Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Genre: Historical Fiction (England)
Pages: 324
First Line: "Susan Scott is a wonder."
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Synopsis: In early 1946, England is emerging from the devastation of World War II. Author Juliet Ashton receives a letter, out of the blue, from Dawsey Adams who had found Juliet's name inscribed in a book he was reading by Charles Lamb. Dawsey lives on Guernsey, a British island that was occupied by the Nazis.
Juliet and Dawsey continue to exchange letters back and forth. During one of those letters Juliet learns of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club that was put together as an attempt to protect it's members from being arrested by the Nazis. Juliet begins to receive letters from other members of the Society and becomes more and more intrigued with life on Guernsey. She finally makes the trip to Guernsey. A trip that will change her life forever.
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My Thoughts: For the past year, at least, I've heard nothing but praise for this book. I had been on the waiting list at our library for what seemed like decades so I was quite happy to finally have reached the summit of that long, long waiting list.
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"Guernsey" was a good read but was a little too .... calm? Not sure if that's the right word. There wasn't a whole lot of momentum or depth to the storyline ... especially considering the fact that it dealt with such a serious subject matter. Perhaps it was because the book was written in letter form (letters back and forth between the characters) which limits what the authors can do.
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I have a big interest in WWII for some reason and I did find it really interesting reading about the the Nazi Occupation and how it affected the people of Guernsey as well as the aftermath of WWII. But, personally, I liked how Ursula Hegi dealt with WWII in her wonderful book "The Stones From the River" (one of my all-time favourite books).
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The best part of the book for me was Elizabeth's story. While I don't want to give it away I found that storyline intrigued me the most. I think "Guernsey" was meant to be an easy-going read and I think it delivered. I expected it to be more raw and more of a "can't put down" type of book, which is wasn't for me. Please don't get me wrong. Overall, "Guernsey" is a good read ... just not what I was expecting. I hate that about really hyped books ... all of the hype often makes the book feel less than it is.
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I would recommend reading this book. It is an interesting era of time and the characters are easy to embrace and bring quite a quirky sense of humour. I especially like some of Juliet's dry quips back and forth to Sidney.
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My Rating: 3.5 stars

2 comments:

Aleisha said...

I am sad that you didn't love it, like, LOVE it. I loved how calm and soothing the book was, it was a lyrical book for me, she really showed you how terrible it was, but it was written in a much better Maeve Binchy kind of style. That's such a shame. I loved the Help, like LOVED it. I have already passed it along to my mother to read.

Laurie said...

I was surprised that I didn't love it to because a friend of mine who has very similar tastes in books loved it. Huh. I just found it too slow. I thought I would dive into it and adore it like I did with "The Help".

Aleisha, honestly ... check out "Stones from the River" by Ursula Hegi and let me know what you think. I read it 10 years ago and I still think about it. It's a great WWII historical fiction.

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