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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Paperback – May 5, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Shaffer's debut novel, written with her niece Barrow, is an original account of one writer's relationship with a member of a unique book club formed as an alibi to protect its members from arrest at the hands of the Nazis during WWII. With a small cast of gifted narrators including Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerdan, John Lee, Rosalyn Landor and the enjoyable Juliet Mills, this production is first-class from top to bottom. The narrators' British dialects, each quite regional and equally as different as they are ear-pleasing, serve the story well and allow Shaffer's words to leap from the page into the hearts and minds of her listeners. The final result is an almost theatrical experience with a plethora of enthusiastic performances. A Dial Press hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 21).(July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
“Traditional without seeming stale, and romantic without being naïve” (San Francisco Chronicle), this epistolary novel, based on Mary Ann Shaffer’s painstaking, lifelong research, is a homage to booklovers and a nostalgic portrayal of an era. As her quirky, loveable characters cite the works of Shakespeare, Austen, and the Brontës, Shaffer subtly weaves those writers’ themes into her own narrative. However, it is the tragic stories of life under Nazi occupation that animate the novel and give it its urgency; furthermore, the novel explores the darker side of human nature without becoming maudlin. The Rocky Mountain News criticized the novel’s lighthearted tone and characterizations, but most critics agreed that, with its humor and optimism, Guernsey “affirms the power of books to nourish people during hard times” (Washington Post).
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Lucky me, I got to read it while visiting Guernsey!
Was this book worth the Kindle Price? $8.63 USD. Yup, absolutely!
Is it a page turner? Yes.
Did I want to be reading this book when I wasn't reading this book? Yes.
Did I learn anything from this book?
Yes, loved all the information so subtly provided about the German occupation. It's like a history book without the boring bits.
Did I think about this book after I was finished reading.
Yes, it has stayed with me. It's been a month since I put it down but I still do think of it. Luckily, I was able to get a fridge magnet of the book cover while in Guernsey.
My only negative comment - now this may sound petty as I really did enjoy all the books and all the characters! But I did notice they all have the same voice. We don't all write letters in the same style and this was not reflected in the book. All the letters were written in the same particular witty style. Made for good fun reading but I did find that a bit strange as like I said, we do all write differently!
I had forgotten what huge fan I was of epistolary novels, until diving into this book. The writing used immediately brought back memories of a few of my favorite childhood reads. It took little effort before I became utterly captivated by this page turner.
The authors ability to verbally paint the characters left me imagining distinct voices for each of them. This read felt as though I was watching a play, as the story unfolded one page at time. However, consider yourself warned, this book caused a few late nights and very rough mornings because I was incapable of putting it down.
I agree with a few of the other reviews, I wanted this story to be longer. Following this book I had an extremely difficult time finding another that I could really dive into because I NEEDED more from Mary Ann Shaffer. Her touching story about a community coming together during dark times took me on a roller coaster of emotions and will be at the top of my list of recommended reads for anyone who likes historical fiction and enjoys epistolary novels such as the 'Dear America' series by Ellen Emerson White.
I rarely write reviews and I was not compensated in any way, shape, or form to do so, which I hope speaks volumes of my sincere fondness for this book.
"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" is a book that took me by surprise. Being an epistolary novel, I wasn't expecting an abundance of detail or character development. I suppose I was expecting a chatty and carefree book that just skimmed over the tops of things. It was chatty and it was carefree in parts, but oh, it was so much more.
The characters didn't just write letters that barely touched on their experiences during the German Occupation (in Guernsey), what had happened during the war in London or with what was going on in their current lives. They delved right in and gave a tremendous amount of details. Some stories made you laugh out loud, some made you furious or shocked and some even brought you to tears. I think what touched me the most is that these types of stories really DID occur during WW2. They aren't far-fetched situations that would never have happened - they DID happen. THAT'S what brought me to tears on more than one occasion.
There is just so much that I could say about this book. Lol I don't even know how to express properly how awesome I truly thought it was. It is a multi-faceted gem that I am thrilled that I FINALLY discovered.