Thursday, December 29, 2011
Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The novel consists entirely of letters centered around writer Juliet Ashton. The book takes place in 1946 as Great Britain recovers from World War II. A unique relationship between Juliet and her publisher, Sidney, and Sidney’s sister Sophie, shows unique friendships that date back to their childhood, allowing the reader the benefit of insights into Juliet’s character.
Juliet receives a letter from farmer Dawsey Adams, who lives on Guernsey, Channel Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean’s channel between the United Kingdom and France. Dawsey is in possession of a book formerly owned by Juliet and, from her name and address written on the inside cover, writes to her asking for a name of a bookstore so that he can get more information about the book’s author.
Dawsey explains that The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society came into being as the result of neighbors gathering to roast a pig which they had to keep secret because of the German occupation.
As letters fly back and forth, it occurs to Juliet that there are rich stories to be written about the war years on Guernsey. By this time she has heard from many of the island’s citizens and there is much excitement about her arrival.
As Juliet weaves her way into the hearts of the Guernsey people, a spark ignites between her and Dawsey. At least from her perspective. Dawsey’s quiet reserve make his feelings and/or intentions difficult to read. Juliet befriends a young girl, an orphan, whose parents were war victims.
Through this charming book, readers learn about the German occupation and the ingenuity of the British people to cope. The many diverse characters manage to pull together during tough times.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a charming book, one I couldn’t put down. It’s beautifully written with British flair, understatement and subtle humor. I heartily recommend this delightful and satisfying novel.