The year is 1946, and British writer Juliet is feeling restless. She wants to write something new but doesn't know what. As luck would have it, she receives a letter from a Guernsey man and a pen-friendship develops. He tells her about the island literary society and its unusual history, and before she knows it she is corresponding with all the members and planning to visit them in person.
Written entirely as a series of letters between Juliet and her friends, this book pulls at the heartstrings at every turn. The misery inflicted on the residents by the Germans during the 5-year occupation is indeed eye-opening and heartbreaking and the villagers' folksy charm is undeniable. I did, however, feel it was sentimental over-kill; each of the characters is a stereotype and the ending was predictable early on. The good folks of Guernsey were reduced to peasant saints who endured their wartime hell by pluck and brotherhood. Writer Juliet emerges as a Cinderella who goes to the ball (Guernsey) and gets to keeps both glass slippers, a life-change that seems too good to be true.
I know letter writing used to be an art, but these letters are so incredibly long on detail as to be unbelievable. The basic plot of overcoming wartime horrors is a good one, but I wish the book had been written in traditional story form. As it is, the letters become increasingly maudlin and I had to force myself to finish the book.
I had heard people talking about this book ever since it was published--countless people I know had read it and loved it--so I bought it; but then I found myself passing it by on my TBR (to be read) shelf time and time again because I wasn't sure it was my cup of tea (as it turns out, I misunderstood what the book was about from the descriptions I was given). Then I met a new friend and neighbor and she kept at me about it, saying I must read it. FINALLY, after close to two years gathering dust … more
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer is a charming epistolary novel (for those of you who forgot your high school English terms, that means that the book is a series of letters) but perhaps too charming. In the novel, a young, unmarried British writer named Juliet has found success with a series of newspaper columns during WWII. Now (in 1946) the columns are compiled as a book and she's even more successful. As she searches for a new topic to tackle, … more
Okay, that’s definitely a long title. It’s also a perfect title for a perfectly entertaining, intriguing and informative love story, world war II drama, and mystery with a twist. The twist is that the story’s told entirely in letters between the characters. The wonder is it works so perfectly. A writer looking for a book idea after wartime success finds herself accidentally corresponding with people who’ve lived through the German occupation … more
When my mother recommended this book to me, I took a look at the cover quotes and found myself immediately skeptical. Phrases like "New York Times Bestseller" and a recommendation from the author of "Eat Pray Love" don't always lend themselves as a marker of a mindful read. However, after giving it a chance I was pleasantly surprised. This novel explores the experiences of a collection of characters in both Guernsey and England and their coping mechanisms … more
I admit; this was a hard book to get into. It is written in a series of letters between the main character (Juliette, if I remember right), and her publisher Sydney, plus many others, most of whom are members of a literary society that was formed by an unlikely group of people thrown together by events during WWII, on the Channel Island of Guernsey. This book has it all: romance, suspense, humor, horror. Once I got used to the manner of writing, I loved reading how each character … more
Poverty and suffering are AWESOME, apparently. I threw the book into the wall when the author used the word "random" to mean "unexpected," in her faux-period letters, a meaning that emerged in the computer age. I give this book a big fat *fart sound*.
Pros: Literary; entertaining; excellent character development; not formulaic; exquisite audio rendition. Cons: Irreverent and immoral in places; unrealistic ending; pacing concerns; similar styles among characters. The Bottom Line: Reading this book will help you discuss both tragedy and whimsy using a British accent--unless you already have one. In that case, this work may prove disappointingly inaccurate. Dear Readers, … more
I picked this up on a whim and can say that there are not enough words to describe how wonderful this book really is. This is definitnely one of the best books I've read this year. Set in England and the Channel island of Guernsey immediately following World War II, we meet Juliet Ashton (our protagonist and writer) who suddenly receives a letter from Dawsey Adams (Guernsey dweller) requesting some information on author, Charles Lamb. Thus begins a correspondence that leads … more