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Despite being set just after the war, I found The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows to be a completely heart warming story. Covering dark topics in places, the novel is an uplifting tale about the strength of its characters who continue to support one another and their passion for books throughout the good and bad times of their lives.
A unique take on the typical war story, the story is told entirely through letters which makes it a quick and easy read, despite the overarching topic it tackles. In fact, many of the characters bring a humorous take to the book, helping to remind the reader of the well-rounded nature of humans, even during tough times.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Plot Synopsis
It's 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can't think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey - by chance, he's acquired a book that once belonged to her - and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence.
When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it's not long before she begins to hear from other members.
As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.
Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.”
Beautifully written, it had a quintessentially British feel to it and it was altogether charming, complete with a nostalgic edge that stems from the hand written letters that it centres around.
Perhaps its only downfall is the amount of characters that are involved, to begin with I found it slightly difficult to keep up with who was who but as each one developed it became easier to follow along. I don’t normally enjoy books where all of the characters are likeable but somehow it works in this story, they were all well developed with their own quirks and I loved them all equally.
Overall, I would say that The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a great book for anyone with an interest in seeing a different side to the war and for anyone who has a love for books. I found it to be a real page turner right from the beginning despite not a lot really taking place for a while and it was a welcome, warm and lighthearted break from the other books I’ve read recently.
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