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Friday, May 27, 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

 I picked up a copy of  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and was surprised by the format. The story is told entirely by letters - mainly between residents of Guernsey, a writer and her editor.
"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'd never met, a native of Guernsey, the British Island once occupied by the Nazis. . . As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society."
The Channel Islands are just off the coast of France, and have an interesting history. Although a British Crown Dependency, they are self governing and have a different tax system from the British Isles. Some of the letters referring to the German occupation reminded me of a visit there as a child. In particular, the stark and eerie German hospital constructed in the side of a hill. The letters brought to light many of the harsh conditions that the Island endured during the occupation. Lack of food, for both the islanders and the occupying solders. Construction workers were given no food and left to their own devices by foraging at night. But despite the hardships, the book shows camaraderie, friendship and a band of neighbors who form the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. They withstand the oppression together. This would make a great book club read - reader's guide here

Island at War was a miniseries based on another Channel Island, Jersey, and would be a good companion for the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
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13 comments:

Anna said...

I really enjoyed this book, too. I hadn't read anything about the Channel Islands until picking up this book.

I'll link to your review on War Through the Generations.

Dorte H said...

I gave my daughter this one for Christmas, and she keeps teling me I must read it.

I read "A Graceful Death" the other day, by the way. It´s a nice cosy, and now I wonder if you have an agent & publisher, or if you self-publish your books? I wrote a cosy mystery last year, and I am trying to find an American agent, but if I do not succeed in a couple of months, I´ll probably just publish it myself.

Helen Ginger said...

I've heard the title, but had no idea what it was about. It sounds really interesting.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I've been meaning to read this.

Vickie said...

I held off reading this book for the longest time. I just knew it would not interest me.
Then I saw it on Recorded Books, where I have a subscription since I have a long commute for work and audiobooks keep me mellow on the drive.
Anyway, I decided it might be one of those books that would make a good listen. And I was correct. It was wonderful!
I would love to visit there, would have done if I'd thought of it when I was stationed at RAF Lakenheath '88 - '90.

Nan said...

Oh, Ann, I'm so happy you read it and loved it. I thought it was just wonderful.

mummazappa said...

I haven't read this yet but I'm sure I'll get around to reading it, it seems like EVERYONE has read it already, so it must be pretty good :-)

Helen Ginger said...

It does sound really interesting. I've heard the title before, but didn't really know anything about it. Thanks!

The Tote Trove said...

I love novels that incorporate letters. There's something very romantic and old-timey about them. Perhaps I'll check this one out :)

BookQuoter said...

I seem to like books in epistolary form, and this one was no exception.

jenclair said...

I loved this book, and it did send me searching for more information--including watching the excellent Island at War series!

Beatnik Mary said...

Oh I loved this book so much! I was devastated to find out, upon finishing the book and perusing the author information, that the author had died shortly after writing this and thus would never be able to write another novel. I would have definitely liked to have read more by her!
(Here's a link to my review, if you don't mind me posting it--WARNING:CONTAINS SPOILERS)
http://seeteacherididmyhomework.blogspot.com/2010/04/guernsey-literary-and-potato-peel-pie.html

bookdout said...

This story grew on me, by teh time I finished it I thought it was wonderful but it wasn't an easy place to get to

Shelleyrae @ book'd Out
www.bookdout.wordpress.com