This book was first reviewed on this site on Monday, October 6th, 2008. Please visit our archives to read Elizabeth’s review.
I am reviewing it again as it was the chosen title for the Abingdon Book Discussion group in March. It has also featured at other branches, and I am sure a lot of non-library groups have been reading it. Why has this book with the unusual title become so popular? It is written as a series of letters, and although this style might be a little awkward for some readers at first, keep reading. Once you get into the flow of the letters, this is a charming, sometimes moving and always entertaining story. It is set against the background of second world war Guernsey, where a group of friends forms a book group to explain to the German occupiers why they are out afer curfew. Once the book group is formed, the friends find the strength & support there that helps them endure wartime conditions. There are some wonderful characters. Juliet is the English writer who contacts the islanders & receives their letters. Dorsey, Amelia, Isola and the other members of the group reveal themselves and their lives to Juliet as they write to her. And there is Elizabeth, the pivotal force whose spirit shines through all the letters. We get to know these characters and others who reflect the hope and tragedy of this period. Try this informative and optimistic book and you won’t be disappointed.
We were all very sad to learn that Mary Ann Shaffer passed away as this book was reaching its conclusion. We wonder what else she might have written had she lived longer. This book is a great memorial to her.
If you are interested in reading the thoughts of someone who was actually a child in Guernsey at the time of the occupation, please go to this BBC website.
WW2 People’s War: An Archive of World War Two Memories – written by the public, gathered by the BBC. A Child’s War: The German Occupation of Guernsey submitted by Peter LePrevost. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/78/a4185678.shtml
Check out these links for reviews of the book, author biographies and book group questions.