Friday, 17 June 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato-Peel Pie Society (2011 Books)

I came across the fabulously named 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato-Peel Pie Society', by Mary-Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, by chance in a charity shop and bought it with no particular expectations. I adored it.

Set in just-Post Wartime London and Guernsey the story is related in a series of letters between a writer, Juliet, and the members of the eponymous club. The society was invented to avoid punishment for breaking curfew and then became a vital escape for a diverse group of people from the restraints of Nazi occupation.
Juliet corresponds first with Dawsey Adams, an old islander who has, by chance, acquired her old copy of Charles Lamb's essays. When she decides to visit Guernsey (partly as research for her new book and partly to escape an unwanted suiter) she becomes personally involved in the lives of all the society members.

Erudite, historically accurate and immensely charming, I was instantly drawn into this novel. I had previously had only a very vague knowldege that Guernsey even was occupied during World War II and I felt very ignorant for my lack of awareness. This book has brought home to me the trials that people suffered but it was not at all a heavy read. Light relief is provided by the beautifully drawn characters and their romances. Juliet falls in love wuth the island of Guernsey and its inhabitants, and I fell in love to.

There is an additional story in the duel authorship, who are an aunt and neice team. 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato-Peel Pie Society' was mostly written by Mary Ann Shaffer. However she fell ill before she was able to make the final editorial tweaks, a job which was taken over by her neice, Annie Barrows.

There is something for everyone in this novel. I thoroughly recommend it. 


Carolyn Phillips said...

I loved this book, it is a real mix, a light read by heavy at the same time and worth getting hold of.

Peonies and Pennies said...

Oh I will be adding this one to my list. Sounds great.


Lynn said...

Sounds interesting - will add it to my list

Gwen said...

This book is on my list - I've been wanting to get it for ages since it was recommended to me by my friend in America. I am more determined to get it now you are recommending it as well Kirsty.

Melissa said...

I read this a couple of years ago with my book club and really enjoyed it too. I had never heard of Guernsey Island, so that part was interesting to me and I looked it up to learn more about it.