'Charming ... one to lift even the most cynical of spirits' The Times 'Thronging with lovable people ... golden comedy' Guardian 'What a gorgeous book - very touching and funny' Joanna Lumley 'Delightfully spirited and quirky novel-of-letters ... You'd have to be pretty hard-hearted not to fall under its spell' Daily Mail Books of the Year
MARY ANN SHAFFER was born in 1934 in Martinsburg, West Virginia. She worked as an editor, a librarian and in bookshops. She became interested in Guernsey while visiting London in 1976. On a whim, she decided to fly to Guernsey but became stranded there as a heavy fog descended and no boats or planes were permitted to leave the island. As she waited for the fog to clear, she came across a book called Jersey Under the Jack-Boot, and so her fascination with the Channel Isles began. Many years later, when goaded by her own literary club to write a book, Mary Ann naturally thought of Guernsey. Mary Ann died in February 2008. She knew that this, her only novel, was to be published in thirteen countries. Before she died she wrote, 'I must tender special thanks to my niece, Annie, who stepped in to finish this book after unexpected health issues interrupted my ability to work shortly after the manuscript was sold. Without blinking an eye, she put down the book she was writing, pushed up her sleeves, and set to work on my manuscript. It was my great good luck to have a writer like her in the family, and this book could not have been done without her.' ANNIE BARROWS is the author of the Ivy and Bean series for children, as well as The Magic Half.
8th January, 1946 Mr. Sidney Stark, Publisher Stephens & Stark Ltd. 21 St. James's Place London S.W.1 England
Dear Sidney, Susan Scott is a wonder. We sold over forty copies of the book, which was very pleasant, but much more thrilling from my standpoint was the food. Susan managed to procure ration coupons for icing sugar and real eggs for the meringue. If all her literary luncheons are going to achieve these heights, I won't mind touring about the country. Do you suppose that a lavish bonus could spur her on to butter? Let's try it—you may deduct the money from my royalties.
Now for my grim news. You asked me how work on my new book is progressing. Sidney, it isn't.
English Foibles seemed so promising at first. After all, one should be able to write reams about the Society to Protest the Glorification of the English Bunny. I unearthed a photograph of the Vermin Exterminators' Trade Union, marching down an Oxford street with placards screaming "Down with Beatrix Potter!" But what is there to write about after a caption? Nothing, that's what.
I no longer want to write this book—my head and my heart just aren't in it. Dear as Izzy Bickerstaff is—and was—to me, I don't want to write anything else under that name. I don't want to be considered a light-hearted journalist anymore. I do acknowledge that making readers laugh—or at least chuckle—during the war was no mean feat, but I don't want to do it anymore. I can't seem to dredge up any sense of proportion or balance these days, and God knows one cannot write humor without them. In the meantime, I am very happy Stephens & Stark is making money on Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War. It relieves my conscience over the debacle of my Anne Bront biography.
My thanks for everything and love, Juliet
P.S. I am reading the collected correspondence of Mrs. Montagu. Do you know what that dismal woman wrote to Jane Carlyle? "My dear little Jane, everybody is born with a vocation, and yours is to write charming little notes." I hope Jane spat on her.
From Sidney to Juliet 10th January, 1946 Miss Juliet Ashton 23 Glebe Place Chelsea London S.W. 3
Dear Juliet: Congratulations! Susan Scott said you took to the audience at the luncheon like a drunkard to rum—and they to you—so please stop worrying about your tour next week. I haven't a doubt of your success. Having witnessed your electrifying performance of "The Shepherd Boy Sings in the Valley of Humiliation" eighteen years ago, I know you will have every listener coiled around your little finger within moments. A hint: perhaps in this case, you should refrain from throwing the book at the audience when you finish.
Susan is looking forward to ushering you through bookshops from Bath to Yorkshire. And of course, Sophie is agitating for an extension of the tour into Scotland. I've told her in my most infuriating older-brother manner that It Remains To Be Seen. She misses you terribly, I know, but Stephens & Stark must be impervious to such considerations.
I've just received Izzy's sales figures from London and the Home Counties—they are excellent. Again, congratulations!
