An Island at War by Deborah Carr

An Island at War by Deborah Carr

Deborah Carr comes to the blog with a story of World War II, the channel island of Jersey and occupation with  

An Island at War  

Told in an epistolary format, with letters and real-life experiences from family members adding to the story of Estelle, left behind after her little sister is evacuated to Britain for safely before the German Occupation of Jersey.  If you’ve ever visited Guernsey or Jersey, you’ll soon see that the islanders are less British than unique, even as these two islands are dependent on the Crown. Both are uniquely and strategically poised for access to both Britain and France, being plunked down in the English Channel.  So, during the war, evacuations of citizens was not uncommon, nor were those who decided to stay and fight the enemy by simply being.  Now, I’ll admit that The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society book (and film) were a large reason I was drawn to this story, but the two are different in feel, if not in the attitude of the locals toward the invaders, and both provide a unique view to the war years from people who are (or were) there, and how they overcame the dangers, the threats and maintained their own individualistic ideals and attitudes.  

During the war, Britain decided that the islands in the channel were not strategically important enough to defend, and Estelle’s twelve-year-old sister Rose was among one of the few to leave before the island was occupied. Left to help her grandmother on the farm, while Rose is staying with an aunt in London, things have changed for everyone.  Rose is given a journal to ‘write her feelings” and we see letters from her back to her sister.  But Estelle and her grandmother are quietly existing until they are required to provide a room to an officer, Hans Bauer.  While things are difficult, and Estelle and her grandmother don’t feel as if they can relax or that the home is their own anymore, her little sister is surviving air raids and desperate to just go home. As the war continues and conditions worsen, the regulations and restrictions on the island increase, everything becomes scarce, and we are seeing that everyone is experiencing hardships – from missing home to loved ones, to shortages in food, clothing and necessities.  

Carr has interspersed the story and both Rose’s and Estelle’s inner thoughts and worries with letters, many from her own family history that detail with a sense of time and truth, the realities of the situations and the strength that ordinary people showed in extraordinary times.  A wonderful read that brings yet another perspective into the allied fight – passive and active – during World War II.  

An Island at War by Deborah Carr

Title: An Island at War
Author: Deborah Carr
Genre: Historic Woman's Fiction, British, Family Saga, Grief, Historic Elements, New Adult - Coming of Age, Setting: Britain, Small Town, Sociological Relevancy, Suspense Elements, World War II
Published by: One More Chapter
ISBN: 0008436304
Published on: 25 June, 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 400
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 40 minutes
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo IndieBound Book Depository GoogleAudibleDirect from Publisher
See this Title on Goodreads

A moving historical novel inspired by the German occupation of the Channel Islands during WW2. This is a story of courage, resilience and everyday acts of defiance from ordinary people forced to live in an extraordinary time.

June 1940

While her little sister Rosie is sent to the UK to keep her safe from the invading German army, Estelle Le Maistre is left behind on Jersey to help her grandmother run the family farm. When the Germans occupy the island, everything changes and Estelle and the islanders must face the reality of life under Nazi rule.

Interspersed with diary entries from Rosie back on the mainland, the novel is also inspired by real life stories from the author’s own family who were both on the island during the occupation and in London during the Blitz and is a true testament to the courage and bravery of the islanders.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

2 responses to “An Island at War by Deborah Carr

  1. Thank you so much for your wonderful review of An Island at War. I appreciate you taking the time to read my book and am delighted that you enjoyed Estelle and Rosie’s story.

    • you are most welcome – I knew (somewhere in my brain) that the Channel Islands were occupied but don’t think I’d ever seen any tales about that time…. it was lovely to return (if virtually and in my head) to a place I had traveled with grandparents as a child.

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