July 27, 2008

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

What a gem! I bought The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society yesterday after reading about it in a bookshop catalouge and I have spent every free moment since then devouring it. It is one of those books you read greedily because it is so wonderful but at the same time you are mourning it's eventual end.

The story in this book is told entirely through the use of letters sent between the various characters but primarly from the main character, Juliet Ashton. Juliet is a writer who has spent the years of World War 2 in London writing a regular newspaper column. With the end of the war (the book is set in 1946) Juliet is looking for a new writing task - and in many ways, a new life focus and direction. A letter for Juliet arrives out of the blue from a man by the name of Dawsey Adams, a resident of the Channel Island, Guernsey. Dawsey has purchased a second hand book that once belonged to Juliet and has written to her to talk about his love for this book and the unconventional literary society that he belongs to in Guernsey. The story told within the book about how the society came into being is wonderfully told - you meet other members of the society along the way and Juliet herself is drawn into their world.

The book touches on some tragic and deeply moving topics, particularly around the occupation of Guernsey by German forces during the war and the impact this had on the residents of the Island - not only during the war but also after it had ended. But the book is also very funny - all of the characters richly drawn - although Juliet is a clear favourite for me.

I can't recommend this book highly enough and sadly and unfortunately there will most likely not be a follow up as the retired librarian author of this beautiful novel died shortly before it's publication. The author's niece (an author herself) did assist in the editing process of the book after her aunt's death.


Ramya said...

oh wow! it looks like a nice book.. am going to add it to my list.. thanks for the great review!!

Karen said...

You're welcome Ramya! I think I'm still learning when it comes to book reviews but I definitely loved this book.

Suzie said...

I just read this book following your suggestion and absolutely adored every second of it. Thanks for the tip!

Jennifer said...

Hi, I just found your blog through bookgirl and I love your reviews. I just took this jem out from the library and can't wait to get started on it. I'm reading the Blue Rose by Anthony Eglin right now, however I'll be diving right into this one after. I just finished Rebecca and I just didn't feel up to starting Daphne. Thanks for the great reviews.