Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Geurnsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows *Review*

I am enchanted. I want to grab my passport, hop a ship (yes, a ship,). and sail to the Channel Islands. I want to live in Guernsey.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society has become my favorite book so far this year. A very rare 5 star book.

The novel, written entirely in letters, starts out with Juliet conversing with her best friends Sophie and Sidney. Sidney is Sophie's brother and Juliet's editor who has sent her on a book tour.

Then a letter comes from Dawsey in Guernsey, a fan of Juliet and a fellow admirer of author Charles Lamb. Having something in common, they start to write each other quite often. In Dawsey's letters he writes about a society he is a member of- The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. Juliet is intrigued and wants to know more. Dawsey convinces other members of The Society to write Juliet to tell her about how a group of people during the war came to become a book club of sorts. The Society's members not only inundate Juliet with letters they encourage her to come for a visit.

Feeling she has found new friends, and wanting to learn more about the Island, it's inhabitants, and its German Occupation during the war (could there be a book in it?), Juliet consents.

The characters in this novel were so well drawn I felt like I had known them for years. They felt like my friends. I found myself cheering them on, hurting for them when they were grieving, and laughing at their antics. I loved Dawsey, the quiet, reserved, gentle man whom Juliet first encounters; Kit, the wary 4-year-old; Elizabeth, Kit's mother who was so brave and full of love for everybody; and especially Isola, the quirky, neighborhood busybody who made me laugh throughout the novel.

I was saddened to come to the last page of this book and leave my friends behind but I was so glad I had finally decided to read it.

If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and do so right away. I know you will love these wonderful people of Guernsey just as I did.

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