Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows come together to bring life to the pages of a book. I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society while I was still living in London. The book really brings you into the characters lives, focusing you on the feelings and conceptions of the channel islands that were occupied during the war. Not only is the title brilliant, the way these ladies wrote the book out is exceptionally brilliant. Letters are written from and to a female author Juliet Ashton who was tired of writing fluffy articles about the war even though her pieces were wildly popular.
The book also has the undertones of an amazing love story featuring Juliet, she ends up in Guernsey researching more of these fantastical stories of the occupation, like how the Literary and Potato Peel Society began in the first place. For a London native Juliet became enthralled with the smallness and the quirks that the Guernsey citizens have.
Shaffer passed away in 2008, leaving us this humorous book that took her years upon years to research. The pace of the book is fast and very urgent, it stems a need in the reader to finish reading in one sitting. It is a fun insight into how tragic the occupation must have been for channel island citizens, while at the same time furnishing you with a love for the main character and how she deals with all the information thrown at her. As I said before there is a bit of a love story but it doesn’t take over the book or inhibit the story or the history of the occupation in any way. The book inspired me to learn more about the history of the channel islands in general not just what happened to them in the war.
The book is quirky, smart, humorous, and sad all wrapped in a nice neat little package with an amazing eye catching title. The letters from the citizens and Juliet really show the personalities that these characters posses in an amazing way.
However, the book does seem to have a hard time settling on one specific plot line to the story. That can be easily overlooked or not noticed at all with the elaborate way the book itself is written. I really think it is a shame that Shaffer passed in the aftermath of such an amazing work. I really looked forward to future novels from this author.
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