Don't fret about English Foibles; better that your enthusiasm died now than after six months spent writing about bunnies. The crass commercial possibilities of the idea were attractive, but I agree that the topic would soon grow horribly fey. Another subject—one you'll like—will occur to you.
Dinner one evening before you go? Say when.
P.S. You write charming little notes.
From Juliet to Sidney 11th January, 1946
Yes, lovely—can it be somewhere on the river? I want oysters and champagne and roast beef, if obtainable; if not, a chicken will do. I am very happy that Izzy's sales are good. Are they good enough that I don't have to pack a bag and leave London?
Since you and S&S have turned me into a moderately successful author, dinner must be my treat.
P.S. I did not throw "The Shepherd Boy Sings in the Valley of Humiliation" at the audience. I threw it at the elocution mistress. I meant to cast it at her feet, but I missed.
From Juliet to Sophie Strachan 12th January, 1946 Mrs. Alexander Strachan Feochan Farm by Oban Argyll
Dear Sophie, Of course I'd adore to see you, but I am a soul-less, will-less automaton. I have been ordered by Sidney to Bath, Colchester, Leeds, and several other garden spots I can't recall at the moment, and I can't just slither off to Scotland instead. Sidney's brow would lower—his eyes would narrow—he would stalk. You know how nerve-racking it is when Sidney stalks.
I wish I could sneak away to your farm and have you coddle me. You'd let me put my feet on the sofa, wouldn't you? And then you'd tuck blankets around me and bring me tea? Would Alexander mind a permanent resident on his sofa? You've told me he is a patient man, but perhaps he would find it annoying.
Why am I so melancholy? I should be delighted at the prospect of reading Izzy to an entranced audience. You know how I love talking about books, and you know how I adore receiving compliments. I should be thrilled. But the truth is that I'm gloomy—gloomier than I ever was during the war. Everything is so broken, Sophie: the roads, the buildings, the people. Especially the people.
This is probably the aftereffect of a horrid dinner party I went to last night. The food was ghastly, but that was to be expected. It was the guests who unnerved me—they were the most demoralizing collection of individuals I've ever encountered. The talk was of bombs and starvation. Do you remember Sarah Morecroft? She was there, all bones and gooseflesh and bloody lipstick. Didn't she use to be pretty? Wasn't she mad for that horse-riding fellow who went up to Cambridge? He was nowhere in evidence; she's married to a doctor with grey skin who clicks his tongue before he speaks. And he was a figure of wild romance compared to my dinner partner, who just happened to be a single man, presumably the last one on earth—oh Lord, how miserably mean-spirited I sound!
I swear, Sophie, I think there's something wrong with me. Every man I meet is intolerable. Perhaps I should set my sights lower—not so low as the grey doctor who clicks, but a bit lower. I can't even blame it on the war—I was never very good at men, was I?
Do you suppose the St. Swithin's furnace-man was my one true love? Since I never spoke to him, it seems unlikely, but at least it was a passion unscathed by disappointment. And he had that beautiful black hair. After that, you remember, came the Year of Poets. Sidney's quite snarky about those poets, though I don't see why, since he introduced me to them. Then poor Adrian. Oh, there's no need to recite the dread rolls to you, but Sophie—what is the matter with me? Am I too particular? I don't want to be married just to be married. 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.
What a dreadful, complaining letter. You see? I've succeeded in making you feel relieved that I won't be stopping in Scotland. But then again, I may—my fate rests with Sidney.
Kiss Dominic for me and tell him I saw a rat the size of a terrier the other day.
Love to Alexander and even more to you, Juliet
From Dawsey Adams, Guernsey, Channel Islands, to Juliet 12th January, 1946 Miss Juliet Ashton 81 Oakley Street Chelsea London S.W. 3
Dear Miss Ashton, My name is Dawsey Adams, and I live on my farm in St. Martin's Parish on Guernsey. I know of you because I have an old book that once belonged to you—the Selected Essays of Elia, by an author whose name in real life was Charles Lamb. Your name and address were written inside the front cover.
