The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

It’s 1946, and author Juliet Ashton is looking for a suitable subject for her next book.  Out of the blue she receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams from Guernsey, who has acquired a book which used to belong to Juliet (and which had her address in it).  He writes to her and a friendship quickly develops.  Dawsey is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a reading group formed during the German occupation in Guernsey in the war.  As the correspondence continues, Juliet also starts swapping letters with other members of the literary society, who tell her about their way of life in Guernsey, the way that the islanders suffered during the occupation.  They all seem eager to talk about their friend Elizabeth McKenna, a remarkable woman whose current whereabouts are unknown after she was arrested by the German Officers.

This is a truly delightful read-in-one -sitting book.  It is told entirely through the letters and telegrams of Juliet and the reading group members, and each character has their own distinct voice.  Life under the German occupation was described in vivid details and the author(s) did not shirk away from the showing the dread and intimidation that became part of daily life.

However, this book is also very uplifting and humorous – making me laugh out loud on a number of occasions.  The characters are all very loveable and some of them are very quirky or eccentric.  I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them, and felt as though I knew them all.

I would certainly recommend this story – to use a cliche, it is very heartwarming and a wonderful comforting read.  One to treasure and reread in the future.

 

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