>I don’t normally use this sacred little space of mine for reviews, but I have read two of the most touching, bewitching books this week and I simply have to share. As a raging bibliophile there is no greater joy in life than finding a marvelous book and then sharing it, and these two are damn near perfect in my estimation. So, if you’re looking for someplace to lose yourself for a while, these two provide welcome new homes for your soul.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – This book is nowhere near as frivolous as the title might suggest; it’s actually – and honestly – the best book I’ve read in years. It’s set in the UK just following WWII and is lighthearted, witty, serious and spellbinding. I was utterly enchanted.
From the website for the book itself:
January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. Born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.
Moloka’i -When a friend plopped this book down beside me and said it was about a girl in a leper colony, I was not at all intrigued. But today found me sobbing as I stepped off my midday school bus route, rendered completely soft by the end of the novel. I haven’t yet recovered – and I’m not certain that I want to.
From the reader’s guide:
Moloka’i is the story of Rachel Kalama, a young native Hawaiian girl growing up in Honolulu at the end of the19th century, who at age seven is diagnosed with Hansen’s disease, taken from her family, and exiled to the leprosy settlement on a remote peninsula on the island of Moloka’i. It is the story of her life there, the friends who become her family, the man she falls in love with and marries, the child she is forced to give up, and her eventual, miraculous release from exile. Though a work of fiction, Moloka’i is based very much on fact. The author weaves real, historical patients and caregivers–from Father Damien to Mother Marianne Cope to the governor of the Territory of Hawai’i, Lawrence Judd–into the fabric of the story. Most everything in the novel has its basis in history, but the book is far more than that; it is the moving story of a woman’s life, a life that sadly had too many counterparts in the real world.
Enjoy, my friends! And let me know what you think!