I will speak plain—I love Charles Lamb. My own book says Selected, so I wondered if that meant he had written other things to choose from? These are the pieces I want to read, and though the Germans are gone now, there aren't any bookshops left on Guernsey.
I want to ask a kindness of you. Could you send me the name and address of a bookshop in London? I would like to order more of Charles Lamb's writings by post. I would also like to ask if anyone has ever written his life story, and if they have, could a copy be found for me? For all his bright and turning mind, I think Mr. Lamb must have had a great sadness in his life.
Charles Lamb made me laugh during the German Occupation, especially when he wrote about the roast pig. 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.
I am sorry to bother you, but I would be sorrier still not to know about him, as his writings have made me his friend.
Hoping not to trouble you, Dawsey Adams
P.S. My friend Mrs. Maugery bought a pamphlet that once belonged to you, too. It is called Was There a Burning Bush? A Defense of Moses and the Ten Commandments. She liked your margin note, "Word of God or crowd control???" Did you ever decide which?
From Juliet to Dawsey 15th January, 1946 Mr. Dawsey Adams Les Vauxlarens La Bouree St. Martin's, Guernsey
Dear Mr. Adams, I no longer live on Oakley Street, but I'm so glad that your letter found me and that my book found you. It was a sad wrench to part with the Selected Essays of Elia. I had two copies and a dire need of shelf-room, but I felt like a traitor selling it. You have soothed my conscience.
I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.
Because there is nothing I would rather do than rummage through bookshops, I went at once to Hastings & Sons upon receiving your letter. I have gone to them for years, always finding the one book I wanted—and then three more I hadn't known I wanted. I told Mr. Hastings you would like a good, clean copy (and not a rare edition) of More Essays of Elia. He will send it to you by separate post (invoice enclosed) and was delighted to know you are also a lover of Charles Lamb. He said the best biography of Lamb was by E. V. Lucas, and he would hunt out a copy for you, though it may take a while.
In the meantime, will you accept this small gift from me? It is his Selected Letters. I think it will tell you more about him than any biography ever could. E. V. Lucas sounds too stately to include my favorite passage from Lamb: "Buz, buz, buz, bum, bum, bum, wheeze, wheeze, wheeze, fen, fen, fen, tinky, tinky, tinky, cr'annch! I shall certainly come to be condemned at last. I have been drinking too much for two days running. I find my moral sense in the last stage of a consumption and my religion getting faint." You'll find that in the Letters (it's on page 244). They were the first Lamb I ever read, and I'm ashamed to say I only bought the book because I'd read elsewhere that a man named Lamb had visited his friend Leigh Hunt, in prison for libeling the Prince of Wales.
While there, Lamb helped Hunt paint the ceiling of his cell sky blue with white clouds. Next they painted a rose trellis up one wall. Then, I further discovered, Lamb offered money to help Hunt's family outside the prison—though he himself was as poor as a man could be. Lamb also taught Hunt's youngest daughter to say the Lord's Prayer backward. You naturally want to learn everything you can about a man like that.
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.
The red stain on the cover that looks like blood—is blood. I got careless with my paper knife. The enclosed postcard is a reproduction of a painting of Lamb by his friend William Hazlitt.
If you have time to correspond with me, could you answer several questions? Three, in fact. Why did a roast pig dinner have to be kept a secret? How could a pig cause you to begin a literary society? And, most pressing of all, what is a potato peel pie—and why is it included in your society's name?
I have sub-let a flat at 23 Glebe Place, Chelsea, London S.W.3. My Oakley Street flat was bombed in 1945 and I still miss it. Oakley Street was wonderful—I could see the Thames out of three of my windows. I know that I am fortunate to have any place at all to live in London, but I much prefer whining to counting my blessings. I am glad you thought of me to do your Elia hunting.
Yours sincerely, Juliet Ashton
P.S. I never could make up my mind about Moses—it still bothers me.
From Juliet to Sidney 18th January, 1946
Dear Sidney, This isn't a letter: it's an apology. Please forgive my moaning about the teas and luncheons you set up for Izzy. Did I call you a tyrant? I take it all back—I love Stephens & Stark for sending me out of London.
