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Le Cercle littéraire des amateurs d'épluchures de patates

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Janvier 1946. Londres se relève douloureusement des drames de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et Juliet, jeune écrivaine anglaise, est à la recherche du sujet de son prochain roman. Comment pourrait-elle imaginer que la lettre d'un inconnu, un natif de l'île de Guernesey, va le lui fournir ? Au fil de ses échanges avec son nouveau correspondant, Juliet pénètre son monde et celu Janvier 1946. Londres se relève douloureusement des drames de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et Juliet, jeune écrivaine anglaise, est à la recherche du sujet de son prochain roman. Comment pourrait-elle imaginer que la lettre d'un inconnu, un natif de l'île de Guernesey, va le lui fournir ? Au fil de ses échanges avec son nouveau correspondant, Juliet pénètre son monde et celui de ses amis - un monde insoupçonné, délicieusement excentrique. Celui d'un club de lecture créé pendant la guerre pour échapper aux foudres d'une patrouille allemande un soir où, bravant le couvre-feu, ses membres venaient de déguster un cochon grillé (et une tourte aux épluchures de patates...), délices bien évidemment strictement prohibés par l'occupant. Jamais à court d'imagination, le Cercle littéraire des amateurs d'épluchures de patates déborde de charme, de drôlerie, de tendresse, d'humanité, Juliet est conquise. Peu à peu, elle élargit sa correspondance avec plusieurs membres du Cercle et même d'autres habitants de Guernesey, découvrant l'histoire de l'île, les goûts (littéraires et autres) de chacun, l'impact de l'Occupation allemande sur leurs vies... Jusqu'au jour où elle comprend qu'elle tient avec le Cercle le sujet de son prochain roman. Alors elle répond à l'invitation chaleureuse de ses nouveaux amis et se rend à Guernesey. Ce qu'elle va trouver là-bas changera sa vie à jamais.


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Janvier 1946. Londres se relève douloureusement des drames de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et Juliet, jeune écrivaine anglaise, est à la recherche du sujet de son prochain roman. Comment pourrait-elle imaginer que la lettre d'un inconnu, un natif de l'île de Guernesey, va le lui fournir ? Au fil de ses échanges avec son nouveau correspondant, Juliet pénètre son monde et celu Janvier 1946. Londres se relève douloureusement des drames de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et Juliet, jeune écrivaine anglaise, est à la recherche du sujet de son prochain roman. Comment pourrait-elle imaginer que la lettre d'un inconnu, un natif de l'île de Guernesey, va le lui fournir ? Au fil de ses échanges avec son nouveau correspondant, Juliet pénètre son monde et celui de ses amis - un monde insoupçonné, délicieusement excentrique. Celui d'un club de lecture créé pendant la guerre pour échapper aux foudres d'une patrouille allemande un soir où, bravant le couvre-feu, ses membres venaient de déguster un cochon grillé (et une tourte aux épluchures de patates...), délices bien évidemment strictement prohibés par l'occupant. Jamais à court d'imagination, le Cercle littéraire des amateurs d'épluchures de patates déborde de charme, de drôlerie, de tendresse, d'humanité, Juliet est conquise. Peu à peu, elle élargit sa correspondance avec plusieurs membres du Cercle et même d'autres habitants de Guernesey, découvrant l'histoire de l'île, les goûts (littéraires et autres) de chacun, l'impact de l'Occupation allemande sur leurs vies... Jusqu'au jour où elle comprend qu'elle tient avec le Cercle le sujet de son prochain roman. Alors elle répond à l'invitation chaleureuse de ses nouveaux amis et se rend à Guernesey. Ce qu'elle va trouver là-bas changera sa vie à jamais.

30 review for Le Cercle littéraire des amateurs d'épluchures de patates

  1. 4 out of 5

    Linda Sexauer

    Several years ago, I worked at an art gallery here in Anchorage. Though I loved the art, I wasn’t much good at selling it. More often than not, I just chatted up the customers, who were from all over the world. One night, four elderly people wandered in. They told me they were from a tiny island off the coast of southern England called “Guernsey”. I’d never heard of it, so they proudly explained it was the only part of British soil that had been occupied by the Nazis during World War II. The isla Several years ago, I worked at an art gallery here in Anchorage. Though I loved the art, I wasn’t much good at selling it. More often than not, I just chatted up the customers, who were from all over the world. One night, four elderly people wandered in. They told me they were from a tiny island off the coast of southern England called “Guernsey”. I’d never heard of it, so they proudly explained it was the only part of British soil that had been occupied by the Nazis during World War II. The island was occupied for a long five years; an experience to which they had all been witnesses. At that moment, Guernsey was marked in my mind. Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow’s new book, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” is an opportunity to travel back in time to 1946 Guernsey. Beginning early 1946 in London, Juliet Ashton, a British writer, and former war journalist, is emerging from the ashes of the war to rebuild her life and her identity. She has lost her home and all her possessions, most regrettably her book collection. Out of the blue, she responds to correspondence started by a resident of Guernsey, who has managed to obtain a second-hand book once owned by Juliet, in which she had long ago written her name and address. Through this initial contact, Juliet meets an entire community, and the course of her life is redirected. Easily reminiscent of Helene Hanff’s epistolary classic, “84 Charing Cross Road”, the novel is written in the epistolary style. Shaffer and Barrow skillfully use this medium to successfully establish their characters and a solid storyline. Charming, funny, sweet, and thoughtful, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” is a story that women might find more appealing than men. Yet, it is unflinching in its wartime recollections. The deprivations and devastation of the time are imaginatively and convincingly conveyed. At its core, this is a book about the love of reading, and the magic of books. I highly, highly recommend “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Megha

