by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
*** About the Book ***
Single gal and newly published author Juliet is on tour for her first book shortly after the end of WWII in Britain when she receives an unexpected letter. A man named Dawsey, a stranger to her, lives on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel and has acquired a book that previously belonged to Juliet. He is hoping to find other books by the same author but since there are no functioning bookstores on the island he's written to Juliet for help. So begins a correspondence which will change Juliet's life forever.
As Juliet learns about the experience of the Guernsey islanders during the war she is taken with the idea of writing a book about it. She begins exchanging letters with other islanders and eventually travels to Guernsey to learn more about these strange and unique people she's come to love.
And that's all I can tell you!
*** Why I Read It ***
My book club chose this for our August book and I was happy since it has been on my TBR list for quite some time. Then TLC Book Tours offered blog tour dates for this book the same month and I figured the stars were definitely aligned in my favor!
*** My Thoughts ***
I LOVED this book. Loved, LOVed, LOVED!!! Why, you ask? Let me count the ways ... um, I mean, let me share the reasons.
- The time and place - My grandpa fought in WWII and landed in France on D-Day. My gram lived and worked in Coventry and survived nightly bombing runs. I love reading books that make their experiences more real to me and this book fits the bill.
- The characters - Juliet, the main character, is likable but not perfect. She is aware of her own faults and she can laugh at herself. I feel like I really got to know many of the characters in this book despite the fact that the entire story is told through letters; the way in which each person writes and what they choose to write about tells so much about who they are!
- The educational content - I love books that teach me things I didn't know but that are still entertaining. This book seems light and fun most of the time but there is an undercurrent of sadness and horror due to the German occupation of Guernsey and WWII itself. I learned SO MUCH from this book! I didn't know about the German occupation of the island, the Polish slave labor sent there, the fact that the island remained occupied even after D-Day .... And there are little things as well, things I'd never considered before. Like what did women in concentration camps due when they menstruated (before starvation stopped it)? That tidbit of info horrified me even more because it was something I simply never considered before.
I've already recommended this book to several people. In fact, my Gram is visiting for the month and she already co-opted my copy.* When I get it back it will have a permanent place on my new bookshelf, an honor that I reserve only for my very favorite books.
*** Coming Soon ***
I had the opportunity to speak with Annie Barrows by phone, thanks to TLC Book Tours. I'll be posting details of that interview on 8/27 ... and I'll have 5 copies of the book to giveaway (to US and Canadian addresses only).
Plus I'm working on the recap of my book club's discussion of this book. There were over 10 of us at the meeting and everyone had a slightly different opinion. I'll let you know when I get the recap posted.
*** Other Reviews ***
I know that many of you have read this but here are a few of the reviews I've seen lately. If you'd like to be included please post your link in the comments.
- Ophelia Zepp - was a huge fan
- Muse - absolutely loved it
- Rebecca Reads - enjoyed this but had some complaints as well
- and 5 Minutes for Books is discussing it in their Sept. 1 online book club - all are welcome to join in!
- Savvy Verse and Wit - it was one of her favorites from this year
- A Novel Menagerie - says it has "all the of the heart you could want and story that you need."
- The Reading Life - makes some fascinating comments about the books in this book
* Last summer my Gram read a book that I recommended, and it was the first time I'd seen her read a book in my life. I'm thrilled that she's interested in this book too!