Bath is a glorious town: lovely crescents of white, upstanding houses instead of London's black, gloomy buildings or—worse still—piles of rubble that were once buildings. It is bliss to breathe in clean, fresh air with no coal smoke and no dust. The weather is cold, but it isn't London's dank chill. Even the people on the street look different—upstanding, like their houses, not grey and hunched like Londoners.
Susan said the guests at Abbot's book tea enjoyed themselves immensely—and I know I did. I was able to un-stick my tongue from the roof of my mouth after the first two minutes and began to have quite a good time.
Susan and I are off tomorrow for bookshops in Colchester, Norwich, King's Lynn, Bradford, and Leeds.
Love and thanks, Juliet
From Juliet to Sidney 21st January, 1946 Dear Sidney,
Night-time train travel is wonderful again! No standing in the corridors for hours, no being shunted off for a troop train to pass, and above all, no black-out curtains. All the windows we passed were lighted, and I could snoop once more. I missed it so terribly during the war. I felt as if we had all turned into moles scuttling along in our separate tunnels. I don't consider myself a real peeper—they go in for bedrooms, but it's families in sitting rooms or kitchens that thrill me. I can imagine their entire lives from a glimpse of bookshelves, or desks, or lit candles, or bright sofa cushions.
" 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." 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.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is one of the most lovely and charming reads I've had in a long while. Not since Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (Fannie Flagg), have I become so instantly infatuated with the characters. This book is a series of short letters written between the main character, Juliet, and the new friends she makes on Guernsey Island in the English Channel. Their letters are not only charming and laugh out loud funny at times, but they touch on the subject of the German occupation of the island during the war and the effect it has on it's residence. You will fall in love with the island of Guernsey and finish the book wanting to pack up your belongings and move in with the lovely residents. I highly recommend this book for a light, yet incredibly touching story.
I purchased this novel on a whim, and didn’t have too many expectations of it. What a revelation! It turned out to be one of the best books I’ve read in ages! A fantastic story, told entirely through letters, that reveals the suffering the Channel Islands experienced in WW2, but also shows the great character and resilience of the Islands
I’m not going to say anymore as I don’t want to spoil anything. But please, if you enjoy an entertaining novel, give this one a try. I loved it!
This is about a writer who travels to Guernsey just after the end of the Second World War and falls in love with the place and the courage of its islanders during the German occupation. Written in an epistolary form, it allows the writer to let the characters tell their own stories of the occupation.
Dawsey Adams owns a farm and likes the writings of Charles Lamb. This is a theme of the book that everyone has a favourite author. For Isola she talks to Juliet of her biography of Anne Bronte. Eben, a tombstone carver, likes Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Dickens. Clovis wants to learn poetry to impress a lady and looks to Catullus a Roman Poet and the war poetry of Wilfred Owen. John Brooker who takes on the persona of his employer Tobias Penn-Piers, reads the letters of Seneca. The founder of the society is Elizabeth, who we never see as she is captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp. Dawsey tells the reader how during the war the Germans confiscated all food provisions including any livestock. When Mrs Maugery calls him and tells him she has a pig and bring a butcher’s knife they gather the neighbour’s and have a feast. Coming home after curfew a little worse for wear they are caught by the Germans who demand to know where they have been. Elizabeth proclaims they have been at the inaugural meeting of the literary society. They had been reading Elizabeth and her German Garden, a book which I’m sure doesn’t exist, but placated the guards.
In part one Juliet remains in the UK and the letters are sent back and forth. She also gains an admirer in the form of Markham Reynolds, a suave, intelligent American who sends her flowers and takes her out to dinner. Their relationship reaches a crunch point when he asks her to marry him and she is not sure. When she travels to Guernsey we see his more controlling side. This is a beautiful contrast to the simplicity and unassuming nature of the islanders.
Each character has their own use of language and some are more opinionated than others. Adele Addison disapproves of Elizabeth due to her liaison with a German Officer, but Remy who resides in the detainment camp with her speaks of her courage. Isola speaks of men being more interesting in books than in real life and is dismayed someone has not introduced her to Jane Austen. Dawsey is portrayed as not very well educated, especially when contrasted with Juliet’s American suitor, but he still reads Charles Lamb.
