Last year my husband and I took a cruise that called at several European ports–in Spain, France, and on the island of Guernsey, which is one of the “Channel Islands” between England and France. My husband and I disembarked and spent the day exploring the island, and we learned that Guernsey had been the only bit of British soil actually occupied by the Nazis during World War II. There’s an occupation museum on the island, and as we walked through it, I was horrified to hear of the abuses and shortages the islanders endured. Heartbreaking.
In any case, I thought then that Guernsey would be a wonderful setting for a novel–to tell the story of the occupation. But how to do it?
I am delighted to say that Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece, Annie Barrows, have written the book, and in a way far more delightful than anything I could think of. It’s an epistolary novel, told in letters and telegrams, and once you get into it, you will be charmed and delighted. I laughed, I cried, I loved this book. It’s brilliant.
If you’re on Facebook, I put up a photo album with my pictures from Guernsey. They mean a lot more to me now that I’ve read this book.
Sadly, I’ve just learned that Mary Ann Shaffer died in February 2008, just before her book was published. But it’s a wonderful novel, and I highly recommend it.