Nazi occupation on Guernsey during WWII. Doesn't really conjure up images of a lovely romance for me but I think this is considered Historical Romance. The only thing I found romantic about it was the language and the setting but I did enjoy it. While reading it the star rating swung from 4 to 2 to 4 and finally settled on 3 but then just at the last page jumped it back to 4 again, at the last second. I didn't like the ending particularly but I didn't see it coming so it got an extra star for the shock factor.
Vivienne, a soldier's wife, is living on Guernsey with her 2 daughters and her mother-in-law while her husband is away fighting for his country. When the German army come to occupy the island she learns to come to terms with restricted living. When a few Nazi soldiers commandeer her empty neighbour's house she's drawn to one of them in particular (Gunther), and so begins the 'romance'. Vivienne's marriage is an unhappy one and I get the impression that her marriage was over a long time before her husband left to fight but to be honest I still have no clue what she ever saw in Gunther. He didn't strike me as romance material but I think Viv was just miserably unhappy and lonely and whichever of the Nazi's had shown an interest in her would have had just as much chance to get with her.
I didn't feel that the romance was actually the focal point of the story for me. It was always there in the background but I was more interested in the Historical aspects. The Resistance from the Islanders, the Prisoners of War, the shortages and rationing...in general the results of the Occupation on the island. There were some really touching moments and some harrowing moments, as you'd expect from a war-time drama and all the characters were really well written and I really cared what happened to them.
I was frustrated with the ending though. I was all set to give it 3 stars overall and file it under 'a good read' but then I got to the end and I lost my footing. I'm still not sure how to deal with it. Not sure if I liked the ending, neither am I sure I disliked it. It took me by surprise and when I read it I wanted to know more and was annoyed that I'd never find out...then back pedalled and thought the shock ending was the right way to deal with it. Argh! I don't know. I'll just say it was a surprising end to a good book. Not sure if it was good or bad ending but it was surprising.
It's a nice gentle read, despite the war theme and the occupation and I'd maybe read more by this author.