for some unfortunate reason, the last three books i picked up to read were not very good. one was torturous and the other two disappointing.
this week my book-fortune turned. right now i am plowing through the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society by mary ann shaffer and annie barrows and making myself slow down so it won’t end too soon.
i was at our local independent bookstore, books & books, when one of the workers came up to me and asked if she could recommend a book that she just read and loved. i said sure and she started apologizing and said she didn’t mean to seem overbearing. i thought this was amusing considering we were in a bookstore and i was just browsing around. she handed me the guernsey… and told me how much she loved this novel and added that the owner of books & books just bought the movie rights to it and emma thompson would be writing the screenplay.
last week i went back to the bookstore and bought it. and i’m loving it. the book is set in 1946 london post ww2. juliet ashton is an author who is trying to figure out what to write about next when she gets a letter from a man who lives on the formerly german occupied island of guernsey. he found her name and address on the inside of a used book and decides to write her to ask for more books by the same author. this starts a correspondence between juliet and this man and his fellow townspeople who belonged to a secret literary society during the occupation that started one evening when someone secretly roasted a pig.
so good! and her character is a bit reminiscent of a jane austen-meets-l.m. montgomery character. who wouldn’t love a girl who obsessively makes notes in the margins of books (even ones that are not her own) and leaves her fiancé because he removed her books from the bookcase and replaced them with trophies.
just to give you a taste. at one point a mysterious american, markham reynolds, keeps sending juliet flowers. her publisher thinks he is trying to steal her to his own firm and has to fire the secretary for giving reynolds juliet’s address. the secretary said she couldn’t withstand his charms and beautiful handmade shoes. juliet’s reply to her publisher upon finding all of this out:
Thank you for tracing Markham V. Reynolds, Junior, to his source. So far, his blandishments are entirely floral, and I remain true to you and the Empire. However, I do have a pang of sympathy for your secretary – I hope he sent her some roses for her trouble – as I’m not certain that my scruples could withstand the sight of handmade shoes. If I ever do meet him, I’ll take care not to look at his feet – or I’ll lash myself to a flagpole first and then peek, like Odysseus.
now go buy it and then fly down to miami and we’ll have a book club chat about it.