    Dear Mary Ann Shaffer, I recently read your book 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'. It brought a few questions to my mind. Juliet writes in one of her letters: "Dear Sidney, What an inspired present you sent kit - red satin tap shoes covered with sequins" Didn't Sidney know what present he had sent? If you had to resort to sentences like these to speak what you wanted to, didn't you realize that the letter format and your writing didn't go well together? Learning from your bad exam Dear Mary Ann Shaffer, I recently read your book 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'. It brought a few questions to my mind. Juliet writes in one of her letters: "Dear Sidney, What an inspired present you sent kit - red satin tap shoes covered with sequins" Didn't Sidney know what present he had sent? If you had to resort to sentences like these to speak what you wanted to, didn't you realize that the letter format and your writing didn't go well together? Learning from your bad example, I will quit trying to be fancy, stop this letter here and write a regular review. A Reader. ** Spoiler Alert ** Novel written in epistolary format. Set in post WWII England.1946. Juliet is a 30-something writer living in London. (She is like this perfect human being who is universally loved. The only people who dislike even the smallest thing about her are the evil people). One day she receives a letter from a man living on Guernsey islands who found her address on a second hand book he had. Soon Juliet is exchanging letters with the members of Guernsey literary society and people talk about what books they like and why. Then suddenly everyone forgets about the books and Guernsey people start sharing their most intimate experiences from the time during the world war with Juliet, who is only a stranger. A few weeks later Juliet goes to the Guernsey islands to meet and interview these people. Of course everyone there just loves her (except the evil woman). She stays there for a few months and decides to adopt a four year old orphan girl she met there. The girl of course loves Juliet more than the people who have raised her. And then Juliet marries a pig farmer and settles down on the Guernsey islands. So much for the ridiculous plot. (I should have just known better, just look at the cheesy title.) It shouldn't be difficult for a decent writer to develop good characters when using a letter format, since each character gets his/her own voice. However, all the characters in this book seem to talk in exactly the same manner. Be it an accomplished writer from the city of London or farmers from a remote island, their letters sound just the same. Irrespective of whether the letters are being written to a close friend or to a complete stranger. Almost all of the characters have only a single trait. For some of the characters I can't recall even a single distinct characteristic. Mary Ann tries to have everything in one book. She has grazed the surface of numerous topics like books, world war, art, nature love, bucolic life, friendship, love, homosexuality, religion and so on. None of these get more than a superficial treatment. Stories about Nazi occupation of Guernsey don't tell you anything real about the war. They just revolve around this saint of a woman who died during the war while trying to show-off her heroism. To add to this drama, halfway through the book Mary Ann shifted the focus to Juliet trying to decide between different love interests (too many people love her, you know). Why is this book being marketed a historical novel? Another one of those recent successful books that everyone is raving about. I don't get it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    *3.5 stars* “Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.” Believe it or not—as shallow as this may sound—the stunning movie tie-in cover was the catalyst, goading me to take a hard look and commit to a book that’s done little more than float along my periphery for years. What do you get when you combine a roast pig dinner, an unavoidable lie and the most unappetizing pie? A mouthful: The Guernsey Litera *3.5 stars* “Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.” Believe it or not—as shallow as this may sound—the stunning movie tie-in cover was the catalyst, goading me to take a hard look and commit to a book that’s done little more than float along my periphery for years. What do you get when you combine a roast pig dinner, an unavoidable lie and the most unappetizing pie? A mouthful: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Born from the quick thinking of a woman caught out after curfew and continued initially to thwart suspicion from the German occupation, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society took on a life of its own, becoming a salvation to the people of the small channel island during WWII. Providing hope, friendship and for some, a new-found love for books. An epistolary novel (one told entirely through letters and telegrams), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society picks up post-war, in 1946, relaying bits and pieces from the lives of what can only be described as a witty cast. There’s 30-something Juliet, a writer in London, fresh off a book tour and searching for that spark of an idea; something to obliterate her writer’s block. The bulk of the story is carried by Juliet, sharing her humor and reverie with childhood friends and the people she comes to care for in Guernsey. One of Juliet’s previously owned books, marked with her address, lands a letter from Dawsey Adams in her mailbox. In a twist of fate, that very book found its way from London to Guernsey, becoming a treasured tome to the new owner. Juliet and Dawsey’s exchanged thoughts spur a letter writing campaign of sorts. With their words and stories of survival, the people of Guernsey lure Juliet to their picturesque island. This is not what I would consider a literary tour-de-force by any means; especially where WWII fiction is concerned. It’s often predictable and even a bit silly, in some respects, but it’s a change of pace in a space that’s naturally filled with heavy reads. Like Juliet, I found myself smitten with the people of Guernsey—one of my favorite letters penned by a reluctant society attendee, turned full-fledged poetry reader, all to impress the woman who eventually becomes his wife. The back half of the story is much less compelling than the first. With Juliet on the island, the variety of voices from Guernsey are lost, and for some reason, so is her enchanting nature. For me, the story went from colorful to drab, finishing with an untimely and honestly, unfounded question. To be fair, this is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to loves stories, so take my thoughts for what they are—the ramblings of a self-proclaimed picky reader. With that said, there is something all too charming about a book that pays homage to the written word—highlighting the fact that even in some of the bleakest moments, books wield the power to bring people together.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Schaffer - image from from chrestomanci.over-blog.com - Schaffer wrote most of the book, but was terminally ill so called in her niece, Barrows, to help her complete it. The GL&PPPS tells of Nazi occupation of this Channel Island during WW II. The story is told via a series of letters exchanged between residents of the island and a writer attempting to learn about their experiences. We are offered a wide range of characters, some warm and charming, some extremist bu Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Schaffer - image from from chrestomanci.over-blog.com - Schaffer wrote most of the book, but was terminally ill so called in her niece, Barrows, to help her complete it. The GL&PPPS tells of Nazi occupation of this Channel Island during WW II. The story is told via a series of letters exchanged between residents of the island and a writer attempting to learn about their experiences. We are offered a wide range of characters, some warm and charming, some extremist buffoons, some heroic, some not so heroic. The core of the story is Elizabeth, a particularly brave and wonderful individual. She is the emotional heart of the tale, as the many characters all have some experience that relates to her. Another important aspect is how all the characters relate around literature. From the film - image from Amazon Shaffer offers us a charming and wide-ranging palette of humanity trying their best to cope under very trying circumstances. As someone who knew very little about the occupation of the Channel Islands, I found it educational as well as a fun read. It reminds one of Alexander McCall Smith, not, clearly, for the specifics of the location, but for the warmth of the authorial tone. The writers clearly care about their characters and this place the way that Smith hovers lovingly over his imagined Botswana. Sit back and enjoy. This is a delightful, informative, and satisfying read that celebrates the impact of reading on people’s lives. From the film - image from Amazon The film is available on Netflix.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emma Kaufmann

    Once again I find myself reading ten pages of a book which is meant to be 'great' and wondering why it is just rubbish. I was meant to read this for a book club but it was about as palatable as a potato peel pie so I spat it out uneaten. Now, I'm sure there are American authors who can write in an authentic British voice (no one springs to mind, and Elizabeth George is terrible at it but at least her plot is not clunky) but Mary Ann Shaffer isn't one of them. This book has an epistolary plot that Once again I find myself reading ten pages of a book which is meant to be 'great' and wondering why it is just rubbish. I was meant to read this for a book club but it was about as palatable as a potato peel pie so I spat it out uneaten. Now, I'm sure there are American authors who can write in an authentic British voice (no one springs to mind, and Elizabeth George is terrible at it but at least her plot is not clunky) but Mary Ann Shaffer isn't one of them. This book has an epistolary plot that just goes clunk clunk clunk. Firstly, it is set in London in 1946 where we meet a fairly posh author who, rather than using the polite and rather stilted language that people used in 1946 sounds like Sex in the City circa 2008. I mean, come on, Mary Ann, have you ever even read a letter from 1946? So, you have letters flying around in 1946 which sound like they were written sixty years later. How are you meant to get into this? Then of course, a man in Guernsey writes to this author woman, says he has found a book with her name and address written on the flyleaf, there are currently no books in Guernsey, can she procure him some from London? Of course the lady author sends this poor man in Guernsey some books and writes him long letters. As if. Note to Americans: posh English authors in 1946 would not have been quite this effusive to a person who wasn't even a fan of her books. Obviously this clunky device is meant to start a stupid story going about this guy in Guernsey telling her all about his experiences when the Nazi's invaded Guernsey. Save me. All about as authentic as a Hallmark movie about the Nazis. This book reminded me of the children's American Girl series which take periods in history, and have a girl heroine who gives a personal and hightly sanitized view of American history, but does a fairly good job seeing as the audience for these books is 6 to 10 year olds. But this book is meant to be for adults. Save me. This is WWII lite. Take this quote: "I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” Or maybe someone bought it in a bookshop and took it to Guernsey? This sums up the tone of this tome. Twee beyond endurance.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Beth F.

