The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

My literary reader powerhouse young cousin took me to a bookstore and handed this book to me, aghast that I hadn’t read it before. The next Saturday, I read the whole thing cover to cover. It’s that kind of book - the kind that flows one section to the next; it feels smooth and seamless and you care. The epistolary format often evokes this sort of commitment in me; when it’s done right the style makes space for the characters to feel real as real can be, and ending one “letter” makes you anxious to start the next. Though one section where we switch from reading letters to reading a journal feels a little clunky, the writers of this novel do some really interesting work in voice and structure, keeping things entertaining and poignant in respect to the historical context. My cuz was right to tell me to read this, and being with these characters - in the despair that comes with trauma and the sweetness we can sometimes find in the aftermath - was an enchanting way to spend a weekend.