The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is one of those "sleeper" novels that gives the reader such joy that he wants to run out and grab people off the street and shove the novel into their hands.
This is an episolary novel set during the German occupation of the Channel Islands in World War II. The letters were written after the occupation from January 1946-September 1946, but the narrative in the letters covers life on Guernsey between 1939 and 1945.
A young lady, Juliet Ashton of London and a young man, Dawsey Adams of St. Martin's, Guernsey start a correspondence that slowly reveals the happenings on the island during the occupation. Much of the story revolves around a young woman named Elizabeth McKenna who falls in love with a German soldier and has his child, but manages to be loyal to herself as she aids many people caught on the wrong side to the occupying forces.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is a love story, a coming of age story and a slice of history preserved in the amber of correspondence. I would defy anyone to read it without coming away in awe of the human spirit.
KPL has several older books on the Occupation of the Channel Islands:
2 novels: This Royal Breed / by Judith Saxton; and Lying with the Enemy / by Tim Binding
and l non-fiction book: The Model Occupation: The Channel Islands under German Rule, 1940-1945 / Madeleine Bunting.
I have read them all and would recommend them to fill out the picture of this troubling time.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society