12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2008
This book transports you to another era with its colorful descriptions of the Second World War, this delightful island & its people. It makes you want to read more books of this type & also to read more books on Guernsey Island. The characters are marvelous & I wish the book was longer so I could spend more time with them.
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Audio books are getting better and better. For this listener that is largely due to increasing narrations by ensemble casts, giving a breadth and richness to readings that cannot be achieved by even the most accomplished single voices. Such is certainly true of this warm, humorous story that is related in a series of letters.
It is the winter of 1946 in London when our story opens. Author Juliet Ashton is pondering, no searching for ideas for her next book. She's surprised to receive a letter from the island of Guernsey, which was once under German occupation. The epistle is from a man she does not know, Dawsey Adams, who now has a book by Charles Lamb that once belonged to Juliet. Dawsey wants to know where he might find more books by Lamb.
Juliet's curiosity is aroused by this man who shares her affinity for Lamb, and in future correspondence he tells her that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a group formed for mutual protection during the German occupation.
Eventually, Juliet receives letters from other members of the Society, a disparate yet fascinating group, each with a story to tell. In due time she decides she must meet her new friends.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a wonderful tale, peopled with unforgettable characters and filled with courage, love, humor, all of which reminds us of the invincibility of the human spirit.
- Gail Cooke
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2008
Oh I just loved this book! I was constantly poised between racing to see what happens next and just savouring each page slowly like a Belgian chocolate.
The entire book consists of letters between a journalist and the inhabitants of Guernsey during and after WW2.
It is an extraordinary book in that it takes you right in to the era of German occupation of the Channel Islands and how the residents coped. I learned historical details whilst being totally submerged in the characters who ring so true. I particularly loved the character of the little girl.
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will appeal to anyone who loves to read about courage, integrity, kindness, love, literature, and happiness. Written as a series of letters among the characters, the book will also charm those who enjoy getting to know people through what they reveal in writing.
It would be easy to spoil this gem so I'll reveal as little as possible. In the first letter dated 8th January 1946, author Juliet Ashton writes to her publisher, Sidney Stark, about the results of her book tour for Izzy Bickerstaff goes to War and her new book, English Foibles. It turns out she's tired of being a light-hearted journalist. From there, we trail Juliet as she eventually finds her subject through an unexpected letter from a Guernsey farmer, Dawsey Adams, who owns an old book of hers, Selected Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb, which had her name and former address written inside the front cover. Like Alice when she went down the rabbit hole, that letter opens up a whole new world . . . and set of experiences . . . relating to the English Channel island of Guernsey which was occupied by German forces during World War II.
Unlike literary letters (say of Virginia Woolf), these letters are more often chatty and informative than witty. But each letter opens the door into the hearts and minds of the characters in deeper ways than can occur in the normal narrative of a novel. You will feel like you are solving a mystery at times. You'll even get to know characters quite well that don't write any letters.
I found myself torn between wanting to race to the end . . . and wanting to savor the pleasure of each letter. The latter instinct prevailed.
The letters are short, and you could read most of them in two minutes or less. Even if you are frequently interrupted, you will get right back into the story.
There's a clear possibility of a sequel here. I look forward to it!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Every review I've read about this talks about the book being a delightful read or a charming way to spend some time. While it is true there are delightful passages and charming characters, the book is much more than you might imagine. There is real human drama here, there are people you grow to love and to mourn. This is not all froth, the book packs an emotional punch. One of the best books I've read in a while.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2008
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie was a real gem to read! Not a book I normally would have picked up, I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this book from other readers. The story is told entirely through letters - again, not something that I would think would work all that well. But the story was wonderful and it rolled out wonderfully from the letters. Steeped in history, I learned a great deal from this book and enjoyed reading about a group of readers. There were parts of the book that were very sad but the dry humour in the book really appealed to me. This is a terrific book that I recommend to all people who love to read!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2008
I was absolutely blown away by the simple beauty of this book. It shows the courage of people who, faced with the most horrific crimes during World War 2, stood and conquered their fears in simple, yet powerful ways. The love story that comes out of it is by no mean the main theme of the book; it's actually a wonderful addition. I loved that the story is told in letters and telegrams. You realise that this was one of the only way to stay connected across the miles. The characters are charming and you become attached to their simple life. The only flaw this book has is that it ends.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2009
I enjoyed this book immensely...I love books that bring tears to my eyes. "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer did not make me weep, but the tears did well up a few times. It is a light-hearted story that occurs after World War II and it follows the letters of an authoress named Juliet Ashton and her correspondence with her editor, her best friend, her beau and the people from Guernsey.
Juliet wants to write a book about the occupation of Guernsey by the Germans, so she corresponds with a group of people who had formed a book club or literary society during the war to explain away why they were out after curfew to the Germans. Their literary club stuck and the resultant continuing meetings changed many lives.
Juliet eventually makes her way to Guernsey to meet the people she has been corresponding with and as a result new life long friendships and romances are established.
This is definitely a book for book lovers and for fans of the Bronte sisters and of course Jane Eyre. There are hints of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy throughout the book, it kept me pleasantly entertained...I love "Pride and Prejudice" and I really enjoyed the subtle hints of it throughout this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2012
When I first picked up this book from my local library, I was hesitant because of its letter format. I thought the idea of telling a story in the form of letters would cause the plot to be disjointed, but I was far from wrong. I quickly adapted to the style and found the main character, Juliet, an absolute delight. Her sense of humor is richly developed and her witty personality is immediately lovable.
Poised in the aftermath of World War I, the novel follows the lives of the inhabitants of the island of Guernsey after German occupation is over. And whilst they should be broken and bitter after years of horror under German forces, they manage to find beauty, simplicity, and hope through their bonds with each other.
I would highly recommend this book; it is a treasure.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is the book that started it all for me!
One of my colleagues recommended this book to me. She raved about it so much that I knew I just had to read it. But when would I have the time?? I have not read any books "for pleasure" since before my elder daughter was born, so that is eight long years...too long! I have always been an avid reader ever since I was a child, and I read a ton of books with my children, but none for myself.
The library had a very long waiting list for this book, but the CDs were available. Since I spend about three hours each week driving to and from work, I thought that would be an ideal time for me to listen to the book. Now, oral comprehension was one of my least favourite subjects in school. I always found it difficult to listen to long ramblings and then have to answer questions...my mind always tended to wander. Not so with this audiobook! I found myself getting lost in the lively narration. I wasn't simply listening to someone read: There are different voices for different characters, and you can hear the emotion in their voices. It was like watching a play with my eyes closed. Great performances by the narrators!
The book is a series of letters written between an author and a group of residents living on the island of Guernsey. The book takes places shortly after the German occupation following World War II, with the first letter being written in January 1946. This is not the type of book that I would have picked up to read in a million years. The subject of the book just did not suit my taste. It sounded boring! Boy, was I wrong!!
I cannot rave enough how fantastic this book is!! I believe that -- had I read the book -- I would not have found it nearly so interesting! The narrators are fantastic, and I found myself falling in love with Juliet (narrated by Susan Duerdin) and Dawsey (narrated by either Paul Boehmer or John Lee) and Isola (narrated by Rosalyn Landor). I couldn't wait to see how the book ended, but I also dreaded reaching the end because I wanted it to go on and on!
The author weaves historical content into the fiction, and I found myself fascinated with the time period. This book has become my favourite book of all time!
MY RATING: 5 stars!! Loved it!!!!!!!