Witty and engaging this is a beautiful easy read, celebrating the courage of an island through the eyes of its residents and the curiosity of a writer. What makes this more poignant is the fact that the author died before the final edit and it was her niece that completed the book.
What a brilliant book presented as an exchange of letters from a young authoress to the members of the Guernsey literary society and her mainland friends and colleagues during the WW11 German occupation of Guernsey. An eye opener for those of us who did not realise the impact the occupation had on the Channel Islanders. After an hour or so reading, I felt that I knew the characters and was hooked. Alongside the deprevations of war, the cruelty in the concentration camps and the duplicity of a few traitorous locals selling information to the Germans for favours, there is much humour and a slowly emerging love story. Nice is not a nice word, but very occasionally it is exactly the right word. This is a nice book.
Don't let the quirky title fool you into thinking that this is a lightweight book. Yes the characters are unusual and there are many humorous incidents but underlying everything is the story of the occupation of Guernsey during world war two. Just as in real life some awful things happen and some lovely things happen. The story also blurs the lines between friend and enemy and shows the complications of maintaining humanity in desperate circumstances.
This is a book that people I know seem to either love or hate, I liked it being from Guernsey myself. It's a love story told in the form of letters or telegrams sent back & forth, I did get confused with who was who with the constant changing names but towards the end began to grasp it. It's not a long read but has a proper story to tell about the nazi occupation of Guernsey & I learnt some history along the way.
It's probably not a true story but will be part truths about things that really happened at that time. This is being made into a film with big name actors shortly, so get a heads up on it now
I only purchased this book because of the title - it intrigued me - then shortly after purchasing I saw a trailer for the movie so figured I'd better move it up my "to be read" list. I wasn't aware that this was an epistolary novel on purchasing and this did throw up a couple of issues for me - not the nature of the reading or the layout of the book, but rather the fact that the only distinct voice was that of Juliet. The letters to her from all other sources do not have a sufficiently distinct "voice" to make the book really work; the one exception being Adelaide Addison and even then you can still feel the author(s) beneath the words.
What the format does do very well is give you a sense of time and place that the events are unfolding in. It also allows multiple threads to unfold at the same time without ever really blurring them in to each other. I did feel in places that 21st Century morality had been superimposed on to the year immediately post the second world war (this was particularly true in the case of how one character's homosexuality was dealt with). On the whole the time period did feel generally realistic and Juliet Ashton makes for an exceptionally likeable protagonist.
What the authors have done well is to gently introduce us to themes and ideas without beating us over the head with them. The overarching thread is one that deals with the German Occupation of Guernsey and the privations suffered by the Islanders at the time. This gently unfolds in the form of letters to Juliet from first Dawsey Adams and then a complete avalanche from the other members of the Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society, each giving their experience of the Occupation and how the books they read helped them through and brought them together as a community.
It is a rich book that I enjoyed but somehow I felt a little let down by it all in the end. I would recommend it to another reader but it doesn't make my re-read list.
A beautifully crafted book. I really liked that the story is told through a series of letters as this reflects the period after WW2 when letters were either typed or handwritten and the key means of communication. The plot is thought provoking and informative of the time, without being too mauling and depressive. It led to smiles and tears. Difficult to imagine how awful it was to live through the occupation. The main character, Juliet, is likeable and is the pivot around which the story revolves. Whilst there is a romance within the story, this is almost a sub-plot to the story of the brave and stoical islanders. Whilst I loved the book, I'm not sure I want to see the film in case it lessens the impact.
5つ星のうち5.0Great book - now I want to go to Guernsey. Like, desperately.
I adored The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. Absolutely adored it. I was up all night reading it, and now have a desperate need to go to Guernsey. It was just honestly so brilliant. It was one of those books where you say “daaamn” when you finish it, and are then too excited to sleep (even though it’s like, 3am, because you couldn’t. Stop. Reading).
