An epistolary novel about an author who connects with a community in the Channel Islands over their shared love of reading in the aftermath of World War II.
I bought this book to read on the beach in Bali. This review is a little late, but the book is an ideal beach read: sweet, funny, full of quirky characters, and it makes you want to read more. It is a book about the ability that literature of any kind has to bring people together. It left me wanting to talk to people about books and form a literary society of my own (I'll have to settle for this blog).
English writer Juliet is trying to think of a new book to write after her role as a wartime voice has ended. She begins corresponding with a man in Guernsey who has found a used book containing her address. She learns of a literary society that developed under the German occupation of the Channel islands, and is soon merrily exchanging letters with half a dozen inhabitants of the island town. She is drawn to their stories from afar, and soon finds herself on a boat to Guernsey. The love of reading, even though it is a new passion for most, is what ties the group together.
The epistolary style shows off the many unique voices of the characters in the book. They each have their own reasons for participating in the literary society, and they unexpectedly find themselves reveling in the joy of reading during a dark time. Their letters contain humor, rivalry, and sadness, and you can easily see why Juliet falls in love with the group. The authors weave their story through different voices, but it does not feel too fragmented and the storytelling is superb. This is a feel-good read that I can recommend unequivocally.
Annie Barrows' website (includes a bio of the late Mary Ann Shaffer)
$10.99 for the Kindle edition
What book has helped you connect with someone you would not otherwise know?