apr 11, 2017

A small, perfect collection of letters exchanged by a book-buyer and bookseller over the course of more than two decades. An instant new favorite!

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 28, 2021

84, Charing Cross Road is a series of real letters from Helen Hanf, an avid reader in the US, to Frank Doel and his coworkers at an antique bookstore in London. She writes to him on a whim one day looking for a specific book, and what follows is a decades long correspondence and bond over the books, letters, and other items that they send across the ocean to each other.

This book is heartwarming and entertaining, but I also found it to be repetitive and a little bit aimless. On one hand, I am in no place to be overly critical of this book that is simply a collection of real letters, but on the other hand, I'm still just not quite sure what the point of the book was. The friendship between Helene and Frank blossomed a little bit throughout the book but not significantly, and not as much as I had anticipated. But, I do still see the appeal of becoming immersed in this correspondence– there's something just comforting in the way that Helene and Frank (and the others) kept in contact for so many years, or in the way that Frank grew so trusting of Helene and could always seem to find the right book for her.
Overall, I feel remarkably neutral about this book. It was pleasant enough to read for a short 100 pages, but by no means was it unforgettable. It left me with the lingering question of why this series of letters alone needed to be it's own book. I'm not sure what the reader is supposed to get out of it, but it could also just be that this book was not for me.

LCPL_Krystyna Mar 22, 2021

This tiny gem of a book is an ode to all book lovers. This book was a pure delight to read. It is a non-fiction epistolary book. It is definitely a sweet and charming read. If you're a book lover, do yourself a favor and pick this up. I also highly recommend the audiobook, as it is full-cast.

LCPL_Vivian Mar 10, 2021

Five bittersweet stars go to this gem of a book. This is probably the most charming book I've ever read. It's told in letters written back and forth between the author from NYC, Helene Hanff, and people over at Marks & Co., Booksellers, an antique book store in London. This book is more than just banter about books. It's about family by choice, friendship, community, and rising people up rather than bringing them down. It doesn't read like a nonfiction story, and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. It's just shy of 100 pages, so it can be read in one sitting. Please go give it a try!

Feb 12, 2021

So good. So good.
I used to write letters every Sunday afternoon, for several years. This reminded me of how close we all became.
I kept a calendar to track who I had neglected, or who I hadn't heard from in a while.
I highly recommend this kind of communication. It's not email, messaging, or a phone call. It's something to treasure, and to revisit.

Dec 26, 2020

OMG! How had I managed to miss out on this little gem over the years? Despite how I've shelved it, I think it might better be described as a love story, a transatlantic twenty-year love affair between a freelance writer and a bookstore. This is a bookstore that has acquired a personality of its own, distilled from the small assemblage of individuals who populate, operate and attend upon its needs — and thereby respond to the literary desires of its patrons. The search for and acquisition of books is entirely unlike any other form of 'shopping'. Those in search of a particular book are engaged in a personal quest; it's far more than a simple financial transaction, like choosing a piece of furniture or a roast for dinner. To those of us who have truly fallen under the spell of Calliope, the search for that particular tome is a lifelong quest, where each successful find only whets the appetite for the next; our muse never sleeps. And the more elusive the quarry may be, the more intriguing it becomes.
So what starts out as a simple request for a couple of relatively obscure and out-of-print volumes soon spins away into a complex relationship that expands to include other individuals who have no direct part in the transactions and even outlives some of the participants.
Altogether wonderful!

AndreaG_KCMO Dec 02, 2020

A quick read for when you need your faith in humanity restored.

Nov 17, 2020


Apr 17, 2020

Cute quick read

Dec 29, 2019


Sep 28, 2019

In 1949, American writer Helene Hanff begins a 20-year long jovial correspondence with the staff of a small antiquarian bookshop in England. This tiny 84-page book consists entire of the full text of each letter shared between the writer and the bookshop. Over the years, this book was turned into a TV play, a stage play, and a 1987 movie staring Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench. Given this level of fame, I was expecting some romance or perhaps some drama? Not so much. But it does capture a bit of British post-war culture in a very unique way. Reading this book made me think about how much of the human element we lost when we found Amazon.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
LCPL_Krystyna Mar 22, 2021

“I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins, I like the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned, and reading passages someone long gone has called my attention to.”

LCPL_Krystyna Mar 22, 2021

“I do love secondhand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest. The day Hazlitt came he opened to "I hate to read new books," and I hollered "Comrade!" to whoever owned it before me.”

Jun 24, 2018

"WHAT KIND OF A PEPYS" DIARY DO YOU CALL THIS? this is not Pepys' diary, this is some busybody editor's miserable collection of EXCERPTS from Pepys' diary may he rot. i could just spit. where is jan. 12, 1668, where his wife chased him out of bed and round the bedroom, with a red-hot poker? where is sir w. pen's son that was giving everybody so much trouble with his Quaker notions? ONE mention does he get in this whole pseudo-book, and me from Philadelphia. I enclose two limp singles, I will make do with this thing till you find me a real Pepys. Then i will rip up this ersatz book, page by page, AND WRAP THINGS IN IT. -Oct. 15, 1951


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at LPL

To Top