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This is a gorgeous adaptation of the best selling novel by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. Julie Ashton (Lily James) is a successful writer in the midst of a promotional tour. Out of the blue one day, she receives a letter from an inhabitant of Guernsey, a small, rural island in the English Channel. Prompted by its contents, she visits the island and is absorbed into the lives of the insular locals, and becomes obsessed with a World War II mystery involving the feisty and rebellious Elizabeth McKenna (Jessica Brown Findlay) who is arrested during the war and never seen again.

Individual anecdotes meted out by the islanders in careful doses helps the story unfold in a slow, layered and thrilling intrigue. It is a picturesque period drama with plenty of warmth and humour. The spectrum of characters are depicted by a commensurate cast: Matthew Goode is the patient publisher; Michael Huisman is the charming, handsome farmer; Penelope Wilton brings a complex bitter yet maternal Amelia Maugery. This is fine storytelling supported by good film making.

★★★★

Reviewed by Rita Bratovich