“I dislike giving a book 1 star rating. But I did not enjoy this book.
The story takes place during the aftermath of the Second World War. It involves an English author who is looking for a subject for her next book, when she stumbles upon the tale of a literary society that is formed in Guernsey under the German occupation.
Most of the story is told through a series of correspondence between the author and various characters. Besides the fact that many of the letters (from different characters) sounds like they are written by the same person, there are several rapid-fire exchanges of correspondence that occurred in so short a period of time – they seemed more like e-mail exchanges than like letters or notes sent through the Royal Mail. But I quibble over minor details.
The main issue I have with this book is that IT IS RIDICULOUS. I never knew about the German occupation of Guernsey – and this is what kept me reading the novel. Sadly, this interesting period in history is saddled with much that is predictable or contrived, including:
- The amorous attentions of a wealthy, selfish young American juxtaposed with the attentions received from a shy, reserved but strong Guernsey pig-farmer.
- The many eccentric members of the Guernsey Literary Society with whom the main character exchanges letters.
- The integration of the author into Guernsey life and literary society, when she finally visits the island.
- An adorable orphan who is “raised” by the islanders and whom the main character eventually wants to adopt. Apparently the people who raised the child from birth don't have a problem with that.
- The discovery of a secret trove of letters written by OFO’FWW (that’s Oscar Wilde, to you and me).
- The scheming of a reporter to steal and scoop the heroine on said trove of letters and the unraveling of that scheme by a parrot.
- The inexplicable switching of the narrative voice over to a series of “case notes” written by a Ms Marple wannabee.
- All of this takes place between January - September of 1946.
Perhaps the one good point I can offer is that this book is relatively short. Just four hours of my life wasted.
That’s all I have to say about that.”
soloist66 wrote this review Tuesday, September 18, 2012.