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

40606102.jpg*I think this wins as my new longest blog post title.

This book has gotten a lot of praise in the Rick O’Shea Book Club, which is a facebook group I’m part of, and also is a summer film, so I was intrigued enough to spend an Audible credit on it. i’m really glad I did, because it was really, really enjoyable.

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

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.

“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.

I didn’t really know what I was expecting from this book, having read very little about it before deciding I wanted it. So I went in with entirely fresh eyes. Juliet, an author, is living in post-Blitz London, looking for inspiration for her next book. When a letter arrives out of the blue asking for her assistance in locating books by Charles Lamb, she strikes up an unexpected correspondence with the seller, Dawsey Adams, and then his entire book club, which goes by the name of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

In the course of her letter writing, Juliet gets intrigued by their story, and comes to Guernsey to find out more about their experiences during the war.

I had no idea that the Channel Islands were occupied during WWII, so this entire book was an eye-opening read for me. I was filled with emotion at the many horrendous stories which were told with such practicality by the residents and natives of Guernsey, and the warmth and strength they showed during the occupation, as well as their resilience in the years afterwards.

This book was, frankly, pretty much perfect. I loved all of the characters, loved their development. I felt like Juliet was me, wanting to learn more about the residents of Guernsey and how their lives were changed by the war. I loved that there was a cast of different narrators for the audiobook, giving each character their own distinct voice in the letters they wrote. I can’t even begin to pick a favourite, with Isola, Juliet, and Dawsey all vying for a place in my heart.

I loved this book. It was beautifully written, wonderfully delivered, and taught me so much, with a human, entrancing undercurrent. The relationships were developed so naturally that I was rooting for every character to find happiness in the end, and spent a lot of time sitting in my car after I had gotten to where I was going, waiting for a letter to end because I just didn’t want to stop.

If you haven’t read this yet, I thoroughly recommend you do, because it’s a really great book.

Five Stars
*****

3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

  1. Pingback: June Roundup | Much Ado About Books

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