Gentle Reads

THE SISTERS OF SEA VIEW by Julie Klassen

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I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.

With their father deceased, his estate passed on to a distant male relative, and their mother’s health failing, four gently-bred ladies are suddenly left without a source of sufficient income, their only asset their beloved house on the coast that is suddenly too large for them to maintain. Against her younger sisters’ objections, the eldest, Sarah, moves forward with a plan to rent rooms in their seaside home and take on other small jobs around the town to keep them all from destitution. The new venture stretches the four sisters out of their comfort zones and throws them into the paths of eligible gentlemen–from a Scottish widower to a bedridden war veteran–opening unexpected opportunities for personal growth and maybe even a chance for love.

This family-centric historical romance is sure to delight Klassen’s fan base and pull in new fans from the gentle reads / inspirational romance arena. Klassen devotes as much attention to the sister relationships as she does to the romantic ones and builds her story slowly with great attention to each character’s quiet evolution.

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

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In post-World War II London, Juliet Ashton is trying to focus on her career as a writer and to figure out how to deal with Mr. Markham Reynolds, the stranger who has been sending her flowers, when she receives a slightly unusual letter.  A man living on the Channel Island of Guernsey has come into possession of a used book that used to belong to her.  He loves it so much that he has written to see if she has suggestions for further reading.  As their friendly correspondence grows into a friendship, Juliet begins to learn about the impact that the German occupation has had on the lives of the islanders, and of the sometimes humorous ways that they resisted their German conquerors.

This book is a charming, hopeful story of friendship and romance, told through a series of letters between Juliet, Dawsey (of Guernsey), and their other acquaintances.  It is a light read, and could be good for a book group.