Thursday 1 April 2021

Book Review: The Girl from the Island by Lorna Cook

The Girl from the Island by Lorna Cook book cover

AD* | A world at war.

One woman will risk everything.

Another will uncover her story.

1940: When the island of Guernsey is invaded by the Nazis, two sisters are determined to rebel in any way they can. But when forced to take in a German soldier, they are shocked to find a familiar face on their doorstep – a childhood friend who has now become their enemy.

2016: Two generations later, Lucy returns to Guernsey after the death of a distant cousin. As she prepares the old family house for sale, Lucy discovers a box of handwritten notes, one word standing out: resistance. Lucy’s search for the author will uncover the story of a forgotten sister who vanished from the island one night, never to be seen again. 

Poignant and atmospheric, The Girl from the Island is a gripping five-star read!

This book is historical fiction at its best. The dual-timeline narrative is split between the past (1940) and the present (2016), yet both halves of the story are expertly woven together. It's a hauntingly beautiful book packed with twists and turns right to the very end.

There are striking similarities between both stories, many of which are uncovered as the plot progresses. The book is cleverly written so that key events from each timeline seem to occur almost simultaneously, despite the separating decades. This also adds suspense to the novel - this is certainly a real page-turner!

The characters are relatable and likeable - they all have their flaws, but each is interesting and well-rounded. Young Dido is youthful and energetic, whereas her mysterious sister Persephone is sensible and much more guarded. In the present-day narrative, Lucy is at a crossroads in her life and unsure where to go next. Her relationship with her sister Clara is often fractious but she finds a sympathetic ear in Will, Dido's neighbour. As the story progresses, each of these characters become increasingly interlinked as Lucy and Will join forces to uncover the secrets of the past.

Although the characters are fictitious, much of the background and wider events in the book are based on real historical occurrences during the German Occupation of the Channel Islands. This makes the book even more striking; it adds an extra personal touch in memory of the islanders who tragically lost their lives during the war. 

I loved The Girl from the Island and if you read it, I hope you will too! 

Rating: 5 stars

The Girl from the Island is available to buy now. 

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below! 

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