I read this book while away with work at the golf Open in Deal. My godfather died during the week I was away, hence it’s taken me a while to publish the posts I wrote while I was down there.
It’s a while since I’ve read a book that’s made me smile, cry and laugh out loud. Which sounds like a cliché, but although these emotions often go through my head when reading a good book, it’s rare they escape as a snort of laughter, a smile I can feel or tears running down my face.
I’ve been meaning to read this since it came out, but it was such a favourite at the library and with book groups that it was never on the shelf for me to borrow! (I always think the highest accolade a book can have is to be forever borrowed by people, and incredibly worn from all the eager readers who have devoured its pages.)
I won’t spoil the plot for you, but suffice to say I’m also a massive fan of letters as a storytelling device. (Well, I love letters anyway – I wish my generation wrote more of them.) One of my all-time favourite books is 84 Charing Cross Road, and this is in a not dissimilar vein, of strangers finding each other and becoming great, lifelong friends through letters. (edited before posting to add that I send as many letters as I can, but I have already experienced the joy of making friends with people I have never met in person, through the wonder of Twitter. Perhaps that’s the 21st century equivalent?)
The exchange of letters, between various wonderfully-imagined characters who I dearly hope are based on real people, takes us to Guernsey just after the Second World War.
There are heartbreaking moments and moments of total joy – I urge you to go and read this book, if you haven’t already!