The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Sunday, Mar 14 2010 

Melissa told me I’d enjoy this book, and boy, did I ever!

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Set in the immediate Post WWII era of 1946, we are introduced through a series of letters to writer Juliet Ashton, searching for the subject for her next book.  The epistolary form works well here, as the letters fly between Juliet, her publisher and friends, and the people she comes to know and adore on the British Island of Guernsey.

The book club title was a spur-of-the-moment idea to protect the inhabitants during the Nazi occupation.  As unimaginable as the war has been to Juliet, she realizes she has not faced the challenges of a forced enemy occupation and its resultant hardships to her new friends. Their love of literature, and hers, forms the bond that will transform her life.

Juliet eventually travels to Guernsey, where she is captivated by the people and their differing stories and personalities.  This was a charming story, with quiet heroes and silent heroines. And yes, Juliet does find her next book on Guernsey.

Safer Friday, Jul 10 2009 

Terrorists can take many forms, but we don’t often think of them being our neighbors.

In the idyllic neighborhood Paul and Sara Calloway have just moved into, the last thing they worry about is their neighbors.  Until one night when the police come knocking at the door and cart Paul away, under arrest for sexual exploitation of a minor–the minor in question being their neighbor’s daughter.

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And this is just the first chapter of the stylish novel Safer by Sean Doolittle.

Doolittle’s  three earlier novels have all received critical success with The Cleanup winning the Barry Award.  This time the twists and turns keep coming in this suspenseful outing as Paul seeks to clear his name, a process that means solving an almost forgotten crime from years ago.  Along the way, Doolittle does a lot with his material, giving us quirky characters and making us adore Paul’s sense of black  humor.

I haven’t read Doolittle’s earlier novels, but I just may have to look for them.

Pamela J Castrucci

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