Book Review ~ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Summary ~ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows ~  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. Born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society 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.

guernseyliterary

What an amazing book this is!  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a gem of a story set in 1946 post-war England and Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands.  The first interesting thing that struck me was that it is a work of fiction, but because the whole book is told through letters between characters, the voices feel real and brilliant.  Juliet Ashton is a gem of a heroine who is the author of a biography about the lesser known Bronte sister, Anne, as well as “Izzy Bickerstaff Goes To War.”  It is while on a book tour for the Izzywork that we meet her and her loving and supportive life long friend and publisher, Sidney Stark.  It is through their letters to each other that you get a sense of their personalities and great admiration for each other.  It is also through letters that the reader gets to know every character in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The war is over and people are once again striking up more light-hearted correspondences and it isn’t long before Juliet receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams about  the fact that he is now the proud owner of Juliet’s formerly owned copy of Selected Essays of Eliaby Charles Lamb.  This new correspondence between two strangers with a shared love for the poetry of Charles Lamb is the stepping stone for Juliet to meet and get to know all of Dawsey’s friends and fellow survivors of the German Occupation of Guernsey through the art of letter writing.  We get to meet these wonderful characters as well and their stories that jump from the pages of this book are  heartwarming stories of friendships forged between oddly matched people who are went through the most horrific, depressing and suffer-able events of their time. 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a surprisingly addictive read of a book that will make you wish it would go on forever.  I loved the way these people took matters into their own hands and cared for people who may never have entered their lives if it weren’t for the Occupation.  Then they let their stories fill the pages of letters they sent to a stranger in London who was willing and eager to read them and create a column which then would become a book to mark their time in history.  All of their stories soon revolved around one special woman who made the greatest sacrifice of them all during the Occupation of their beloved, little island. 

I cannot recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society enough.  At first I wasn’t sure I would be able to get into the story due to the letter style the book was written in, but I am so glad I gave it a chance.  After the first page there was no turning back for me.  I found myself talking about this book with Hubby and friends.  I surprised myself when I physically hit the book at certain upsetting parts and how I took my time reading it because I didn’t want it to end.  Do yourself a favor and pick this book up this weekend.  You are in for a special treat of a story.

{Rating ~ 5 out of 5}

That Wagon Is Slippery!

Yeah, I did it again.  I fell off the blogging wagon.  I don’t have much of an excuse this time though.  Yeah, Christmas was last week and New Years Eve and my 34th birthday are this week but all in all I haven’t been that busy.  I am having a nice holiday though, and I hope you are too. 

guernseyliterary1I finished reading 33 books this year which was the goal I had set for myself back in January.  Book number 33 turned out to be one of my favorite books of all time, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I still have to write and post my review and will hopefully get to that before Wednesday.  I know, I could be writing that right now instead but I’m not.  Instead I’m doing what I do and talking/writing about what I’m going to do.  I’m terrible!  Maybe that should be one of my new year resolutions?  JUST DO IT KAREN!! 

 

 

 

51lu7ktla1l__sl500_aa240_Anyway, right now I’m reading The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker and I’m enjoying it very much.  It will be available in stores on January 8th and I must say it’s pretty good so far.  I have really enjoyed reading stories.  Not just stories but complete works of fiction.  I think I burned out on chick lit this year and my imagination is really enjoying the trips these books are taking it on. 

What about you?  What style of writing did you read too much of this year?  Do you have any reading resolutions you are making in the new year?  Mine is to read less chick lit and more fiction/literature, be it historical fiction, plain fiction or fantasy even.  I think it’s doing good things for my brain and soul.

Sunday Salon ~ December 21st, 2008

Only one more Sunday in the year left after today.  It’s hard to believe that 2008 is almost a mere memory and a new number will round out the year.  With the new year just around the corner, so is my 34th birthday.  I am a New Year’s Baby, minus the big ears.  I am not freaking out about the number 34 as I was a couple of months ago when I came across the first gray hair I’ve ever noticed on my head.  I immediately went to the store and purchased hair dye to cover that little bastard up.  I will have to get another box soon since his friends decided to join him as my roots are beginning to show. 

The new year will also find me attempting a much needed, devoted attempt at dieting.  I’ve asked Santa/Hubby for a new pair of Nike Shocks so I can start walking in addition to dieting.  I do have a goal which is good and is actually a huge motivation for me.  In June I plan on attending Fan Fair, now called CMT Fest, in Nashville, TN with my friend Jesse (the one who got married in D.C. last month) and I would like to be comfortable wearing short sleeve shirts and not being self conscious about my arms the whole time.  We’ll see what I can do.

But I am not dieting yet and that has been apparent over the last few days.  With the holidays upon us, I have been a baking fool and Hubby has been making some delectable dishes.  Today I made both Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Bread and Banana Nut Bread (with coconut) and yesterday Hubby made Tyler Florence’s Mac & Cheese.  That Mac & Cheese came out of the oven looking so pretty, bubbly and perfect I had to take a pic and share it with you below. 

mac-n-cheese

I have been reading too this weekend.  I am almost done with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I could have been finished by now but I am enjoying the story and it’s characters so much that I have been taking my time.  It’s also the 33rd of 33 books I will have read this year.  I had made a goal for myself back in January to read 33 books for the number of birthday’s I have celebrated.  I will be doing a top five or top 10 list (I haven’t decided yet) of the books I have read this year by the end of it. 

What reading goals did you make for yourself this year?  If you didn’t will you be making one in 2009?  Also, did you eat anything mouthwatering this weekend too?  Do tell!