Monday, November 3, 2008

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows


“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever. Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

My Thoughts

I was drawn into this story from page one when I fell in love with Dawsey. There were only a handful of characters in this book that I didn't have a fondness for and every page was a courtship for me and this novel.
I never knew very much about the island of Guernsey beyond the fact of it being a channel island off the coast of Great Britain and I never knew that it was occupied by the Germans in close to England.
There were many shocking revelations in this story but also many examples of the courage and ingenuity shown by the islanders and how they protected their own standing straight and tall in the face of the adversity of war.
The meat of the story is written as a series of letters between all the main characters of the story to each other and Juliet, an author on the mainland. Juliet Ashton is a dream of a heroine with charm and a love of life that spills from the pages of her letters to her editor and friends and their responses seem real not contrived.
The story spills out from the letter writers as each character relates his/her own experience of the occupation and how they managed to survive and also of those family members and friends who were not so lucky.
The images were vivid and tears were shed as some of the words struck home about the losses and tragedies of each islander.. but the ending was wholly satisfying.
I give this novel a 4 out of 5 stars


Anna said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed the book. This one has been on my shelf for awhile, and I can't wait to read it!

Diary of an Eccentric

Sandra said...

I'm so glad you liked this one. I reviewed it during the summer and have been telling everyone what a great reading experience this is.

Lori said...

Wow, what a fantastic review! Gonna have to ad this book to my list.