I saw this book on the shelf at my parents house for years but never picked it up. Not even the, “Costco Buyers Pick” sticker on the cover convinced me I should read it. I guess I always figured I would get to it. Well, I just finished the book and I’m so sad I didn’t read it sooner. It was honestly unlike any book I’ve ever read and was completely captivating.
The authors, Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer, wrote this book is in letter format—so, you read it as if you are reading letters going back and forth between the different characters. At first I was worried I would get tired of this way of writing but the exact opposite happened. I got more and more into it. I was so impressed how the authors gave each character such a unique voice—completely through letters.
We get to know the people of Guernsey, an English island between Great Britain and France in such an intimate manner. The story takes place right after World War II where we learn how the towns people were affected by the war. Reading became their only escape for the five years German soldiers occupied their land. Getting together for an unofficial “book club” became their way of getting through hunger, grief and poverty.
The tale centers around Juliet, a successful London author who learns about the group on Guernsey. She is so captivated by each of their stories that she drops everything to meet them with hopes of writing a novel about Guernsey. You will have to read the rest to see how she is received, the influence each of the people have on her, and details about how the war really affected this small island.
I wasn’t expecting to love this book so much but isn’t that the best kind of reading? To be surprised in a good way? This is an easy read that will keep you interested with every page turn.
Like the people of Guernsey, what books have changed your life for the better?