"As the mail boat lurched into the harbor, I saw St. Peter Port rising up from the sea on terraces, with a church on the top like a cake decoration, and I realized that my heart was galloping. As much as I tried to persuade myself it was the thrill of the scenery, I knew better. All those people I've come to know and even love a little, waiting to see-me."
We all know that every book does not resonate with every person. But every once in a while, we have the great honor to stumble upon a book that leaps off the pages and announces, "I've been waiting for you! What took you so long?"
That is what "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" said to me. And if you've never heard a book talk, I'm terribly sorry : )
"Guernsey" is a story told through letters, telegrams, and once, a detective journal. The style was a refreshing break from the normal chapter divisions.
To me, this story represents everything wonderful about historical fiction. It introduced me to the story of the German occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII, which I new nothing about. It did so without ever feeling heavy on information. If you've ever read HF that sometimes felt like an encyclopedia entry, I can promise that does not happen in "Guernsey".
I loved the main character, Juliet. She was light-hearted and honest, the perfect person to deliver the bulk of the information in the story. Mary Ann Shaffer, the author, played with the balance of every day events and joys against the difficult stories of the war so well. The story of Elizabeth, a daring woman who makes difficult choices that result in even more difficult consequences, is folded so carefully into the rest of the story that by the time all is revealed about her, you may just have come to love her as I did. The emotions that follow the resolution of her story are inevitable. I won't say what happens, but I will say that I cried (tears of joy or sorrow, I won't say!).
Read this book if: You love historical fiction, particularly set during or directly World War II. You love a whimsical narrator and a story of common people doing uncommon things.
Don't read this book if: You're generally cynical about hopeful stories, ones that, as the author says, "enables people to transcend any barrier man has yet devised".
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