Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This is one of my very favorite books. I just finished it this morning and it's so refreshing to read a historical novel that is clean, fun, and serious all at the same time. Here's the review that I think best captures my feelings:

"What a wonderful book! Having just finished this one, I am still smiling and thinking of the characters. Had I the time and money, I'd be booking a trip for Guernsey right this minute. As it is, I feel as though I've already visited and been made to feel at home. Set in both London and Guernsey Island, this novel follows author Juliet as she becomes friends with the inhabitants of the island shortly after the end of World War 2. Told in epistolary style, Juliet learns of the occupied island and its deprivations, as well as the resounding spirit of the people who live there. As she writes, she becomes more and more intrigued with the stories of the people who survived the hard times, and she decides to create a book based on their experiences. In order to gather more information, Juliet moves temporarily to the island and soon finds herself immsersed in the culture and relationships. This is absolutely one of the most delightful books I've read all year. The characters are real, the relationships are unique, and Juliet is hysterically funny, as well as warm hearted and genuine. I did have a bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight in the beginning, but once I caught on, I was enthralled. The pages just fly by and while you will learn a little of what happened to Guernsey during World War 2, you will learn much more about love and friendship. Highly recommended!"
It kind of made me feel the way the Anne of Green Gables books and the Mitford Series made me feel the first time I read them. I wish they were real places and that I could live there with the characters. Plus, it was CLEAN--I could easily pass this book onto my mom (and hopefully someday she'll have time to read again) and not have to give her any warnings.

As far as I know this is the only book author Mary Ann Shaffer wrote before she died last year (although she was in the book industry as a librarian, etc. for many years) and Annie Barrows has only written kids' books before this one. Hopefully publishers will encourage other authors to write like this, since the hardcover spent over 30 weeks (at least) on the New York Times Bestseller list and the paperback is going on four weeks.

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