Continuing with The Rights and Responsibilities Challenge:
25) Sign a lease. Sign a contract: Read a romance in which at least a portion of the story is told in the style of an epistolary novel. Or read a romance in which one or both lead characters is a reporter, editor, author or works in the publishing field. Or read a romance in which the two lead protagonists enter into any type of contract with each other, including a marriage contract or some other “understanding”.
For this part of the challenge, I’ve read a book I’ve had for a while that I bought secondhand: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, published in 2008.
Happily, this book was also reviewed by AAR in 2009. (https://allaboutromance.com/book-review/the-guernsey-literary-and-potato-peel-pie-society/) The reviewer gave it an A- and, frankly, I’d do away with the minus and just give it an A! Granted, the romance is very, very low key, as the review points out, but the story is so charming and, at times, harrowing and heartbreaking, that I didn’t care. Just be assured, there is an HEA to be had.
What’s not mentioned in the review — and was wonderful for my purposes — is that the entire story is told through letters, telegrams, and personal notes. And it works, especially since some of the topics discussed are the books being read by the characters.
As the AAR reviewer describes, the plot involves a 30 to 32 year old woman who has lived through WWII in London, writing a humorous news paper column that kept up the spirits of her readers. At the end of the war, the columns were compiled into a successful book and now the writer is looking for a new subject — one not so light and humorous. Just at that time, she receives a letter from Guernsey, apart of the Channel Islands off of France that is actually a part of the U.K. and which was under occupation by the Germans during the war. Through those letters, Juliet, our heroine, learns not only how the islanders coped, but she learns of the horrors that befell them, especially to a young woman who seems very similar to Juliet in spirit. Eventually, Juliet travels to the island and becomes very close to the inhabitants, including a little girl, whose mother was arrested by the Germans, and a local farmer, who initially wrote to her.
This book is a fast read — only 274 pages. On the surface, it’s charming and delightful, but underneath is the sad and harrowing subplot of the German occupation and the repercussions of that experience. I have to admit, I knew nothing of the story of Guernsey and the war, which I believe is real, and I was fascinated by it. I definitely wanted to learn more and will make the effort. I’m grateful to this story for teaching me something new, while entertaining me with these wonderful, touching fictional characters.
The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 10 down, 8 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E …)
Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 2 down, 16 to go