This is one of those books that you race through the first time to find out what happens, and then settle down to read it many more times to savor how it gets there.
It is simultaneously the story of:
-- villagers who evolve into a community only by accident
-- soulmates who find each other
-- literature and its power
-- how people cope with isolation, deprivation, subjugation, and fear
-- a little-known historical event from WW II
-- the horrors of war
This is the best book I've read in years. Not only is it told in my favorite literary style, epistolary, it's historically accurate, informative, engaging, powerful, and uplifting. It tells the story of the 5-year German occupation of the British Channel Islands during WW II, during which the residents were completely cut off from the outside world.
Can you imagine sending your children away to strangers in an attempt to keep them safe, and then not knowing even whether they made it to their destination, for 5 long years? That's just one of the things going on in this book. Do yourself a favor and read it.