Mary Ann Shaffer

«Visitors offering their condolences, thinking to comfort me, said "Life goes on." What nonsense, I thought, of course it doesn't. It's death that goes on; Ian is dead now and will be dead tomorrow and next year and forever. There's no end to that. But perhaps there will be an end to the sorrow of it.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«I wish I’d known those words on the day I watched those German troops land, plane-load after plane-load of them—and come off ships down in the harbor! All I could think of was damn them, damn them, over and over. If I could have thought the words "the bright day is done and we are for the dark," I’d have been consoled somehow and ready to go out and contend with circumstance—instead of my heart sinking to my shoes.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«I did not want to spend my time reading about people who never were, doing things they never did.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«â€ŽWhat a blight that woman is. Do you happen to know why? I lean toward a malignant fairy at her christening.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«Then i imagined a lifetime of having to cry to get him to be kind, and I went back to no again.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«She is one of those ladies who is more beautiful at sixty than she could possibly have been at twenty. (how I hope someone says that about me someday)!»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«I don't want to be married just to be married. I can't think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can't talk to, or worse, someone I can't be silent with.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«Now that I think about it, maybe he is a werewolf. I can picture him lunging over the moors in hot pursuit of his prey, and I'm certain that he wouldn't think twice about eating an innocent bystander. I'll watch him closely at the next full moon. He's asked me to go dancing tomorrow--perhaps I should wear a high collar. Oh, that's vampires, isn't it? I think I am a little giddy. (After meeting Mr. Markham V. Reynolds, Jr.)»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«Remy watched the sea breathe in and out. Then she said, "It would have been better for her not to have such a heart." Yes, but worse for the rest of us.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«Sorrow has rushed over the world like the waters of the Deluge, and it will take time to recede. But already, there are small islands of - hope? Happiness? Something like them, at any rate.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«Thousands of those men and boys died here, and I have recently learned that their inhuman treatment was the intended policy of Himmler. He called his plan Death by Exhaustion, and he implemented it. Work them hard, don't waste valuable foodstuffs on them, and let them die. They could, and would, always be replaced by new slave workers from Europe's Occupied countries.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«What on earth did you say to Isola? She stopped in on her way to pick up Pride and Prejudice and to berate me for never telling her about Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Why hadn't she known there were better love stories around? Stories not riddled with ill-adjusted men, anguish, death and graveyards!»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«But you want to know about the influence of books on my life, and as I’ve said, there was only one. Seneca. Do you know who he was? He was a Roman philosopher who wrote letters to imaginary friends»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«Have you ever noticed that when your mind is awakened or drawn to someone new, that person's name suddenly pops up everywhere you go? My friend Sophie calls it coincidence, and Mr. Simpless, my parson friend, calls it Grace. He thinks that if one cares deeply about someone or something new one throws a kind of energy out into the world, and "fruitfulness" is drawn in.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«I think you learn more if you're laughing at the same time.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«Yesterday, Amelia and Kit came over for supper, and we took a blanket down to the beach afterward to watch the moon rise. Kit loves to do that, but she always falls asleep before it is fully rise, and I carry her home to Amelia's house. She is certain she'll be able to stay awake all night as soon as she's five.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«All my life I thought that the story was over when the hero and heroine were safely engaged -- after all, what's good enough for Jane Austen ought to be good enough for anyone. But it's a lie. The story is about to begin, and every day will be a new piece of the plot.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«But the truth is that I'm gloomy - gloomier than I ever was during the war. Everything is so broken, Sophie: the roads, the buildings, the people. Especially the people.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«I have gone to [this bookshop] for years, always finding the one book I wanted - and then three more I hadn’t known I wanted.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«How could I ever have considered marrying him? One year as his wife, and I'd have become one of those abject, quaking women who look at their husbands when someone asks them a question. I've always despised that type, but I see how it happens now.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«The German officers said any soldier caught stealing food from our gardens would be shot. One poor soldier was caught stealing a potato. He was chased by his own people and climbed up a tree to hide. But they found him and shot him down out of the tree. Still, that did not stop them from stealing food. I am not pointing a finger at those practices, because some of us were doing the same. I figure hunger makes you desperate when you wake to it every morning.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive - all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.»

Mary Ann Shaffer


«The crematorium could not burn the bodies fast enough - so after we dug long trenches, we pulled and dragged the bodies to the edges and threw them in. You'll not believe it, but the SS forced the prisoners' band to play music as we lugged the corpses - and for that, I hope they burn in hell with polkas blaring.»

Mary Ann Shaffer