Monday, January 12, 2009

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

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends -- and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society -- born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island -- boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

I'd heard so many wonderful things about this book from fellow bloggers that when I saw an audio copy at the library I couldn't resist. And I am very glad I didn't!

When I first started listening I was afraid it might be hard to keep track of the characters as the entire book consists solely of letters and telegrams. I soon realized that I had no need to be worried. The letters flow smoothly from one character to another. This gives you many characters perspectives without missing any of the action.

I was immediately drawn into to Juliet's story and often found myself laughing out loud. Her letters were honest, fun and wonderfully entertaining. All of the characters had such well defined personalities that I felt like they were all good friends by the end of the story.

The narrators, I believe there were five, did an amazing job! I could tell as soon as they started speaking which character it was. They all had such distinct voices and the accents were absolutely charming.

I finished listening to this one on new years day and still haven't started another audio because I loved this one so much. 5 stars


Sandy Nawrot said...

Great review! I know you and I have blogged back and forth of our love for this book, but I'll repeat myself for everyone else's benefit. It is simply one of the most lovable, heartwarming, enjoyable novels I have read in a long time. It is mostly lighthearted, but has enough post-WWII reality injected into it to sober you up from time to time. The wonderful narrators in the audio is just the cherry on top!

Mimi said...

I have this on my TBR pile, I'm glad to hear that the raves are well deserved.

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Kelly said...

I don't have this one, but my son gave it to my sister for Christmas based solely on the "blogger buzz" for it. I'm hoping she gives it to me when she's done!

Great review!

Sandra said...

Good review,I'm so glad you liked this one.