In the last year I have read more than I anticipated. I got Amazon happy that is for sure. And I have a dear friend that finds a literary gem and likes to matchmake people with books. If he loves the book, then he passes it on. So in the same vein I have just met a dear woman, Helene Hanff, through her writing and if you have not met her I would love to introduce her.
It happened that right after I read "84" I read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It is a fictional story set in the English Island's WWII aftermath and is also told in letters. I would recommend it too, but it seemed to pale in comparision to the truelife heartfelt friendship that unfolds in "84".
When I found that I wanted to know more about Ms. Hanff, I discovered that she had more to tell about her love of London post-"84" in her book/diary, "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street". She recounts her first visit to London to meet pen pal friends face to face, a number of fans of "84", which did well in England, and become intimate with the city that had grown dear to her in literature. She made me see London again. Her depth of knowledge of the city's life and the true characters of London that weave its rich history is fascinating. And you cheer for her when she confesses that at 54, the single woman's hard-working writer's life she had known for so long, without much acclaim, appeared to have a hurrah for her.
If you like books, romance, travel, and writing (hello bloggers!) get to know Helene and prepare to be delighted.