Monday, June 1, 2009

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

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Rated P: mild)

The Guernsey Literary is one of those books whose unforgettable characters stay with you for a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

When I first got the book, I was surprised when flipping through it I noticed it was written entirely through letters. I was apprehensive at first wondering how the authors were going to move the story along? How were they to convey action and dialogue? Well, I was not disappointed. Actually, the letters added a certain intimate nature to the story as we glimpsed into the characters and their personal lives through the letters.

The story is about Juliet Ashton, a writer looking for her next book subject when she unexpectedly begins a correspondence with Dawsey, a man from Guernsey, the British Island once occupied by the Nazis. The story is set in the aftermath of WWII, when letter correspondence was one of the most important means of communication—considered today to be a lost art.

The story unfolds as Juliet learns, from Dawsey, of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a unique book club formed as an alibi to protect its members from arrest by the Germans. Through Juliet's exchange of letters with these members, we meet a cast of delightful, colorful characters whose war stories are poignant, touching, heart-rending but never morose. The book is interspersed with humor, wit and powerful lessons in true friendship.

This novel held a special interest for me for several reasons: the main character was a writer and an author; a book club held during the Nazi occupation helped its members survive emotionally; I learned interesting facts about the war that touched me personally; and it made me laugh!

If you want to be transported to a different era to glimpse into the extraordinary lives of ordinary people who lived through one of the most horrible periods in history, then this book will deliver. It's a great book club pick, the kind of novel that lends for a variety of subjects to be discussed.

I highly recommend this book.

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