The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
There is something so evocative and powerful about a novel that is beautifully written, and without a doubt Shaffer’s book is stunning. Written entirely in the form of letters, it tells the story of two strangers whose worlds connect in post-World War II England as they piece together events from the German occupation of Guernsey. Wonderfully quirky characters who interact and change throughout the novel draw readers in, but it is the way Shaffer and Barrows reveal information that will keep people reading. Filled with unforgettable plot elements in a haunting wartime setting, each part of the story will be appreciated. Shaffer passed away just before this novel, her first, was published, so we won’t be seeing more from this fine writer, but that gives us all the more reason to revisit this one again and again.
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
Celebrating the joys and pains of family life, Birdsall’s The Penderwicks tells the story of one family’s summer vacation. Filled with humor, this book captures eras past with its nostalgic tone and style, which is sure to appeal to fans of L.M. Montgomery, Marry Norton, and Beverly Cleary. Although it captures those sensibilities, Birdsall’s tale is in no way old fashioned as it deals with the daily issues of family and friendship in sensitive and charming ways. Since the sisters represent a span of ages, this book has great appeal for a wide variety of age groups as a read-aloud or a read-alone. Since it is followed by two sequels—The Penderwicks on Gardam Street and The Penderwicks at Point Mouette—any reader who falls in love with the Penderwicks clan will find much more to enjoy.