My Review: 5 Stars
I started reading this book because it was on all the lists of books that you have to read before you die. I don’t always agree with these lists and I’ve given up on loads of book on them, and when I realised this book is epistolary, I thought it would go the same way. I didn’t want to just give up out of the gate though, so I told myself I’d give it to 10% at least. I loved it by 7%.
This book tugged on all my emotional strings and I just enjoyed reading it so much. It was like a love letter to literature and it gave me this warm cuddly feeling in my tummy. I loved how the society started and how each person grew to love reading, each with their own opinions and favorites. The characters came alive and I felt like I knew them by their first letters. As Juliet said: “I can imagine their entire live through a glimpse of bookshelves”.
And then came the stories of the occupation during the war, and told through their voices, it just seemed so much more real than all the other times I’ve heard the stories. My throat still tightens when I remember Booker’s story, and I can’t bear to think of what Elizabeth and Remy went through. What’s the worst is the stories about the nice Germans, and it makes you realize that these horrible acts were done by normal human beings, not monsters that just look like people.
I loved also that the Kindle version of the book is interactive, and unfamiliar words and phrases were linked to an appendix at the end of the book that explained more about the history etc. You can tell that the author made a lot of effort with research and getting as much information as possible about everything, and it speaks of how dedicated she was. I think it’s a shame that there’ll be no more from Mary Ann Schaffer 😦
Mary Ann Shaffer said “If nothing else, I hope these characters and their story shed some light on the sufferings and strength of the people of the Channel Islands during the German Occupation. I hope, too, that my book will illuminate my belief that love of art — be it poetry, storytelling, painting, sculpture, or music — enables people to transcend any barrier man has yet devised.” I think it’s safe to say that her hopes have been realized.
The only flaw to this book (and any other good book for that matter) is best summed up by Annie Barrows’ statment: “The only flaw in the feast is that it ends. If I could have anything I wanted, I would choose story without end.”