If you haven't heard of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (assisted by her niece, Annie Barrows), then let me tell you about it. I first learned of it during the Booking It updates over at Life as MOM. After reading the first review I was intrigued, but figured that it would be another romance-novel-esqe story and I probably wouldn't like it. After hearing Jessica's review of it, I decided it might be worth a try. I'm so glad I gave it a chance!
One thing I didn't realize (or didn't pay close attention to in the reviews) was the format that author used - you are reading other people's letters (reminds me now of The Jolly Postman books - will have to recommend those one Wednesday!). It's a fascinating and attention-keeping way to write a book, not to mention different. I loved it! Without getting bogged down in reading descriptions of people, you are sucked into the world of Guernsey during the German occupation of WWII (told post-occupation) and before you know it, you are falling for the book's main and sub-characters: Juliet, Sidney, Isola, Dawsey, Eben, Sophie, Mark, Eli, Amelia, Elizabeth, Kit, Christian, Remy, and more.
About mid-way through the book, just when I thought, "Well this is a nice, light-hearted read...", Ms. Shaffer pulled the rug out from under me in a way I never expected. Even with a happy ending, she doesn't go lightly over the heartaches of WWII. Shaffer included the ugliest, darkest sides of the war in the "Potato Peel Pie" story. Although the book is a work of fiction, the war was not - nor were the travesties that occurred in concentration camps and in Nazi-occupied areas. She did an excellent job of incorporating truth and reality with fiction and made-up characters.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it made me want to learn more about the Island of Guernsey and the German occupation during the War. While there were a couple of things I think could have been written differently to tidy-up the story, I would say that Ms. Shaffer did an excellent job on her first (and only) novel. I was sorry to read that she passed away before it was published as I would like to have read more of her work. She had a gift for creating memorable, like-able characters and weaving an idea into a beautiful story. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was a very quick read (I did it in two days - with an interruption - but could have read it in one if I had the time) and I was sorry to see it end. Head to your local library or purchase a copy (new or used) from Amazon and then tell me what you think of it! For more suggestions and book reviews, check out the August Booking It post over at Life as MOM.
All Amazon links are part of the Amazon Associates program...but all opinions are my own.