Author: Mary Ann shaffer and Annie Barrows
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.
GEMS: A completely engaging story from start to finish. A core group of developed characters mingled with history grounded in a ‘real-life’ account that brings the era alive through the eyes of average citizens. Although heroic in their survival, the characters in the story are not over-played or over-sympathetic or fantastic. Instead, the story rightfully depicts the life of several people during a time of war, each having their own unique story and coping skills that is beautifully developed through friendship, community, love and morality, as well as humor. The heavy, and otherwise dreary themes are lightened, but not cheapened by the use of clever comic relief that is refreshing and inserted in just the right spot to make a heart-wrenching story tolerable. Instead of being drug down by the topic, the story is uplifted and inspiring without taking away from the seriousness of the subject or historical period.
FLAWS: I’m having a hard time finding anything to write in this section of my review. Although in my opinion, it is not truly a con, I will say that the story is a bit predictable. Given that it is told through letters, it is forced to go along a fairly predicable course, which leads to an obvious outcome. However, this did not take away from the wonderful story, mostly because it was interesting and did not need twists and action surprises to keep me hooked. However, if you’re hoping for a final zing, it’s not coming — it will end how you think it will end, but it still feels right and in my humble opinion, agreeable.
Bitsy Rating: 5 Stars