Thursday, May 27, 2010

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

Rated: 7 stars

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Random House Reader's Circle)

"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


Set during WWII on a small island off the coast of England during German occupation, this book is narrated almost entirely through letters. This means that the POV gives a lot of different perspectives - kind of in first person, kind of in third person, it can cover a large assortment of experiences and emotions. I also liked how a book united a community during a Nazi occupation and how this book created relationships that spanned over countries. Very book empowering :-).

2/3 of the book have great character development and tension built up from the war as well as personal relationships. It is a little vague where the story is going however. The ending, sadly, falls short in comparison to the rest of the book. It is very cliche - a romance sprouts out of nowhere in the last few chapters of the book, finishing the novel. It seems very abrupt and out of character. There is a reason for this. Unfortunately the author died before she finished the book, leaving her niece to finish the book. I have to congratulate the niece for having the guts to pick up a story and try and match the style.


A decent read, relatively light-hearted for a historical fiction novel, especially during this time period.


Historical fiction readers, chick lit, and anyone looking for a good, light read.

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