This is the first book written by Joyce Austin who grew up in Rhode Island
hearing many stories of Guernsey from her father and grandfather. The book was
prompted by the birth of another Guernsey "cousin" and Joyce's wish to pass the
family history along to the next generation. Joyce has visited Guernsey several
times; the most recent trip being in May 2011 when she and her husband, son
and daughter traveled there to celebrate the 100th anniversary of her grandfather's immigration to the US. This book was many years in the making mostly because it was in competition with the other activities in Joyce's life which include working as an oncology social worker, raising children, traveling, singing, riding horses, gardening, and taking photos. She continues to live in New Hampshire with her husband where they are working on enjoying their new status as "empty nesters"
Georgianna Ritter spent 10 years of her childhood living on an island which made her the perfect illustrator for this book. From a young age, her teachers in the small school she attended on Block Island, Rhode Island recognized her talent for pencil sketches, ink drawings and lettering. With the encouragement of her teachers she later left the island to attend art school where she excelled at photography and ceramics. Water colors only came into her life as an adult and she says initially she found it too intense. Only after learning to let go of control and perfection could she utilize quick and relaxed movements with the watercolor brush to produce beautiful pictures such as the ones she has created for this book. Georgianna and her family make their home in southern Maine.
A young man named Will awoke one warm August morning in his family's stone cottage on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel. The year was 1910 and Will had been waiting with much anticipation for this day. He was about to
begin his journey across the Atlantic Ocean to a new life in America. His younger brother, George, would make a different decision. He would stay on the tiny island where he would raise his family and make a good life there. But this book is not just about two brothers who each take a different path.
It is about how the family remained connected; sharing their joys and troubles through endless letters. Even the strain of war could not sever the family ties. This book is about the strong family bond that lasted for more than a century despite the separation of many miles and several generations.