I was initially a little unsure because I watched the first 30 minutes of the film… Why just the first 30 minutes you say? Because it was sodding terrible, so after that I decided enough was enough, I wasn’t wasting any more of my time, and turned it off. I honestly want a refund. It was utter poop. Why, just why, did the actress playing Juliet keep giggling for no reason? And having now read the book, why on earth did they make the relationship between Juliet and Markham seem so happy? Why weren’t there people there to greet her on the pier when she arrived in Guernsey? They changed the storyline substantially, which made it poop, and then it made no sense whatsoever. No. Just no…
And then the book arrived…
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society is poignant, moving, romantic, sweet, and uplifting. It’s also unflinching, and relatively historically accurate – there are definitely some hard-hitting moments. It was utterly unlike anything else I’ve read. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I fell in love with the characters, and through the use of the letter form you got a real sense of their voice. They were each so unique, and beautifully crafted, and the relationships between them had a very tangible warmth. I enjoyed the way they grew through the story arc, and I thought the pacing on that was perfect. You want to feel that things happened “naturally”. I particularly liked what was left out of the letters. I think it added to the authenticity, as you felt the letters might actually have been curated to tell a story. I also think, when it comes to the characters, that you could put together a case for feminist undertones. But it was pretty subtle. You didn’t feel at any point that the author had a point to make. It was all about telling a good story. But the touches of feminism, and of LGBT, gave it a modernity and timelessness which I think historical fiction needs in order to be relevant.
I loved the historical details, which not only gave the story a stage and a backdrop, but were integral to the actual plot. The characters were just so well contextualised, but yet didn’t feel dated. It was casually tactile, in the careful use of snippets of detail about the way things looked, smelled, felt. Too much detail, you start to wonder if anyone would actually put that in a letter; too little, and you lose the interconnectedness between place, time, and plot. It was skilfully done. I think I fell in love with the place, as much as the characters. Seriously, I’m going to Guernsey now… This book has clearly done wonders for their tourism industry…
The romance was heart warming and hopeful. And handled in a way that felt authentic, but wasn’t too touchy-feely. I really don’t have time for people emoting all over the show… Not my cup of tea! This wasn’t in any way over the top. I think what was more special though, was the friendship element to the plot. I don’t read a lot of books where adult friendships are given real space… I thought that was beautiful.
It had a predictability about it, which I found comforting. When you’re rooting for a character, you want it all to work out. But along the way, it was by no means all happy endings and there were a few little surprises.
This was one of those books that touches you. Skip the movie, read the book. But definitely read the book!
I never usually read this type of story but I was advised by a friend of mine to try it and I was enchanted from the beginning. Juliet a journalist/writer/reader receives a letter from Dawsey a man who has picked up a book she read and lost as a young woman. He also enjoys the works from Charles Adams and the book is a mixture of correspondence not just from him but from her to her friends, publisher (friend) and what slowly becomes friendships from those of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. This story made me sit up and pay attention to the suffering of those during and after the German occupation in Guernsey and the after affects of those on the island and in London also. I won't give away the story but it is wonderful to read and I loved it all so much that I now intend to visit Guernsey as I have Jersey. History needs to not be repeated and we have to learn from our past.
5つ星のうち3.0Well written and entertaining, but a bit predictable
Having a lot of family history bound up with the island (eg my Great Grandparents both died on Guernsey in 1943 whilst the occupation still had two more years to run) there was no way I wasn't gong to read this book - despite many intelligent people having warned me it was complete c***p. In fact, the story is told (very eloquently) as correspondence. The authors write witty, entertaining letters with a beautifully light touch. This is the book's great strength.
It's great weakness is that it is a romance that slavishly conforms to all the usual conventions. The hero is the 'strong, silent type', a comedy of errors and misunderstandings delays the lovers declaring their feelings for each other until the last few pages. It's entirely obvious how the book is going to end from less than half way through. There were some good laugh-out-loud moments, but equally there were others so syrupy (eg around the curly haired toddler) that I occasionally felt myself cringe. I'm a little negative because I rarely read romances and hadn't been expecting one when I picked this up.
I wanted something light to read this week, as my usual thriller/crime genre would not have been appropriate. I also needed to get this read before I watched the film.... which didn't happen, by about 80 pages. (IF YOU LIKE THE BOOK DON'T WATCH THE FILM)! I started this book, and I loved it, straight away!
