Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This novel is a collaborative effort between Mary Ann Shaffer, a debut novelist who passed away earlier this year, and her niece, children's author Annie Barrows (who helped complete the book when Shaffer’s health turned for the worse).

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a heartwarming, bittersweet novel written in an epistolary style, between  writer Juliet Ashton and her best friend from childhood Sophie Strachan and her brother Sidney Stark (who also happens to be her publisher). 

It all started in January of 1946 when London was recovering from the shocks of war. While Juliet Ashton was looking for a new project to embark on, she receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.  Her pen pals will soon include some folks from Guernsey.

Through these missives, Juliet learns of Guernsey and its deprivations during the war, as well as the astonishing spirit of the people who live there. She eventually becomes more and more intrigued with the stories of the people who survived the occupation; leading her to decide to write a book based on their experiences. To do so effectively, Juliet moves temporarily to the island and soon finds herself immersed in its captivating culture.

Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands, nominally part of Great Britain but located in the English Channel, close enough to see mainland Europe with the naked eye. And, as the residents of Guernsey discover during World War II, close enough for the Germans to occupy. What started out as a layover -- during an intended full-out invasion of the British Isles -- resulted in a five-year occupation that changed the lives of these quiet, simple people forever.


Read Part One of the novel here.

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1 comment:

  1. This book is wonderful. It takes you back to WWII through touchingly personal stories that could have been written by real live people. It gives you a view of the war that we stateside couldn't have experienced.