Despite so many people raving about this book, and seeing that Netflix had even got on board by making a movie, I kept shuffling it down my pile. Not sure why (weirdly, I think I was partially turned off by the long and clunky title), but I picked it up this spring on a Saturday morning, intending to read a chapter or two…. but was immediately hooked and read the entire thing in one sitting.
It is set in England just after the end of WW2, and focuses on Juliet Ashton, a young writer looking for her next book topic. She receives a letter in the mail from a stranger, Dawsey, on the island of Guernsey who found her name in the cover a book he bought. They begin an unlikely correspondence, with Dawsey explaining life during the war in German-occupied Guernsey, and the literary society that was formed by an eclectic group of charming characters from their small town. As Juliet begins receiving letters from the other members of the society as well, she becomes enchanted with this community, drawn into unlikely friendships, and heads to the island feeling as though she has stumbled upon the topic for her next book.
The entire novel is written in the form of letters, which at first was mildly distracting, but ultimately didn’t stand in the way of this story at all. It was 100% a book that I did not want to end, as I too fell in love with these characters and wanted more.
I ended up closing the book and immediately turning on Netflix to watch the movie (because I just needed more!), and while it was entertaining, it did not measure up to the charm of the book.
Highly recommend this for any lovers of historical fiction; if I could give it more than 5 stars, I would.