    Gush, gush, gush, gush, gush, gush, gush!!! GUSH!!!!! So yes, clearly I loved this book. I think the only person I wouldn’t recommend this book to is one of those people who only read meaty tomes that might give regular people a brain embolism while they’re trying to make sense of the 17 different layers of subconscious meaning. I’d also hesitate from recommending this book to most men. However, if you have the ability to find joy and delight in the simple pleasures of a feel-good book, you too m Gush, gush, gush, gush, gush, gush, gush!!! GUSH!!!!! So yes, clearly I loved this book. I think the only person I wouldn’t recommend this book to is one of those people who only read meaty tomes that might give regular people a brain embolism while they’re trying to make sense of the 17 different layers of subconscious meaning. I’d also hesitate from recommending this book to most men. However, if you have the ability to find joy and delight in the simple pleasures of a feel-good book, you too might fall in love with this story. The book is written entirely in an epistolary format, consisting of letters back and forth between Juliet Ashton, a young author in 1946 London and several of her contacts and friends. It is just after WWII and people are trying to reclaim their lives and figure out if and how to move on from the tragedy of the war. Juliet receives an unsolicited letter from a man who lives on the island of Guernsey, one of the small islands situated in the English Channel between France and England (known for having loose regulations and financial secrecy in the modern world thereby making it attractive to fraudsters, money launderers and criminals, but that has nothing to do with this story and why it is enjoyable, I just couldn’t help myself from mentioning it). But anyway, Dawsey Adams of Guernsey acquires a used book that had originally been owned by Juliet. She had penned her name and address inside the cover and Dawsey decided to write her a letter to share how much he’d enjoyed her secondhand book and how reading books had helped several Guernsey residents cope during the time of the German Occupation of their island. Before long, Juliet is corresponding regularly with Mr. Adams and several other Guernsey residents, all who had been a part of the Literary Society. She learns that the Society was initially formed as a front to explain a broken curfew but eventually became a rewarding opportunity to meet with friends and discuss a love of books. Eventually, Juliet travels to Guernsey to meet her island pen friends and it was hard for me to put the book down and get any work done! The letters back and forth between Juliet and her friends gave the book a personal touch and it felt like we were being given an inside look into these peoples’ lives. I subscribe to the belief that letter-writing is a lost art form and appreciate books that are heavy on the letters and found the format enjoyable and easy to approach. There is also a very sweet love story in between these pages that made me sigh with contentment when the book ended. It was a highly satisfying read and I think that most book lovers would also enjoy this story. Even though most of us don’t write letters anymore, I think we will identify and be attracted to the notion of maintaining a long-distance correspondence with someone and developing a friendship with someone we’ve never even met (hello? Anybody chat/email with friendly strangers on the internet?) Juliet becomes quite close to her Guernsey friends and there was one passage in particular when she is finally embarking on her trip to meet her pen friends that rung true for me because it was eerily similar to the thoughts I’ve had on the occasion when I’ve met “net friends” who crossed that boundary to become “real life friends” and it’s that, “oh god, oh god, oh god, what if we don’t like each other? What if my words misled them? What if I’m not as interesting in person as they thought I was online?” ”As the mail boat lurched into the harbor, I saw St. Peter Port rising up from the sea on terraces, with a church on the top like a cake decoration, and I realized that my heart was galloping. As much as I tried to persuade myself it was the thrill of the scenery, I knew better. All those people I’ve come to know and even love a little, waiting to see—me. And I, without any paper to hide behind…in these past two or three years, I have become better at writing than living…On the page, I’m perfectly charming, but that’s just a trick I learned. It has nothing to do with me. T least, that’s what I was thinking as the mail boat came toward the pier. I had a cowardly impulse to throw my red cape overboard and pretend I was someone else.” As if I hadn’t already fallen in love with Juliet and her friends by this point, reading that passage actually brought tears to my eyes (not even kidding) because I knew exactly what she was feeling at that precise moment because I’ve been there before. So yes, I loved this book. It was beautiful and charming and a sheer delight to read. However, I think potato peel pie sounds disgusting and I wouldn’t want to eat it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alisa

    I'm in favor of: -pig farmers as romantic leads -parrots named Zenobia who eat cuckoo clocks -women who do the asking I'm not in favor of: -strong silent types as romantic leads -adorable children -parrots getting more page time than goats

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amalia Gavea

    ‘’Real dyed-in-the-wool readers can’t lie. Our faces always give us away. A raised brow or a curled lip means that it’s a poor excuse for a book, and the clever customers ask for recommendation instead, whereupon we frog-march them over to a particular volume and command them to read it.’’ Following an exciting April, I chose to start May with a focus on more contemporary, approachable reads that are simple but rich in themes focusing on the relationships within a family, within the members of ‘’Real dyed-in-the-wool readers can’t lie. Our faces always give us away. A raised brow or a curled lip means that it’s a poor excuse for a book, and the clever customers ask for recommendation instead, whereupon we frog-march them over to a particular volume and command them to read it.’’ Following an exciting April, I chose to start May with a focus on more contemporary, approachable reads that are simple but rich in themes focusing on the relationships within a family, within the members of small communities. One of these choices was a a book with the striking title The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Now, this work and yours truly have been through a stormy relationship. Ever since it came out, I’ve included it in my list only to dismiss it again and again. It just didn’t look like something I’d choose to read. However, I recently watched a documentary about the Channel Islands and I took it as a sign. And I am very happy to tell you that it is a delightful, meaningful novel. Even though I’m not an admirer of novels written in the epistolary form, this is the kind of book that benefits from the style. It protects the reader from awkward dialogue and repetition. So. The story in a nutshell. Juliet is a rather successful writer who desires to finally write something that will be fulfilling to her aspirations. A letter of chance by Dawsey, a resident of Guernsey, brings the literary society with the astonishing name and the special background to her attention and what was meant to be a simple research becomes a journey of self-discovery. I love the way the setting and the era come alive through the pages of this book. We are in 1946 and the island is trying to recover from the consequences of the German occupation. Juliet is going through a similar situation. She fights against dark memories, against prejudices and discriminations and bossy men who think she is incapable of producing a serious work just because she is a woman.The islanders want to be taken seriously. They’re not there to be laughed at or to be pitied. So, Juliet and Guernsey have much in common. Their thoughts and feelings are vividly shown and the reader has the chance to feel a part of both stories. ‘’The bright day is done and we are for the dark’’ Anthony and Cleopatra, William Shakespeare I appreciated the way Shaffer chose to focus on human relationships. People so different and yet so similar, brought together by the primal need to survive and the unique love for reading. A society that starts as an excuse to fool the Kommandantur becomes a haven, a shelter for the islanders who derive strength from heroes and heroines of tales. Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden, The Bronte sisters, Dickens, Wilkie Collins, the Bell siblings and, naturally, the One, the Greatest of the greats. William Shakespeare. The process of how people who had little to no association with books become dedicated readers was a joy to witness. And the fights, the antagonist, the passions that are inevitable in a small community where tensions have amounted for too long are always exciting… I didn’t believe that in an epistolary novel there would be space enough for the characters to develop but I was wrong. We have the sympathetic ones and those who suffocate the others because of their beliefs and their ego. And, of course, we have Juliet who is such a fascinating heroine, full of life and endless determination. I loved her from the very first letter. So, if character development is one of your concerns regarding this novel, fear not. You will come to know quite a few exciting people, you will love them while others will give you some trouble. Just as in real life. I didn’t come to think of this novel as a ‘’feel-good’’ story. What is this term, anyway? For me, there aren’t ‘’feel good’’ or ‘’feel bad’’ stories. There are well-written stories and badly written ones and many times, the most poignant tales are the ones that spring from togetherness and coincidences. They are told in a simple manner, in beautiful, quirky and sometimes sad prose. What could be more memorable than that? No pseudo-philosophical gimmicks or cheap sentimentalism but reality. ...plus there’s a plethora of references to Wuthering Heights and yes, I’m completely biased.. ‘’I didn’t like Wuthering Heights at first, but the minute that spectre Cathy scratched her bony fingers on the windowpane- I was grasped by the throat and not let go. With that Emily I could hear Heathcliff's pitiful cries upon the moors.’’ My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    I loved this book - it's on my favorites shelf. So obviously I recommend it! In my March 2018 buddy read with Trish (which kind of disintegrated because she raced ahead and finished the whole book in like one day :p) I was impressed with how well the authors melded actual historical facts about the island of Guernsey during WWII, and people's wartime experiences, with the novel's storyline. I could see the seams a little - interesting true stories and anecdotes tend to show up in the book as rand I loved this book - it's on my favorites shelf. So obviously I recommend it! In my March 2018 buddy read with Trish (which kind of disintegrated because she raced ahead and finished the whole book in like one day :p) I was impressed with how well the authors melded actual historical facts about the island of Guernsey during WWII, and people's wartime experiences, with the novel's storyline. I could see the seams a little - interesting true stories and anecdotes tend to show up in the book as random people's letters to the main character, Juliet - but I have to say overall I still enjoyed this book thoroughly. While it deals with some harrowing experiences, it does so with a fairly light hand, which some readers may roll their eyes at, but others will appreciate. It tends toward the "cozy" type of read, which isn't a bad thing in my book. There's a rich cast of characters, just a touch of romance, and some truly delightful humor. I'll definitely reread this a third time someday. This historical fiction novel is set shortly after WWII, with frequent wartime stories being related in letters between the characters. Through these letters (this is an epistolary novel), we follow Juliet Ashton, a fairly successful author of a British humor column, who is searching for a new topic to write about, and trying to decide what to do with her life and her boyfriend. She gets a letter out of the blue from a man on Guernsey Island, Dawsey Adams, who saw her name in a book and asks her for the name of a London bookshop, and tells her a little about his local book group, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. One letter leads to another, both from Dawsey and others on Guernsey, and gradually Juliet finds out more about her new friends on the island, what they experienced during the German WWII occupation of the island of Guernsey a few years before, and how their book club was formed and got its name. When she decides to go visit Guernsey and her pen pal friends there - upsetting her current boyfriend in the process - her life gradually becomes intertwined with theirs. This book includes some fun and often quirky characters, quite a bit of interesting (and sometimes harrowing) WWII history, a love for literature, frequent humor, and just a little bit of romance.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cayenne

