The only way to describe this book is delightful. Initially I was put off by the epistolary style of this novel, however it is easy to follow despite the many (charming) characters. I was captivated by the personality of Juliet Ashton straight away, through the witty way her letters are written, but mainly through what the other characters write about (and to) her.
Set just after the First World War, Shaffer and Barrows offer a lot of hope in this novel, and through the lives of everyday folk explore how Britain got on its feet again and how people cope with the emotional trauma of the war. However, this is never at the forefront of what is being said, and it doesn't feel like 'a book about the War'.
When it does talk about the War (directly or indirectly) it focuses on the home front, so to speak, the lives of those not fighting. It is mainly concerned with the occupation of Guernsey, which I found hugely interesting.
What makes this novel so great, though, is that we get to know the characters at exactly the right pace, and we learn to love them all. Shaffer and Barrows have a unique gift to make their readers feel that they are friends with their characters. I wanted this book to go on for much longer.
And yes, we do get to find out what potato peel pie is!