I really tried to broaden my choice of books in 2018, and having read Private Peaceful, which truly grasped my interest, I went on the hunt for another book set in the war. This time with more of a focus on a love story, as I was feeling desperately in need of a good, old fashioned romance.
Onto the review!
“That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive – all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.”
Set in 1946, London, post WW2, Juliet Ashton an author and journalist, is trying to find her next story to tell and share with the world.She finds herself exchanging letters with members of a literary society in Guernsey, and uncovering what their life was like during the war. Juliet becomes truly enamored with these individuals, their stories and decides to go to Guernsey to meet them and write about them.
I see how a lot of people have issues with the epistolary style of writing, it can be jagged and difficult to keep up with which characters are who. However, I think that Shaffer and Barrows did a fantastic job of making each voice distinct, the writing style of each letter was so different from the other, it felt like being inside the characters’ minds. Their descriptions were really detailed and easy to visualise too, which made the reading easy and enjoyable. It is really accessible, really funny and just a total pleasure to read.
Juliet is quite a likable character, head strong for a female, truly believes she should be allowed to write about serious topics, and just because she is a woman this should not stop her! A true feminist! I also really appreciate the way she does not marry the rich American guy, she is not about that life at all (look at me and my colloquialisms!) Juliet is not easily taken with flashy bling, cheap tuxedos and fancy dinners, she wants a connection, and that is exactly what the has with Dawsey.
On a side note, I did watch the film as well, and let me just tell you, Amelia is a kinder much more understanding and inviting character in the book. It actually really frustrated me that her portrayal was so aggressive and shut off in the film. For this reason, I really advise you to read the book rather than watch the film. The characters are so much more compelling in the novel.
The love story itself is beautiful, two very unlikely partners find their way to each other, through the common decent human values. They are both such good people and they nearly miss each other, but they get together and it is such a satisfying ending! I don’t want to say anymore, at the risk of ruining it for you, but you really need to read it.
I bought this in Sainsburys, out of all the places! I am sure you can find it on Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles too!