Monday, January 4, 2010

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Whew.. is that title a mouthful or what, try saying that 10 times fast. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I recently finished reading this book, fell in love with the characters and didn't want to see their stories end. This book is a fiction based on some historical facts. It is 274 pages and has some discussion information in the back if you use it for your book club. It is written as a series of letters back and forth between the characters. Here is what the Barnes and Noble website has for a description of the book:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society begins in January 1946, when popular author Juliet Ashton, much like her fellow British citizens, is emerging from the dark days of World War II. As Juliet exchanges a series of letters with her publisher and her best friend, readers immediately warm to this author in search of a new subject in the aftermath of war. By the time Juliet receives an unexpected query from Dawsey Adams, we are caught in a delightful web of letters and vivid personalities and eager for Juliet to find the inspiration she seeks. Dawsey, a farmer on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel, has come into possession of a book that once belonged to Juliet. Spurred by a mutual admiration for the writer, the two launch an epistolary conversation that reveals much about Dawsey's Guernsey and the islanders' recent lives under Nazi occupation. Juliet is especially interested to learn about the curious beginnings of "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society," and before long she is exchanging letters with its other members — not only Dawsey but Isola the vegetable seller, Eben the fisherman, and blacksmith Will Thisbee, creator of the famous potato peel pie. As Juliet soon discovers, the most compelling island character is Elizabeth, the courageous founder of the society, who lives in the memories of all who knew her. Each person who writes to Juliet adds another chapter to the story of Elizabeth's remarkable wartime experiences. Touched by the stories the letters deliver, Juliet can't help but travel to Guernsey herself — a decision that will have surprising consequences for everyone involved. Drawn together by their love of books and affection for each other, the unforgettable characters of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society collectively tell a moving tale of endurance and friendship. Through the chorus of voices they have created, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows have composed a rich tale that celebrates the power of hope and human connection in the shadows of war. (end quote)

I had heard of this book but finally ended up reading it because a friend's family is originally from the Island of Guernsey. Her mother was a child during the time of the occupation and had to convince her mother (friend's grandmother) to leave the island before the German's arrived. I love history and the fact that I have a friend that has a connection somewhat to this means I may be a little biased. But overall I felt this was a light enjoyable read. I felt like the author really made the characters come alive. I could picture them in my head. I could even picture the main character in my head played by Emma Thompson if it ever becomes a movie. This book also successfully places Guernsey on my list of places I would like to visit one day. So anyways no big monumental thing to tell you about this book just that it is good. And I am considering it for our book club one day. You can visit the official website from Random House here and check it out. Happy Reading!

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