The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Paperback)
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Description#1 "NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER ""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. "From the Hardcover edition."
- Published: 09 May 2009
- Format: Paperback 290 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780385341004 ISBN 10: 0385341008
- Sales rank: 5,031
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Reviews for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Expressive, magical, and utterly remarkable, this epistolary narrative charms, penetrates, and has irresistible perspective
If this review and the promise of exquisite scenery, intelligent conversation, wry flirtations, and heartening nostalgia found within the pages of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society won't convince you to give the book a try, I don't know what will.
Told completely in descriptive letters, amusing telegrams, and exclusive marginal notes, this modern British classic details the lives and events of post-World War II civilians, particularly in bomb-raided London and the recently liberated Channel Islands. The backdrop is extraordinarily well set, with eye-opening and little-known flashes of war terror mingled with depressing, but rich details of Guernsey's isolation under the prolonged German occupation during the war (which lasted until 1945). Both the tempestuous German reign and the brief evocations of the Belsen concentration camps are horrific, but they contrast magnificently with the gorgeous portraits of post-war Guernsey.
Dawsey Adams finds the name and address of budding war commentator and novelist, Juliet Ashton, in a book he's acquired secondhand, and seeing that the particular title-a Charles Lamb classic-is well worn, he decides to write her expressing his admiration for the author and complimenting her taste. He doesn't expect Juliet to respond-she doesn't know who he is, after all-but with her spirit and partiality towards literature, she does-enthusiastically. And thus they embark on an exciting, sparkling correspondence.
Shaffer has breathed life into her delightful, vivid cast of characters. Dawsey, Sidney, Isola, Susan, the late Elizabeth, and young Kit-I fell in love with all of them! They're simply enchanting... such a diverse, memorable group. I want to see more like them in fiction, and frankly, more like them in real life!
Juliet is so my favorite. Rebellious, lovable, and charismatic, she marches to her own drum and has a satirical approach to everything. She's the perfect blend of compassion, angst, and irony, and I absolutely loved her as well. She may, from the viewpoints of her elders, have misplaced priorities and be rather reckless with her actions, but she is fiercely stubborn-fiercely passionate-and that's what makes her such a sensational person.
When introduced to a magical literary community, Juliet is able to free her inhibitions and revel in what she knows best and devotes to the most: books. She brings out the book lover in all of us, and her engagement with the Society poignantly demonstrates the marvelous escapism of books. Guided by the wisdom of literary heros like Austen and Lamb, her and the other members' lives, once crossed, will be changed forever. This book is perfect for those who love and are awed by the power of the written word-the power it has to bring people together.
I desperately clung on to every word; stylistically and structurally, not one sentence is out of place. With smooth narration and keen insight, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a delightful escape with luscious facets of history and immaculate observations that will immerses readers completely. A modern adaptation of a time-revered romance, it has the witticisms and hopeful predictability that is universally reminiscent in any era and any upbringing.
Here is a book to read again and again, and to cherish for a long time to come. It isn't just about the wonder of reading and friendship; it's about finding light in wartime, finding peace in destruction. It's about true love-true identity-and it delivers a quintessential message about humanity that we all ought to keep in mind: that in love, sometimes pride is a far, far bigger crime than prejudice.
Pros: Highly evocative in setting // Bright, endearing characters that I want to take home with me // Beautifully written, from multiple vibrant perspectives // Quaint British tone-my favorite! // Humorous // Memorable // Starry and stunningly romantic // Will appeal even to those who don't like historical novels; buoyant and chronicled, rather than dense and dull // Shrewd in emotional bearing // Heart-warming; a 100% feel-good read
Cons: The first few pages are a bit difficult to follow because you don't know who's who, but gradual character descriptions clear this up immediately // It ended!!!!
Love: "We clung to books and to our friends; they reminded us that we had another part to us."
Verdict: The miraculous effect of arts and culture, and the appreciation of literature and storytelling-and they way they both shape us humans-is luminously presented in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Expressive, magical, and utterly remarkable, this epistolary narrative is, in one breath, charming with sharp penetration and irresistible perspective. In between the suppression of grief-struck war memories and slow recuperation, is a beautifully refreshing, dazzling, and hopeful reminder that in stories-on paper and in pen-people live and love on. In Juliet's own words: "The war is now the story of our lives, and there's no denying it." So too with this novel.
Rating: 10 out of 10 hearts: I'm speechless; this book is an extraordinarily amazingly wonderfully fantastically marvelous masterpiece.
Source: Complimentary copy provided by TripFiction in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!). by Karielle
- Top review
An absolutely delightful book to read. The various personalities and characters are vividly portrayed in letters across the channel. The story is set in 1946, one year post WWII in both London and Guernsey. The German occupation of Guernsey and how it touched the people of Guernsey is relayed in anecdotal style that shows how people can somehow muster up humour and companionship in the most dire situations. The story of how the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was formed is just the beginning of a wonderful tale. I didn't want this book to end. I was rewarded by reading the acknowledgements at the end of the book that confirmed that I was definitely not alone in the pleasure this book gave me and the final words by Annie Barrows in my April 2009 edition sum it up beautifully. by Pamela Anne Briant
Reason for Reading: I've wanted to read this since the minute it came out! The title is the first thing that grabbed my interest then of course all the positive reviews. Somehow the book just kept getting pushed further down my tbr pile until finally it rose to the top when it was randomly selected as my final book for the Random Reading Challenge.
I'll keep this review short since there are hundreds, make that thousands of reviews already online. I feel like I may be the last book blogger to read this book! As anyone who reads my reviews regularly might have guessed: how could I not have absolutely loved it! Everything I enjoy in this type of book is present here, historical fiction written as a collection of letters with a cast of eccentric characters. Perfection! I just love epistolary novels and they read so fast it is almost impossible to put the book down. Each and every single character was a dear and getting to know them through someone's letters somehow seems so personal and insightful. I loved everyone though I must say Dawsey and Isola were my favourites.
As to the historical content, while the book takes place one year after the war it often feels to be in the here and now as the letters are full of reminiscences of wartime experiences. I must say that even with all my reading of World War II, I had not known that the Channel Islands had been occupied. It didn't surprise me, tactically I can understand how the situation happened, but I'm surprised it has never been mentioned in my previous reading. It was an eye-opener for me and I'm now quite interested in finding out more about the occupation and the experiences of people from different points of view.
A delightful little book, that is a quick read with dramatic, tragic, romantic and comedic moments to be found throughout. A truly beautiful book not to be missed! by Nicola Mansfield