5 Books Set in Guernsey
12th May 2022
Found in: Blog -
With its stunning coastline, unique culture and fascinating history, Guernsey has inspired many a great novel. As a small island, Guernsey is often the backdrop to a murder mystery, with writers equally drawn to the human experiences here during World War II and the German Occupation.
At the Library, we love helping people find their next favourite read. From modern fiction to historical memoir, here’s five recommendations for books set on Guernsey for anyone to try.
1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – Historical fiction, romance
It’s 1946. The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer’s block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – a total stranger living halfway across the Channel, who has come across her name written in a second hand book – she enters into a correspondence with him, and in time with all the members of the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Through their letters, the society tell Juliet about life on the island, their love of books – and the long shadow cast by their time living under German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for the island, changing her life forever.
2. Exactly What You Mean by Ben Hinshaw – Contemporary fiction
On the island of Guernsey, a teenager discovers a secret that has the power to ruin lives. In London, a marriage shot through with infidelity leads to a quest for revenge. And in California, as wildfires burn, a veteran struggles with the trauma of war. In this extraordinary debut, a cast of characters with intersecting fates must grapple with unexpected deception, the loss of innocence and the lies we tell. With all eleven stories connecting back to the island of Guernsey…
Ben used to work at the Library and we’re very excited to hear him speak about his debut novel at the Guernsey Literary Festival this June – find out more here.
3. A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George – Mystery, crime fiction
An isolated beach on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel is the scene of the murder of Guy Brouard, one of Guernsey’s wealthiest inhabitants and its main benefactor. As family and friends gather for the reading of the will, Deborah and Simon St. James find that seemingly everyone on the history-haunted island has something to hide. And behind all the lies and alibis, a killer is lurking.
Number 12 in the Inspector Lynley Mysteries series, A Place of Hiding sees some of Elizabeth George’s lesser-known characters take centre stage in this Guernsey-based crime novel.
4. The French House by Jacquie Bloese – Historical fiction, romance
Set in Guernsey during the German Occupation in World War II, The French House is a moving and compelling novel with a love story at its heart. Left profoundly deaf after an accident, Émile is no stranger to isolation – or heartbreak. Now, as Nazi planes loom over Guernsey, he senses life is about to change forever.
Jacquie Bloese’s debut novel is inspired by both her family history and her time working at Victor Hugo’s residence-in-exile, Hauteville House. Jacquie will be speaking at the Guernsey Literary Festival this June – find out more here.
5. The Book of Ebenezer Le Page by G.B. Edwards – Fiction
Ebenezer Le Page, cantankerous, opinionated, and charming, is one of the most compelling literary creations of the late twentieth century. Eighty years old, Ebenezer has lived his whole life on Guernsey. Ebenezer himself is fiercely independent, but as he reaches the end of his life, he is determined to tell his own story and the stories of those he has known. He writes of family secrets and feuds, unforgettable friendships, love glimpsed and lost. The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is a beautifully detailed chronicle of a life, but it is equally an oblique reckoning with the traumas of the twentieth century.