The Islands of Guernsey have long played muse to artists and writers, who marvel at the history, community and beauty of such a small, yet special part of the world.
In such unprecedented times and with such heavy headlines daily, many are turning to moments of escapism through books, films, television shows and arts & crafts. The arts have long been the perfect antidote to the monotony of daily life, a source of inspiration and a welcome respite. Many are also looking to the future. They are finding ways to educate themselves, to exercise and to plan future travel. Our borders remain, in essence, closed, but our hearts are ready to welcome you when you are able to visit our Islands again. In the meantime, we'd love for Guernsey to feature in your next moment of escapism. Here are some books that tell stories, both fact and fiction of the Islands of Guernsey.
Swimmers at Moulin Huet Bay
It is a well documented fact that Victor Hugo wrote and lived on the Island of Guernsey and found huge inspiration in all of the Islands. One of his lesser known works is 'Toilers of the Sea', the story of a fisherman who offers his daughter's hand to any man who can save his boat from being wrecked in the Moulin Huet bay. You will recognise many locations in Guernsey in the novel that form the backdrop for the high drama of Hugo's fictional tale. The book is due to be made into a film over the next couple of years, so now is the perfect time to read the book.
Author Duncan Barrett is a regular at our Islands' literary festivals and has spent a lot of time learning and writing about the Islands of Guernsey. His book 'When the Germans Came' was based on hundreds of interviews with people who lived through the German occupation of the islands and reveals what life was truly like from a very human perspective.
'One Man’s War' tells the autobiographical story of Frank Stroobant who portrays what life was like for the local population when they were invaded by the German forces in 1940. It's a detailed account of real-life under occupation from an islander's point of view.
Lara Dearman is a Guernsey-born and raised writer who lives in New York. She writes crime fiction based in the Islands of Guernsey. Her books are a great insight into daily life of a community with a hint of fictional intrigue. 'Dark Sky Island' is set on the Island of Sark, with no street lights, it was designated the world's first Dark Sky Island in 2011. The novel is second in a series following heroine Jennifer Dorey. Dearman's first book was 'The Devil's Claw' (aka 'Dark Deep Water') and would be a good place to start if you haven't had the pleasure of reading it yet.
Regularly hailed as one of the outstanding novels of the 20th century, 'The Book of Ebenezer Le Page' was written by Guernseyman G.B. Edwards and explores the simple life of a fictional Guernseyman Le Page heavily affected by the events that took place in the Islands in the first half of the 20th century.
Last but not least, the book that inspired the movie. Writer Mary Ann Shaffer was inspired by the Islands of Guernsey when she found herself on an unexpected layover in the Island's airport. She never saw more than the airport shop literature, but it set her on a journey to learn more about Guernsey's history and to write her only novel with a whole host of Guernsey characters. The novel was finished by her niece, children's author, Annie Barrows. The story follows London-based author Juliet who is thrust into the secrets of war-time Guernsey and bonds with a very unique book club through a shared love of literature and the written word.
For more reading inspiration on the Islands of Guernsey, Blue Ormer is a local publisher of books with a Channel Islands connection.
We look forward to welcoming you to our Islands as soon as possible to discover these places that you read about during your moments of literary escapism.