I fell in like with A Town Like Alice on the very first page. The beginning is set in Scotland, one of my favorite places in the world. The first page mentions Loch Shiel, and I spent a very happy week in Glenshiel several summers ago. Glenshiel is not terribly close to Loch Shiel, but never mind. A Town Like Alice was published in 1950 and I noticed on the copyright page that it includes a quote from Yeats’ “When You Are Old,” which I love. Here is the poem –
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
How lovely is that? The blurb on the back cover told me it’s a World War II story and that immediately reminded me of The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society, a recent read that I loved. I mean I LOVED it. I can’t wait to reread it but I need my own copy. The one I read belonged to a member of my book club. I was the third person it got passed to, and someone else wanted it when I was finished. It’s that kind of book, the kind that is so easy to love. I really hope A Town Like Alice is at least a little bit like that. I’ve read several WWII era books lately and they hold a special place in my heart. The Book Thief and Last Days Of Summer are two other favorites. Also, Goodnight Mr. Tom and Island Of Saints.