This sweet and easy-to-read novel is written as a collection of correspondence between Juliet Ashton, a writer from Chelsea, and Dawsey Adams, a simple-living, kind-hearted man from the island of Guernsey. Drawn together by a second-hand book, Juliet and Dawsey begin to correspond regularly and openly, as Dawsey unfolds to Juliet the history of his island and the people on it, particularly their unique position during the Second World War.
The unlikely formation of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – I won't spoil that story for you, it's one of the greater moments of the book – brings the islanders together and soon Juliet is receiving letters from all and sundry, revealing more about their writers than Dawsey could ever do. Eventually Juliet is drawn to the island, but old loyalties and a heartbreaking story force her to make a choice that will change her life forever.
The manuscript was written by former librarian Mary Ann Schaffer at the age of seventy. She died before the book went to print, and her niece Annie Borrows undertook the final editing and publication.
I love this book for the simplicity and goodness of its characters, which give a warm glow to each event. Juliet's interest in the happenings of Guernsey encourages our own, drawing the reader into the story and the lives of the people it follows. I immediately put this book to the high-rotation loans system of my family and friends, and given its wide appeal and feel-good tale, I expect it to take some time to return.