The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
January 1946: Writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.
I know your first question, because it was mine when I picked up this book- what in the world is a potato peel pie? Well, I'm not telling! You'll have to read the book to find out. And it's definitely worth the read!
I love epistolary novels, and the authors performed a masterpiece in putting the write letters in at the right times to give us the right information (how do they do that?!). I just adore the main character, Juliet. She's witty, a published author (like I wish to be), and considerate. Through her voice and those of the members of the literary society on Guernsey, I enjoyed getting to know these humble people and seeing how the occupation of the Germans affected them.
The occupation was a large part of the book, but not overly depressing. This book treated World War II in a unique way, because, besides the uniqueness of the letters, the story was told after the war and how people are recovering from it. The book was full of hope, because healing was happening among the people and land.
The isle of Guernsey is as full of charm as its people: rolling hills, ever-changing seas, and meadows full of wildflowers. Shaffer and Barrows could have been a bit less stingy in their descriptions of the island, but I still got a good sense of the place.
One of my only pain points was a seemingly random character trait revealed halfway through the book about one of the main characters which felt very off and forced. Also, the person that Juliet falls for took me by surprise; I was picturing him much older than her. But perhaps this was my fault.
Overall, I give this book a 3 out of 5 and recommend it for 16 year olds and up.
What historical fiction novels-whether good or bad-have you read lately?