Jill Downie presented a seminar this past Thursday evening about the German occupation of the island of Guernsey. It was so well attended at the library that she kindly offered up a second night for a repeat performance. Jill's talk largely consisted of readings from two wartime diaries; the wording carefully veiled as, in many cases, the Germans were billeted with citizens in their homes. The fear of saying anything against the enemy in black and white meant a fair bit of reading between the lines later on. I was surprised most by the level of starvation and just assumed that since there was land there would at least be crops but Guernsey's inhabitants were as restricted as if they were in prison. Germans were patrolling the coast and even laid mines in the water making it too risky to even attempt fishing. Although, not only did a few fishermen with boats escape by sailing away there were a few cases when a German soldier would flee with them. With approximately 7,000 officers occupying the small island it was inevitable there would be love affairs but Jill could not find evidence of women having their heads shaved as did occur in other cases of collaboration or dalliances during the war. With this new perspective my copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is calling.
Audrey's review of The Ladies of Lyndon during Margaret Kennedy Reading Week made me want to own a copy of the book. Oh sure, I could have simply placed an order for the reissued edition but the hunt is part of the fun so I was thrilled to finally find the black Virago in a second-hand shop. While in the rafters of the shop on the sliding library ladder I spied a vintage-looking cover and found another gem. Beyond the Vicarage is the third book in a trilogy by Streatfeild but if I were to stumble on any single copy, this would be the one for me. Telling Kara about my finds I admitted to a very unfeminine, although discreet, fist-pump after discovering something special; apparently she performs a full-blown dance. Anyone else want to share?
The Persephone Biannually arrived recently and resulted in doing, in part, exactly what it's supposed to do. I went through the list of titles like a child with the Christmas catalogue...have it, want it, need it! A copy of Tell It to a Stranger by Elizabeth Berridge should be arriving any day now. I'm planning a trip to London for Spring and will no doubt bring back a few more titles in my luggage. Which segues nicely....at a service recognition event earlier this month I was recognized for my twenty-five years as a circulation clerk at the library. I chose a hard shell carry-on piece as my gift and look forward to wheeling it through Heathrow!
And finally, just finished The Rich House by Stella Gibbons last night and will be sharing my thoughts in a day or two. Just a snippet....I loved it!