4.5 Stars AI can't recall if I've ever read a book before that is comprised strictly of letters, notes,and telegrams. I thought it would annoy me but it didn't. When you first start reading this book you can tell the letters are between people who have known and cared for each other for a long time. There was a warmth and casualness that was comfortable to read. When you first start a book you are a stranger to the characters but in this book, you get a glimpse of them you would never have seen if you had 'just met'. What really moved me about this book was slow and deliberate unveiling of the history of the people on Guernsey, and their (often) horrific experiences during the occupation. Their personalities came shining through; good, bad, and quirky. The painful dark truths that so many revealed in their letters to Julia, things they couldn't bring themselves to talk about, were often heartbreaking to hear about. My Dad was a radio operator on a Merchant Marine ship with the Canadian Navy during WWII. In his memoirs he wrote many engaging stories about his time on the ship and the various ports they went into, but there is that same sense of implied darkness in many of his stories. He wasn't one to bemoan a bad situation or even talk about it usually, but when you read his stories you can tell there was often ugly stuff he skirted around. This book has many humorous moments mixed in with the story of the occupation so its not depressing or disturbing in that sense. It left me with warm appreciation of the power of the human spirit and the amazing gift of community and friendships that so often goes unrecognized amongst groups of people as they go about their lives.