Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Originally published: 29 July 2008
Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
Page count: 274
Genre: Historical Fiction
After the Millenium series, I wanted to read something light and endearing. After seeing so many positive reviews on my facebook reading group, I decided to pick it up and now I understand why everyone was gushing about it. What a beautiful anfd heart-warming book! I absolutely loved it.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a novel written in the epistolary style, consisting of a series of letters back and forth between Juliet Ashton and several of her contacts & friends. Alas that it’s Mary Ann Shaffer’s only work! Due to her deteriorating health, she asked her niece Annie Barrow to finish the editing and rewriting who is credited as the co-author.
The book offers an opportunity to travel back in time to Guernsey during 1946. Juliet Ashton wrote funny tales under a pseudonym for a newspaper during the World War to boost the morale of people. She has lost her home and all her possessions including her prized book collection due to war. Post war, her stories have been published in a book by her childhood friend Sidney who is also a publisher. She is looking for a new subject to write about when she receives a letter from Dawsey, a resident of Guernsey.
Dawsey comes across a second-hand book by Charles Lamb once owned by Juliet in which he also finds her name and address written on the first page. He writes to her telling her how he found her address and how much he loved the book. Thus begins a correspondence between the two and she comes to know of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. She is intrigued when she comes to know how the Society was formed as an excuse to explain a broken curfew to the Nazi soldiers but eventually became a rewarding opportunity to meet friends and discuss books. Through this initial contact, Juliet gets in touch with an entire community at Guernsey and eventually travels there to meet them. She wants to know more about the lives of the people during the five years the island was occupied by Germans. Little does she know that the course of her life is going to be redirected!
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society provides a sneak peek into the horrors of the war during the German Occupation of English Channel Islands. The devastation of the war is convincingly conveyed in an imaginative manner. Though the book deals with war, yet it is funny, charming, sweet and thoughtful because of its interesting and quirky characters. The magic of books and the love of reading forms the core of the book.
The beautiful Guernsey, its delightful residents, funny letters, harrowing WWII history, frequent humour, a love for literature and a sweet, unusual romance makes it an enchanting read. I highly, highly recommend “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” to all those who love books.
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