    This was one of the lovliest books I have ever read. I have read many books and seen many movies about World War II, but this one was the best. It was so real. I felt like I knew the characters and I wanted to run over to Guernsey to meet them in person. The stories about their experiences were so touching, not just because they were hard, but because the people were so brave. Horrible things happened to them, but I didn't feel traumatized reading about them. I felt uplifted at their endurance a This was one of the lovliest books I have ever read. I have read many books and seen many movies about World War II, but this one was the best. It was so real. I felt like I knew the characters and I wanted to run over to Guernsey to meet them in person. The stories about their experiences were so touching, not just because they were hard, but because the people were so brave. Horrible things happened to them, but I didn't feel traumatized reading about them. I felt uplifted at their endurance and hope, and love for each other. This book definitely joins the few books on my favorites shelf. (I seem to have a weakness for books written as letters.) 7/26/11 re-read and it was still lovely

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Update 8/13/2018 Just saw the movie adaptation. Very faithful to the book, if not in plot (can't remember details 7 years later), certainly in tone. Saccharine and especially annoying in its watered down portrayal of Nazi occupation. Suffering-lite. The words that immediately come to mind when I think of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society are nice, cute and, unfortunately, hokey(ish). I certainly understand its popularity (#4 most popular book of 2007 on Goodreads!). There is a dis Update 8/13/2018 Just saw the movie adaptation. Very faithful to the book, if not in plot (can't remember details 7 years later), certainly in tone. Saccharine and especially annoying in its watered down portrayal of Nazi occupation. Suffering-lite. The words that immediately come to mind when I think of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society are nice, cute and, unfortunately, hokey(ish). I certainly understand its popularity (#4 most popular book of 2007 on Goodreads!). There is a distinct air of wholesomeness, inoffensiveness about it, plus it is occasionally funny (in a cute, inoffensive way), with a bit of tragic war business thrown in. But it got tiring for me very quickly. From the moment the main character, Juliet, a young writer, came to Guersney to visit her pen pals, the whole story just got way too cute for my taste. Everyone on the island was so nice, so into doing the right thing, so in love with Juliet, I just couldn't stand it. They were not real people. Even the dark parts of the novel - about the war, occupation, and concentration camps - were sort of glossed over. The story simply needed more complex characters, more drama, edgier experiences. As is, it is your standard feel-good commercial fiction with no depth.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    I won an ARC of this book either from the NYer or from the publisher. I forget which, as it's been sitting around for a while. This epistolary novel is something I should have loved. I generally like novels in letters, it’s almost like peering into lighted windows at night as you pass, sewing the bits of life seen there into a coherent whole. It’s fun, this book, in its witty comments, sort of the way I wish I could talk all the time. Yet, about halfway through it began to pale. Everybody in the b I won an ARC of this book either from the NYer or from the publisher. I forget which, as it's been sitting around for a while. This epistolary novel is something I should have loved. I generally like novels in letters, it’s almost like peering into lighted windows at night as you pass, sewing the bits of life seen there into a coherent whole. It’s fun, this book, in its witty comments, sort of the way I wish I could talk all the time. Yet, about halfway through it began to pale. Everybody in the book writes witty letters, but they are all witty in much the same way. The authors have taken pains to write clearly different characters, but their manner of writing letters boils them down to the same soup. I also began to tire of all these characters who are characters. As in, “Isn’t he a character?" Just too many odd bits of spice milling around. Add to that, the unsatisfactory conclusion, where everything is tied up in the nice pink ribbon of The Happy Ending. My disbelief refused to be suspended. Still, if you enjoy a bon mot as much as I do, it’s a fun, if frothy, read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    l a i n e y

    How can you write a review for a book that put perpetual smile on your face for 277 pages?? Definition of “supremely-enjoyable-while-reading” kind of book for me: so delightful, real funny and warm. Five long years since I first put this on my tbr shelf, should have read it a lot sooner... rating: ★★★★ How can you write a review for a book that put perpetual smile on your face for 277 pages?? Definition of “supremely-enjoyable-while-reading” kind of book for me: so delightful, real funny and warm. Five long years since I first put this on my tbr shelf, should have read it a lot sooner... rating: ★★★★½

