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Guernsey Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to Vivian B., Dawn S., and Angela S. for winning the Guernsey Giveaway! Happy reading!

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Victor Hugo and Guernsey

Recently, I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and I fell in love with the little island between England and France which provides the setting of this World War II story. But little did I realize that I’ve long been an admirer of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, as it was the home of exiled Victor Hugo and the inspiration for one of my favorite books: Toilers of the Sea.

In the 1800s, when the oppressive emperor Napoleon III came to power in France, Hugo was named traitor for his political views, necessitating his leaving his country for the Channel Islands. Despite these trying circumstances, Hugo produced a great deal of his masterful writing while in exile, including Les Miserables. Visitors to Guernsey can still tour his home there, where he lived for fifteen years: Hauteville House.

rocky beach on island of Guernsey

Rocky shores of Guernsey, image by Nicolas Raymond

Looking at photographs of Guernsey brings me back to being a teenager, reading Toilers of the Sea, imagining the rocky, dangerous coast where so much tragedy can happen. And now, it’s bringing to my imagination the setting for a new story: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for this book here! Only one day left!

Then overwhelmed by the sense of that unknown infinity, like one bewildered by a strange persecution, confronting the shadows of night, in the presence of that impenetrable darkness, in the midst of the murmur of the waves, the swell, the foam, the breeze, under the clouds, under that vast diffusion of force, under that mysterious firmament of wings, of stars, of gulfs, having around him and beneath him the ocean above him the constellations, under the great unfathomable deep, he sank, gave up the struggle, lay down upon the rock, his face towards the stars, humble, and uplifting his joined hands towards the terrible depths, he cried aloud, “Have mercy.”

~ Toilers of the Sea, by Victor Hugo

purple plants and yellow lichen on island of Guernsey

Scenery on the island of Guernsey, image by Nicolas Raymond

Jagged rocks on Guernsey island

Jagged rocks off the coast, image by Jan Faborsky

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