The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shakker and Annie Barrows (2008)
(The Dial Press, 278 pages)
Rating: 5/5 stars
Source: Personal Copy
Genre: Historical Fiction
The Book: It’s 1946, World War II has ended, and Juliet Ashton is seeking ideas for her next book project. When she receives a letter from a man who lives on the British Island, Guernsey, everything changes. Dawsey is simply looking for a book recommendation from Juliet, but when he begins to write about the book club formed during the Nazi occupation of his island, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Juliet realizes this may just be the topic of her next book! She is drawn into the world of Guernsey and the heroic actions its inhabitants took during the war. Told through a series of letters between Juliet, her friends, and the members of society, this novel is a true gem. Illuminating the power of art, compassion, and the ways in which literature brings people together, this book by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is one to be savored again and again!
Spirituality in The Guernsey Literature and Potato Peel Pie Society: This story is rich in spiritual themes and says a lot about the human condition and how we as people reach out to others in the darkest of times. I was especially interested in the character of Elizabeth, one of the women living on Guernsey, who does what is right, even in the face of great sacrifice. The way the people of Guernsey connect with one another and even their German occupiers highlights their spirituality—and this is certainly an aspect of the book that would make for rich and satisfying discussions.
Who Should Read This Book: If you enjoy historical fiction, you should read this book. If you want a story that will make you laugh and transport you to Britain during a significant point in its history, you should read this book.
The Final Word: This is my first review of a book for adults (and what does that really mean, anyways?) on the blog, and I am absolutely ecstatic that it’s this one. I bought a used copy of this at a library book sale and had been planning to read it for ages. During a recent holiday, I took the book along with me, and there were times when I just couldn’t put it down. Told through a series of letter, and some telegrams, I appreciated the different voices of the characters that came through their messages. Yes, there are incredibly happy parts and there are also sad parts. One can expect this with a novel that takes place just after World War II. But this book is worth it, in every way. Strongly recommended for reading groups!