  14. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Such a beautiful book, I wish I owned it as a real book, instead of on my Kindle, because I would reread it right now. The title is terrible or I would have tried it out sooner. It sounds so kitschy and is rather hard to pronounce too. Potato Peel Pie is a tongue twister! Written by Mary Ann Shaffer who was a librarian, an editor, and a great family storyteller, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, is an epistolary novel about the trials of the people living in the Channel Islands, Such a beautiful book, I wish I owned it as a real book, instead of on my Kindle, because I would reread it right now. The title is terrible or I would have tried it out sooner. It sounds so kitschy and is rather hard to pronounce too. Potato Peel Pie is a tongue twister! Written by Mary Ann Shaffer who was a librarian, an editor, and a great family storyteller, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, is an epistolary novel about the trials of the people living in the Channel Islands, in particular, Guernsey, during the German occupation of World War 2. I learned a lot, but in an entirely easy and fun way so you don't realize it, as you're reading an amazing book. The only book ever written by Shaffer, she put her whole heart and soul in it and it is lovely. It's witty and makes you smile, even through your tears. She became ill before finishing and her niece finished it, who was the other family storyteller. It is a love story, a story about courage under horrific conditions and a story about human resilience.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sherif Metwaly

    المصادفات السعيدة تترك أعظم الأثر، وهذه الرواية كانت مصادفة من أجمل ما يكون. في ليلةٍ ما، وبعد يوم عصيب في الجامعة، أبحث في مكتبتي عن عنوان يجذبني للقراءة فلا أجد، أمسك بالهاتف ولا أجد، أفتح الجودريدز لأشاهد ما يقرأه الأصدقاء لعل اسم كتاب أو مراجعة تنتشلني من حالة الضيق، ولا أجد أيضا؛ يظهر اسم الرواية أمامي بالصدفة في قائمة الترشيحات التي تظهر أعلى يمين الموقع، جمعية ماذا؟، فطيرة قشر البطاطا؟، ابتسمت فبدأت أخرج من حالة الضيق، وانجذبت أكثر للرواية بعدما وجدت تقييمها المرتفع وقد قرأها ما يقارب الن المصادفات السعيدة تترك أعظم الأثر، وهذه الرواية كانت مصادفة من أجمل ما يكون. في ليلةٍ ما، وبعد يوم عصيب في الجامعة، أبحث في مكتبتي عن عنوان يجذبني للقراءة فلا أجد، أمسك بالهاتف ولا أجد، أفتح الجودريدز لأشاهد ما يقرأه الأصدقاء لعل اسم كتاب أو مراجعة تنتشلني من حالة الضيق، ولا أجد أيضا؛ يظهر اسم الرواية أمامي بالصدفة في قائمة الترشيحات التي تظهر أعلى يمين الموقع، جمعية ماذا؟، فطيرة قشر البطاطا؟، ابتسمت فبدأت أخرج من حالة الضيق، وانجذبت أكثر للرواية بعدما وجدت تقييمها المرتفع وقد قرأها ما يقارب النصف مليون قارئ من مختلف البلاد واللغات!، يبدو أني وجدت ما أبحث عنه، أبدأ في قراءة أولى الصفحات، أنهي مائة صفحة في نفس الليلة، ويكاد قلبي يطير فرحًا من جمال ما أقرأ. يا الله!، هذه الرواية عجيبة، لا ليست عجيبة بالوصف الدقيق، ربما كلمة فريدة تصفها بشكل أفضل. فريدة لأني لم أقرأ رواية عن الحرب، وتحديدًا عن العرب العالمية الثانية الأكثر دموية في تاريخ البشرية تقريبا، ولا أجد فيها نقطة دم واحدة، ولا تكتفي بالحديث عن القتل والانتهاك، أو تركز على ذلك الألم الذي يطرد النوم من عينيك ويدمي قلبك من الغضب والحزن. لا لن تجد كل هذا هنا، ربما تجد بعض الحزن النابع من الشفقة على ما عاناه أبطال هذه الرواية في الماضي، ولكن ما تركز عليه الرواية هنا، وما سيبهرك، ما ستجده أمامك من جمال وحب يملأ سطور كل صفحة، وما ستعيشه من سلام نفسي يتركك في النهاية مع انطباع نهائي هو: هذه أجمل وألطف رواية قرأتها عن الحرب. تبدأ الرواية برسالة من أحد سكان جزيرة غرينزي التابعة للتاج البريطاني، موجهة للكاتبة جولييت الساكنة بلندن، والتي حقق كتابها الأخير الذي يسرد وقائع وقصص لبريطانيين عاشوا الحرب العالمية الثانية نجاحًا كبيرًا، فقرأه أحد سكان الجزيرة، وراسلها كمعجب، وأخبرها أنه أحد أعضاء نادي أدبي يدعى جمعية غرينزي للأدب تم تأسيسه أثناء احتلال الألمان للجزيرة، فتنجذب الكاتبة للرسالة ولاسم الجمعية الطريف، ويبدأ التعارف بينهما، لتصبح هذه الرسائل بداية لرحلة تخوضها الكاتبة بين سكان الجزيرة، حيث تسافر إليهم وتتعرف على أعضاء الجمعية، وتنهمر الحكايات تباعًا ولا تتمنى أن تتنهى. تمضي الرواية على هيئة رسائل متبادلة بين الكاتبة وباقي أطراف الحكاية، وباقي أطراف الحكاية هم أعضاء جمعية غرينزي للأدب، وناشر أعمالها، وصديقتها. أشير هنا إلى أنني أول مرة أقرأ رواية مكتوبة على هيئة رسائل، ويبدو أنني من الآن سأبحث عن الروايات التي كُتبت بنفس الطريقة، على أمل أن أجد بها نفس المتعة والجمال. في جمعية غرينزي للأدب ستجد شخصيات تتمنى لو تخرج من صفحات الرواية لتصاحبها في الواقع وإلى الأبد، ستجد الجدة الحانية التي تشمل الكل بعطفها، والأنثى متواضعة الجمال التي تغدق على الجميع من حنانها واهتمامها، وستجد الطفلة المشاكسة والبريئة في نفس الوقت، ستجد العجوز الذي أهلكت سنين العمر جسده دون أن تنال من جمال روحه، وذلك الصبي المقبل على الحياة رغم فقدان أسرته، ستندهش من كل هذا الجمال الذي نجا من ويلات الحرب، وهذه السَكِينة المغلفة للرسائل، وهذا الهدوء المسيطر عليك وأنت تقرأ. وسط هذا الجمال ستأخذك الحكايات والذكريات المتبادلة بين أعضاء الجمعية وبين جولييت إلى الماضي الأليم، ستعيش معهم مآسيهم، وسيحكي كل واحد منهم حكايته مع الحرب، ومع من رافقوهم، من نجوا ومن فارقوا الحياة، ولكن ستجد في حاضرهم العزاء الأمثل لكل ذلك الألم، ستجد وسط حكاياتهم عن القصف وضرب المدافع ورصاص الرشاشات جنديًا يُحب، وجنديًا يُهرّب الطعام لسكان الجزيرة، وفي المقابل يؤوي أهل الجزيرة جنديًا هاربًا من جحيم الحرب لم يتحمل الدم والقتل المأمور بارتكابه ضد أبرياء. هنا الإنسانية مجردة من الشوائب، والرضا رغم قسوة الظروف، والصبر على الألم، وإخراج الجمال من وسط القبح، هنا الأمل وسط الضياع، والضوء وسط الظلام، هنا ما لا تتوقعه من رواية تتحدث عن الحرب، ولأجل كل هذا، هذه الرواية فريدة. تمت

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

    A beautiful book! The whole thing is told in letters. After WWII the world is trying to recover. A young woman, Juliet, wrote funny stories using a pseudonym for the paper to bring up morale. They have been published in a book. Now she is looking for her next project when she receives a letter from Guernsey. Dawsey came across a book she owned by Charles Lamb. Since her name and address were in the flyleaf he decided to write her and let her know he had the book and loved it. So began a corres A beautiful book! The whole thing is told in letters. After WWII the world is trying to recover. A young woman, Juliet, wrote funny stories using a pseudonym for the paper to bring up morale. They have been published in a book. Now she is looking for her next project when she receives a letter from Guernsey. Dawsey came across a book she owned by Charles Lamb. Since her name and address were in the flyleaf he decided to write her and let her know he had the book and loved it. So began a correspondence between the two about books. She learns about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and how it came to be during the five years the island was occupied by German soldiers. And decides to write a book about it. This is a beautifully written book about the war and how it affected everyone. There are horror stories that are heartbreaking and stories of tremendous courage. But, mostly stories of survival on both sides of the conflict. I recommend the audio. The actors are wonderful!

