A recent book review in Library Journal suggested that fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society would enjoy reading The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow. The Last Telegram is a light, easy read that can be categorized as romantic, historical fiction. The main character in the novel is Lily Verner, who takes a retrospective look at her own life after the death of her husband. The focus of the book is Lily’s life before and during World War II, when she begins to take an active role in her family’s silk business.
History buffs will be intrigued by this sketch of life on the home front in England and the detailed glimpse into wartime silk production (producing parachutes for the troops). Included are a number of historical references to silk, revealed through extracts from a book on the fiber by Lily’s father. The author’s own life history was reflected in the novel, as Trenow’s family have been silk weavers for nearly 300 years and her inspiration was rooted in real people and real events. Check out the author’s website to read about further biographical links to the novel.
While the characters are well-developed, the dialogue is occasionally weak. The book’s strongest feature is the core love story and all the tension that it inspires. Lily had a dramatic romantic life prior to meeting her future husband. Her relationship with a Jewish refugee named Stefan complicates her life, and makes her British coworkers anxious. The book ultimately leaves the reader with the message that people are willing to take extreme risks for love, and have an amazing capacity to survive and overcome the most heartwrenching losses.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
In 1946, writer Juliet Ashton finds inspiration for her next book in her correspondence with a native of Guernsey, who tells her about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club born as an alibi during German occupation. Epistolary novel. Summary supplied by Novelist. **The Library also owns a book club set for this title.
The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
Her family and dreams shattered by her father’s untimely death at the hands of a ruthless tea baron, Fiona Finnegan flees East London and eventually establishes herself at the head of the tea trade in New York. Romantic. Rags-to-riches story. Summary supplied by Novelist.