A moving tale of post-war friendship, love and books, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is a captivating and completely irresistible novel of enormous depth and heart.
It's 1946, and as Juliet Ashton sits at her desk in her Chelsea flat, she is stumped. A writer of witty newspaper columns during the war, she can't think of what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from one Dawsey Adams of Guernsey - by chance he's acquired a book Juliet once owned - and, emboldened by their mutual love of books, they begin a correspondence.
Dawsey is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and it's not long before the rest of the members write to Juliet - including the gawky Isola, who makes home-made potions, Eben, the fisherman who loves Shakespeare, and Will Thisbee, rag-and-bone man and chef of the famous potato peel pie. As letters fly back and forth, Juliet comes to know the extraordinary personalities of the Society and their lives under the German occupation of the island. Entranced by their stories, Juliet decides to visit the island to meet them properly - and unwittingly turns her life upside down.
I've wanted to read a historical romance for quite some time, scrolling through the bookshop shelves and Amazon in search of something that catches my eye. That’s how I came across this book, did a bit of research and discovered that the movie is due out any day. The trusty internet says that here in Australia it will be released in Hoyts Cinemas on April 19th.
War is not a light topic to read about, I don’t like gravitating towards it, but the notion of corresponding via letter is extremely romantic to me. Imagine being a part of a society where literature is celebrated, letters are exchanged and love blossoms in hard times.
Don’t you think that sounds gorgeous? A group of passionate people who meet, bond and exchange letters with each other from different parts of the world.
I am devastated, devastated that this book has come to an end and that Mary Ann Shaffer, the author who wrote it, has since passed away. I would have loved the opportunity to read another piece of work created by her. Mary’s niece and co-author, Annie Barrows, has written other books. I'll have to check them out.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a charming, breezy read told through letters between characters. At first, I thought that it might be hard to follow who was writing to who or how I was going to distinguish one character from another, but it wasn’t difficult at all.
Each character is so different from the next, cleverly equipped with Individual personalities and quirks. It doesn’t take long for you to fall in love with the characters and want to join in on their form of correspondence. By the end, I felt like we were all friends, and I began to miss their witty and delightful mannerisms.
While the horrors of war make an appearance, the book is written in a way that doesn't make you want to turn away. There is no blood or gore, and it gave me a history lesson without rambling on and boring the crap out of me.
For some reason, I expected there to be a lot more romance involved, but it didn’t play a big role in this book. My first impression was that it was going to be a historical romance, but i would not call it that at all. When the small amount of romance did make an appearance, it was perfect. It suited the characters involved and matched their shy personalities well.
I enjoyed this book so much that I'm counting down the days until the movie is released. There is one problem, I fell in love with the island of Guernsey but have discovered that they didn’t film there. I'm hoping that they have injected the same scenery and rich heritage that appears in the book.