  17. 5 out of 5

    La Petite Américaine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is boring, predictable, and pointless. Maybe the kind of thing that charms the sentimental. It's a series of letters in post WWII England between an author facing writers block and an island community who formed a book club during the German occupation. Eventually we meet the characters (who, oddly, have the same voice as the author in their letters) who come to describe one saintly, cliche, full of b.s. woman who held them all together during the occupation, while she manages to slap This book is boring, predictable, and pointless. Maybe the kind of thing that charms the sentimental. It's a series of letters in post WWII England between an author facing writers block and an island community who formed a book club during the German occupation. Eventually we meet the characters (who, oddly, have the same voice as the author in their letters) who come to describe one saintly, cliche, full of b.s. woman who held them all together during the occupation, while she manages to slap an overly-religious type, find the one good, true human Nazi and have his child (yep) and then die tragically simply by being her holier-than-this-earth self. Two stars for one of two well thought-out paragraphs buried among the 200 something pages. Blah. Sucked.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    A friend gave this to me with the recommendation, “You’ll LOVE this – it sounds like you!” I assume she meant because the main character is a witty book lover, not because she’s a critical spinster. I don’t dare ask. At any rate, this is easily one of the most charming books I’ve read in a while. Our heroine, Juliet, spent the war writing light pieces for a women’s magazine, and now she yearns for more substantial material. When she receives a letter from a Guernsey man who has in his possession A friend gave this to me with the recommendation, “You’ll LOVE this – it sounds like you!” I assume she meant because the main character is a witty book lover, not because she’s a critical spinster. I don’t dare ask. At any rate, this is easily one of the most charming books I’ve read in a while. Our heroine, Juliet, spent the war writing light pieces for a women’s magazine, and now she yearns for more substantial material. When she receives a letter from a Guernsey man who has in his possession a book she used to own, and finds out that during the war he belonged to a “Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” she’s intrigued. She writes him back. It turns out that at the beginning of the occupation (Germany occupied the Channel Islands from 1939-1945), a group of friends had gathered for a covert pork supper, only to have to make up some excuse for breaking curfew when a Nazi officer discovered them walking home late at night. The Literary Society was the result. Juliet begins corresponding with the various members of the society, but eventually decides she wants to go to Guernsey to meet them in person — as will you!! What a delightful assortment of characters — most of their letters made me laugh out loud, and several made me cry. Juliet’s letters are an absolute scream. Plus, as a bonus, you get an intriguing glimpse into what life was like for those trapped on an occupied island for the duration of the war. The hardships, friendships, and everyday heroism of the characters actually warmed my heart! My only complaint is that it wasn’t until page 61 that the author managed to write in a different voice. In other words, most of the characters sound exactly alike, as though the same person is corresponding with herself. Creating distinct voices is a trick for any author, but good ones do it far more successfully. And there’s one woman, a non-member of the Literary Society, who’s so absurdly interfering that she makes Mrs. Kravitz of “Bewitched” look like an Arthur Miller creation. But the rest of the book (ridiculous sitcom character aside) is delightful enough to make up for the contrived and often predictable aspects. A quick read that will leave you smiling...and wanting to go to Guernsey!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I don't do this often, but I am commanding my fellow Good Read Sisters to stop what they are doing, order a pizza for the family and hide yourselves away with this book! You all deserve a treat and if I could I would come run your homes while you read - this book is that good. It's unique - all letters - but please don't be put off by that. On the contrary, Shaffer is able to add an edge of humor with this device...and is she also paying homage to Anne Bronte and the Tenant...? [if you read it y I don't do this often, but I am commanding my fellow Good Read Sisters to stop what they are doing, order a pizza for the family and hide yourselves away with this book! You all deserve a treat and if I could I would come run your homes while you read - this book is that good. It's unique - all letters - but please don't be put off by that. On the contrary, Shaffer is able to add an edge of humor with this device...and is she also paying homage to Anne Bronte and the Tenant...? [if you read it you'll understand this question] And you all know how I feel about Anne. This is one of those great books that reminds us that the written word is a universal language that can speak to all of us, regardless of age or class. It reminds us why we read: to know that we are not alone. Enjoy!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book garners a 1.5 from me. What a painful read. I won't dwell too long on what makes this book so wrong, but let's start with the problem of how difficult it is for a GOOD writer to develop character via the epistolary form. Now for two mediocre writers, it's even worse. I distinguish no voices among the twelve million uninteresting characters. Second, how about the "plot?" There isn't one, and what is moderately plot-like is so loosely strung that it's impossible and laughable. The woman's This book garners a 1.5 from me. What a painful read. I won't dwell too long on what makes this book so wrong, but let's start with the problem of how difficult it is for a GOOD writer to develop character via the epistolary form. Now for two mediocre writers, it's even worse. I distinguish no voices among the twelve million uninteresting characters. Second, how about the "plot?" There isn't one, and what is moderately plot-like is so loosely strung that it's impossible and laughable. The woman's boss lets her skip town, not do her work, and then she decides she wants to adopt some kid she's known for a couple of months and then marries one of her subjects? That's unethical and gets people fired in the real world. Granted, it's the 1940s, but, I think that actually makes it less believable. The setting and timing of this story never come together, and descriptions of war are thrown in on the side for added drama. I should have stayed away when I saw the rave, run-on sentence of a review from Elizabeth Gilbert ( Eat, Pray, Love fame) giving this one glowing reviews. The book is not worth your time or frustration, as you can never really care about the characters or their half-slopped-together miss-mash of a story. Additionally, the language leaves something to be desired when it could have been so much more. The book HAS such potential but never gets anywhere near it. Feckless, really (feckless being the word I kept reading overandoverandover when it wasn't necessary).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    Don't let the title put you off. Or the fact that it has two authors (the second recruited apparently when the first, her aunt, sadly became too ill to complete it.) Or the fact that it is a series of letters, or what literary types call an "epistolary novel". Or the whispering on the grapevine that it's a cosy piece, mostly read by women. All these tended to make me hesitate. But I'm so glad I persevered. The book has a post-war setting, but much of the action refers to the Nazi Occupation of Gu Don't let the title put you off. Or the fact that it has two authors (the second recruited apparently when the first, her aunt, sadly became too ill to complete it.) Or the fact that it is a series of letters, or what literary types call an "epistolary novel". Or the whispering on the grapevine that it's a cosy piece, mostly read by women. All these tended to make me hesitate. But I'm so glad I persevered. The book has a post-war setting, but much of the action refers to the Nazi Occupation of Guernsey during World War II. I was dubious that American authors would really capture the feel of these times for Guernsey folk, or the nuances of life on such a small island. I was wrong. The island characters are a delight. The viewpoint character with her London-based world less so, though I appreciated that there needed to be a contrast here. Neither does the novel pull any punches when describing events in Nazi Concentration camps. To cover such a broad spectrum of experience and mood requires a skilful author, whom we have. Enough has been written elsewhere giving descriptions of this novel. It seems to be the sort of novel you either love or hate. I personally enjoyed it a lot and found it to have a unique angle on WWII fiction. There was one flaw however. I did find that the ending was somewhat hackneyed and totally predictable. Has it been made into a film yet? If not, I can guarantee that some bright spark will want to adapt it. I'm not sure the letter format will make for an easy transition. One can but hope.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maxwell