John Booker's letter in May 1946 was so very sad, and then the last line of that letter, made me smile a bitter sweet kind of smile. I don't enjoy reading about the war (I find it boring and unnecessarily upsetting- why make yourself sad??), and I don't think I will make it a habit, but it was interesting and humbling to read the stories the islanders all shared.
I dislike- War stories, Love stories, Stories where there isn't a killer to catch, Stories where everyone is nice and unrealistic.... This book was all these things, but I think it is one of my new favourites. I am dismayed to learn that the author is no longer around to write more, although I suspect I'd not enjoy another, and that this is a one time thing for me. This isn't my book, I've to give it back now. But I think I may buy my own copy and re-read often.
SPOILER * * * * When Remy writes to the Society about Elizabeth, it was so sad. So very sad, but it just affirmed my liking of Elizabeth even more.
When Sidney told Isola he was homosexual, I was so surprised! SO, surprised! I was rooting for Juliet and Sidney to get together in the end (even though I love Dawsey), and this just shattered that dream!! I had to stop reading for a moment to digest that it wouldn't happen. I love Sidney, and I love the relationship him and Juliet have.
5つ星のうち5.0As I am going to see the film next week I thought I would read the book.
All I can say is I hope the film lives up to the book which I enjoyed immensely. The characters are so well drawn. I was truly sorry when the book ended. I became totally immersed in it. What a terrible time the Guernsey islanders had. One of the true joys of my childhood was every summer when the Guernsey tomatoes became available they tasted like no other and the sweetness and taste was memorable I often used to wonder what the island was like and now more than ever I would love to visit.
Beautiful, shallow, and witty. It treats a tragic period, and subject, with frivolous humor and sensitivity. Although riotously funny and surprisingly uplifting, it was a reminder, all be it a fictional one, of the durability of the human spirit in the face of unspeakable evil. Today, we still live in fractured, unpleasant times. I write this on a visit to Hong Kong, once a peaceful jewel. Politicians still start wars, lie out of ignorance or malevolence, and steal and cheat with impunity, but somehow survive their malfeasance. Thanks largely to misrule, cruelty, and death have never left us. The enemies of liberty and freedom are never long vanquished. It was nice to escape into these delightful letters for a few glorious hours while enjoying the beauty of Victoria Harbour (that is not a spelling mistake. Her Majesty spelt it so). PS Error Page 109: "Isola told me you that might come to Guernsey.”
I'd read this book before and reread it this time for a book group. I enjoyed it just as much this time - it has an interesting concept, all written in the form of letters to and from the main characters so you had to read 'between the lines' a little. I found it fascinating as it described what happened in Guernsey during WW2 when they were occupied by the Germans - the only part of Britain in which this happened I think. It managed a decent level of detail without being dry and didn't portray the Germans as all being 'monsters' (although some were very mean). It's not a long book but if you like this letter writing style you'll enjoy it
I had watched and thoroughly enjoyed the film of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, so was eager to read the book as well. I found it to be an original read, with the whole story being told through a series of letters, notes, and journal entries. The characters – both main and secondary – jumped off the page. Many of them were either larger than life or a little quirky which made for a delightfully unusual story. There were a mixture of humorous and sometimes slightly ridiculous (in a good way) anecdotes, as well as some quite serious and distressing details. The film had sanitised somewhat, as well as leaving out, much of the recounting of the occupation of Guernsey during the war, and the treatment of those who found themselves prisoners of the Nazis. However, this was carefully mixed in with the rest of the story and, as someone of a sensitive nature, I didn’t find that it was more than I could handle. The one thing that did really surprise me about the book was that it was written by an American author. With the help of her editorial team she did very well to make the book sound British though, although I did notice that the odd American word (as well as the occasional anachronistic one) had crept through and that some of the names sounded rather bizarre for British characters. However, that is the only – very minor – criticism I can make of the book, and it is one that can be pretty easily overlooked as the book is such an interesting and enjoyable read. I can highly recommend this novel.