Saturday, March 29, 2014

the guernsey literary & potato peel pie society

the guernsey literary & potato peel pie society
mary ann shaffer & annie barrows
dial press
published 2008

January 1976: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject.  Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb?

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends - and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - born as spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island - boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Aahhh!  This book was so good!  When I first read the title I thought 'whaaaaat?'  And that it takes place after WWII made me a little hesitant since I don't read too much historical fiction, but I'm so glad I did.

Juliet is hilarious.  She's smart and independent and doesn't take crap from anyone and I love her for it.  But she's not the only good character in the book.  Not by a long shot!  Amelia, Isola, Kit, Sidney, Eben, Dawsey, Booker....but I think Isola was my favorite.  Holy moley I wish that person existed in real life and she lived next door to me.

But it wasn't just witty.  The stories from the villagers of the days of the occupation were sad and haunting and then the circumstances of the two authors was a story of its own.  I have to admit I cried more reading the afterword than I did the book!

But I was so upset that it was over.  I actually did cry a little, like a spoiled child because the book ended.  I really and truly wanted it to go on forever.  I wanted to read those letters everyday.  Such a perfect treasure of a book.

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