    Ok I really enjoyed this book up until the end! It wasn't a bad ending, per se, but it felt really rushed. I was honestly taken aback by it's abrupt ending. That was a bit of a bummer. Nevertheless, this was a really endearing story about the power that books have to bring people together—so how can it not be great? It's told in a series of letters and telegrams between characters, but mostly from the perspective of Juliet Ashton, a journalist and book lover from England, just after the end of WW Ok I really enjoyed this book up until the end! It wasn't a bad ending, per se, but it felt really rushed. I was honestly taken aback by it's abrupt ending. That was a bit of a bummer. Nevertheless, this was a really endearing story about the power that books have to bring people together—so how can it not be great? It's told in a series of letters and telegrams between characters, but mostly from the perspective of Juliet Ashton, a journalist and book lover from England, just after the end of WWII. The novel also follows the perspective of a lovable and unique cast of characters who live on Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands that was held by Germans during the war. I loved how this book grew to have a lot of emotional depth while maintaining a lightness in tone that made it very readable and almost fun. Granted, it deals with some pretty sad material as you'd expect with a story following WWII, but the characters don't wallow and aren't full of despair because they have each other and their shared loved of books to bind them together. Again, my only issue was the ending. The book could've been at least 50+pages longer and I wouldn't have minded at all! I was expecting some sort of epilogue or concluding chapter to tie it all together. I know the author unfortunately was unable to finalize the manuscript before publication because of her health, and so her niece finished it for her. It never feels like two authors wrote this, and maybe that's because we are reading letters from so many perspectives that even if they had very different writing styles it would've worked well with this format. But that could've contributed to the novel's ending not necessarily stacking up compared to the rest of the book. Otherwise, this is a great novel that I think would appeal to a lot of readers, and I'd highly recommend it!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ij

    This book is a fictional collection of letters, telegrams, and notes centered on an author, Juliet Ashton, who connects with the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Society). The letters are primarily about residences of Guernsey during the occupation by the Germany Army, during WWII. The Society came about due to friends being caught out, by the Army, after curfew. These friends had just enjoyed a meal of roasted pig, which was a novelty after the occupation. Not wanting to give the r This book is a fictional collection of letters, telegrams, and notes centered on an author, Juliet Ashton, who connects with the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Society). The letters are primarily about residences of Guernsey during the occupation by the Germany Army, during WWII. The Society came about due to friends being caught out, by the Army, after curfew. These friends had just enjoyed a meal of roasted pig, which was a novelty after the occupation. Not wanting to give the real reason for being out one of the group, Elizabeth, concocted the story of being at a literary club meeting. Juliet is looking for subject matter for a couple of projects and becomes interested in the people she communicates with in Guernsey. There are many interesting characters for Juliet to interact with and they seem just as enthusiastic as she is to correspond. Juliet finds enough information about Guernsey, the occupation, and the Society to complete volumes. This was a fun read, learning the many different characters, their personalities, how they dealt with the occupation, and how their lives faired after the war. If you liked 84 Charing Cross Road you will probably like this book, too.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    4.5 Stars ”We'll meet again Don't know where Don't know when But I know we'll meet again some sunny day Keep smiling through Just like you always do 'Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away” -- We’ll Meet Again,Vera Lynn / Frank Sinatra, Songwriters: Hughie Charles / Ross Parker Published posthumously in August of 2008, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society recalls the occupation of the Western European Channel Islands during WWII through letters and telegrams, which sounds very 4.5 Stars ”We'll meet again Don't know where Don't know when But I know we'll meet again some sunny day Keep smiling through Just like you always do 'Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away” -- We’ll Meet Again,Vera Lynn / Frank Sinatra, Songwriters: Hughie Charles / Ross Parker Published posthumously in August of 2008, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society recalls the occupation of the Western European Channel Islands during WWII through letters and telegrams, which sounds very basic and to the point, and leaves out all the charm and emotions involved. Relaying the thoughts of a host of those who lived on these islands during the days of occupation, the struggles to survive, this is - at its heart - filled with a charm that borders on quirky, but with a charm that brings the 1940s era to life. And yes, the occupation creates much hardship, and life is not always charming, but it never veers so far or so long, but serves more as a shadow that fades in the light from these characters. ”I can’t think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, someone I can’t be silent with.” I loved the back and forth, the epistolary nature of this novel, with the slow revealing of secrets, the day in and day out of life on these islands, the nature of busybodies to inject themselves to make sure the “truth” is heard, all of the life stories, and the love of literature, itself. This story more or less begins with a letter sent from Dawsey Adams, in Guernsey, to Juliet, in London. He has a book that once belonged to her, her name and address written on the inside cover, and is hoping she can help him locate a bookshop in London that might have more by this author, Charles Lamb. ”The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society came into being because of a roast pig we had to keep secret from the German soldiers, so I feel a kinship to Mr. Lamb.” In her response to him, she writes: ”Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.” Which is exactly how I felt when I was reading this - it had found me at a perfect time. ”That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive—all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.” And that’s what this was for me. Sheer enjoyment. Recommended Many thanks to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    Have to admit when this book was recommended to me I was a little worried as for one I found the title strange and two I did not find the blurb very enticing. I am not going to try and sumarize the story as I feel I could not do it justice. I found this novel wounderful and I was lucky to be able to curl up on my couch while the wind and rain howled outside(end of May!!) and finish the last 150 pages of this book and enjoy it I did. The story of the occupation of Guernsey is facinating and reall Have to admit when this book was recommended to me I was a little worried as for one I found the title strange and two I did not find the blurb very enticing. I am not going to try and sumarize the story as I feel I could not do it justice. I found this novel wounderful and I was lucky to be able to curl up on my couch while the wind and rain howled outside(end of May!!) and finish the last 150 pages of this book and enjoy it I did. The story of the occupation of Guernsey is facinating and really well told in this book and the story of Elizabeth really stays with you. However would have given it 5 stars only felt characters a little confusing at times and also juliet story a little predictable and the fact that the islanders was to quick to trust Juliet and the responsibality they gave her a little unbelievable but again I am picking at staws really. There is so much in this book that makes it an excellent story and an education in itself and would have given it 4.5 stars if I was able to. This one is a definate case of "Dont judge a book by its cover". A wonderful read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    5★ I absolutely loved this. I think I’ve avoided it because of the cutesy title, but I’m glad I finally caved. It’s a delightful story written in an exchange of letters between newspaper columnist Juliet and some residents of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, an island in the English Channel that is closer to France than Great Britain. They are an eccentric lot, to say the least. During WW2, Juliet wrote a light-hearted newspaper column to keep up British spirits. Meanwhile, during WW2, the islanders wer 5★ I absolutely loved this. I think I’ve avoided it because of the cutesy title, but I’m glad I finally caved. It’s a delightful story written in an exchange of letters between newspaper columnist Juliet and some residents of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, an island in the English Channel that is closer to France than Great Britain. They are an eccentric lot, to say the least. During WW2, Juliet wrote a light-hearted newspaper column to keep up British spirits. Meanwhile, during WW2, the islanders were cut off from all communication because they were occupied by German forces and practically starved out of their homes. There was nothing light-hearted about their lives, but they became resourceful and were still so inclined in 1946 when this book takes place. Juliet’s chatty letters sound like 1946 to me – friendly, silly, witty, puns, relief that the war is over. The letters she receives are unintentionally funny, because they are so unusual and written by people in some awe at corresponding with an author. She’s intrigued with the name of their society and is hoping to eke out some material for a column, so her replies are gentle and sensitive. Her correspondence with her publisher and friends is much less cautious. What follows is her visit to the island where she is put up in the cottage of a popular resident, Elizabeth, who has been imprisoned in a camp in Germany but who has left her 4-year-old daughter Kit in the care of the literary society. The islanders remind me of skittish animals – curious, shy, affectionate, reserved, suspicious – all those things, but mostly anxious to tell their war stories and share their new-found love for books in the hopes that Juliet will write honestly and kindly about them. The Literary Society was formed by accident, as a ploy to fool the Germans, but it has continued and has brought some surprising “book reports” as they take turns reading and discussing the classics. And I don’t mean Gone with the Wind - I mean Seneca, Charles Lamb, Dickens, the Bronte sisters. One member, a self-described tombstone cutter and carver (“lambs a speciality”) writes to Juliet explaining that most members had nothing to do with books since school, and probably only reluctantly then. “It was only by fixing my mind on the Commandant and jail that I could make myself lift the cover of the book and begin. It was called ‘Selections from Shakespeare’. Later, I came to see that Mr. Dickens and Mr Wordsworth were thinking of men like me when they wrote their words. But most of all, I believe that William Shakespeare was. Mind you, I cannot always make sense of what he says, but it will come. It seems to me the less he said the more beauty he made. . . . 'The bright day is done, and we are for the dark.’ I wish I’d known those words on the day I watched those German troops land, planeload after planeload of them – and come off ships down in the harbour! All I could think was ‘Damn them, damn them,’ over and over again . If I could have thought the words,‘the Bright day is done, and we are for the dark,’ I’d have been consoled somehow and ready to go out and contend with circumstance – instead of my heart sinking in my shoes.” Juliet becomes increasingly immersed in their stories and their lives. This is just a remarkable book and a firm fixture on my favourites shelf. PLUS - a movie! https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1289403/

