At the end of last month, I set my spring reading list jumping straight into The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Not the shortest book title, and one I have stumbled over every time I recalled it to a friend! Written by two female authors from the same family, the book is formed of letters written mainly from protagonist, Juliet Ashton.
Set just after the finish of the second world war in London, we are treated to stories of continued rationing and rebuilding. Juliet had written several parody columns, under a pseudonym, throughout the war and is now looking for a new story to write under her real name. Uninspired by the glittering world her American wealthy suiter, Mark Reynolds offers Juliet becomes anxious that she has nothing more to say.
After a particularly late night out dancing with Reynolds, Juliet returns to her boarding room to a letter from Dawsey Adams, a farmer from Guernsey. Adams has written to Juliet after acquiring her address from the front cover of a book she previously owned. Guernsey was cut off from the main land during a German invasion and Adams is hoping Juliet can help with acquiring new reading materials. Juliet is more than happy to oblige provided he gives more information about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. A group he mentions in his first letter.
So starts a series of correspondence, between Juliet and various Guernsey islanders as they tell her their stories from war time. Inspired and feeling the claustrophobia of London Juliet travels to Guernsey to meet everyone. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society quickly becomes her next story as she meets a wide variety of characters and pieces together the islands wartime story.
I found the start of the book a little hard to get into until around the 10th letter where I was able to understand who the characters were and their relationships to Juliet. Once I got past this I loved every minute! I finished the book one early evening and promptly rented the movie version from Amazon. Fairly close to the original I’m now inspired to go and explore the island of Guernsey as soon as possible.
Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows? What did you enjoy about it? Have you been to Guernsey? PF xo