  27. 5 out of 5

    El Librero de Valentina

    ¡Lo amé! De principio a fin Juliet, sus cartas y los habitantes de Guernsey se quedarán en nuestro corazón. Reseña pronto, en el canal :)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Magrat Ajostiernos

    Historia ligera, entrañable, divertida... Me enganchó desde el primer momento (Super fan del formato epistolar) aunque hubiera agradecido más diferencia entre las cartas de un personaje a otro. Me lo he pasado muy bien leyéndola, hay momentos duros pero realmente toda la lectura desprende un optimismo y un amor por los libros genial. Tan solo hubiera suprimido tantos líos amorosos.... Ya se sabe que yo muy de romance no soy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (Giraffe Days)

    The Second World War has ended and people across the world are picking up the pieces. It's 1946, January, and Juliet Ashton is on a book tour around England for her recently published collection of humorous columns that had been so popular during the war, Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War. She's not used to being a success and she does tend to throw things at people, but on the upside a very wealthy and attractive man keeps sending her flowers. A surprise letter from a complete stranger from one of th The Second World War has ended and people across the world are picking up the pieces. It's 1946, January, and Juliet Ashton is on a book tour around England for her recently published collection of humorous columns that had been so popular during the war, Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War. She's not used to being a success and she does tend to throw things at people, but on the upside a very wealthy and attractive man keeps sending her flowers. A surprise letter from a complete stranger from one of the Channel Islands, Guernsey, provides a new friendship and the germ of an idea for a new book. He, Dawsey Adams, had one of her books (works by Charles Lamb), which had her address on the inside cover. Her old address, her beloved flat that was bombed. The letter reaches her, and so begins a new friendship not just with Dawsey, but the entire community of St Peter Port and the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Intrigued by this amazing name, the story of the literary society's origins are revealed and soon Juliet is caught up in their story, and that of the island which was under German Occupation during the war. Everyone has a story, and one woman in particular shines through all their tales: Elizabeth McKenna, a resourceful and quick-witted young woman whom Juliet feels an affinity to. Told through letters between various characters but predominantly between Juliet and her publisher and best friend's brother, Sidney Stark, this poignant and bittersweet story is skilfully revealed and celebrated. I'm not normally a fan of books told through letters, though it's an unfair assumption that they must always be boring. A truly skilled writer can reveal much through letters - and Mary Ann Shaffer, who died just before the book was published, and her niece Annie Barrows who finished the manuscript when her aunt fell ill, have completed a remarkable book that I cannot recommend highly enough. This is a book that made me laugh, made me cry, and sometimes made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Yet it's not a morbid or sad book. Juliet is a delightfully funny woman whose teasing tone reminded me of one of my sisters; and the Islanders each have their own quirks and remind me of shows like Seachange and Hamish Macbeth - that small town, close-knit community feel. So much is cleverly revealed to us through their correspondence, things that the characters themselves, writing the letters, don't notice. It's beautifully written, slightly tongue-in-cheek and with that real British sense of humour - which is wonderful considering the authors are American. They really captured that tone, of the period as well as the place. There's also a great deal of subtlety, and an undercurrent of excitement, that completely beguiles you. There are stories within stories as the past and the present overlap, and the complex relationship between Islander and Occupier is gently explored, while the horrors of a concentration camp are lightly touched upon - the full import is there, but not thrust in your face. A light touch, this book proves, can be more powerful that a hard-hitting one. I felt close to all the characters in this book, who came vividly to life through these letters and their personal stories and adventures. It also makes me want to visit Guernsey! It's a quick, light read that will have you fully engrossed within the first few pages. A new favourite.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Real Rating: 2.9* of five, rounded down for fundamental dishonesty (it's a ROMANCE!) UPDATE AUGUST 2018 Netflix made a perfectly charming little movie out of this perfectly charming little book! (I have one question about the movie: Has Miss Lily James been tested for tuberculosis? She gasped and gulped and wheezed a great deal at frequent intervals.) Lovely little romance novel published out of its genre and hugely successful therefore. No new ground broken here, and not one single surprise. But it Real Rating: 2.9* of five, rounded down for fundamental dishonesty (it's a ROMANCE!) UPDATE AUGUST 2018 Netflix made a perfectly charming little movie out of this perfectly charming little book! (I have one question about the movie: Has Miss Lily James been tested for tuberculosis? She gasped and gulped and wheezed a great deal at frequent intervals.) Lovely little romance novel published out of its genre and hugely successful therefore. No new ground broken here, and not one single surprise. But it's a charming story, it's nicely told, and it's got something that makes a novel worth reading: A beginning, a middle, and an end that flow naturally from one to the next. The end is the logical consequence of the beginning, and that's all too rare in fiction. Had I bought this book, I would be grumpy, but it was free so who cares? Anyone who likes romances will like this gentle, pleasurable afternoon companion of a book.

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