So it’s been more than a week─ eleven days, to be precise─ since my last post, but I trust that you will all forgive me due to your overwhelming capacity for… er… forgiveness… And the fact that my wi-fi has been nonexistent. And there you are, folks! Eden’s made a mess of the post already!
What I mean to say is, I’ve decided to try a new sort of formatting for my review-esque posts and would like your opinion on them. My gut says that you’ll like it better, since it involves a great deal more structure and sense while still including all of my endearing rambling (note the sarcasm) but I suppose that my gut could be wrong. What a positively scary thought. So, let me know below if this works better for you all!
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author(s): Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Genre: Fiction/historical fiction
Language: Mild. There was the occasional use of a few swear words, but, in my opinion, nothing that would cause ones grandmother’s ears to bleed. I’m not a fan of reading things like that, and it was by no means enough to repel me from such a lovely book.
Heat Level (on a scale of 1-5): 1. This was an epistolary novel, meaning that it was written entirely in letters─for those of you at home that are wondering─so there wasn’t really a chance for much of that, anyway. There was a sweet, unassuming little romance that only really blossomed towards the very end, and wasn’t even realized mutually until the last few pages, so there weren’t even hugs or kisses. Very clean in that respect.
Violence (1-5): I’d give this one a solid 2. It was set in the aftermath of WWII, so there were a few brief descriptions of the horrifying things that happened in that time, but no unnecessary details that left one feeling traumatized.
Age Range: this is considered adult fiction, but I would say that anyone over 13 years old could read it, depending on maturity level and what their parents’ll allow.
Juliet Ashton is a thirty-two-year-old writer living in London, England in 1946. She spends her time writing light pieces for a women’s magazine, and wishes for something with more substance to write about. After going through a few ideas─ a book entitled English Foibles, about the Society to Protest the Glorification of the English Bunny, to name one─ she receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Addams, a Guernsey man, who possesses a book that she used to own and belongs to something created during the way called the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. She is intrigued, and the two strike up a correspondence, over the course of which Juliet learns that Guernsey was a German occupied island from 1939-1945, and that a group of friends had created the GL&PPS as a cover-up for a covert pig dinner, at which they were almost caught by a Nazi officer.
Juliet begins corresponding with several members of the GL&PPS and a few other inhabitant of Guernsey. Among them are some of the most dynamic characters that I have had the pleasure of reading, including but not limited to; Isola Pribby, eccentric, goat-and-parrot-owning, Pride and Prejudice loving woman who is so endearing and, in her own way, rather the hero of this tale; Sidney Stark, lovely, funny, and the quintessential best friend for Juliet; Mark Reynolds, who I was never quite sure if I liked or disliked, and, even though he wasn’t in very much of the book, whose character never faded; and, of course, Dawsey, who seems like one of the kindest, most thoughtful men in existence, and one that I would dearly love to meet. As I would all of these people─ even Adelaide Addison, if for no other reason than the way she was so vividly depicted through her two memorable letters.
Eventually, Juliet decides to take a trip to Guernsey─ a decision that would change both her life, and the lives of everyone whom she meets there. She stays in the house of Elizabeth McKenna, a witty, vibrant, vivacious woman whom the whole island loves and doesn’t know where she is, only that she was imprisoned for her crimes against the Nazi regime. Elizabeth’s five-year-old daughter, Kit, stays on at the cottage with Juliet, and the two form a reluctant but iron-strong bond that just melted my heart. One thing that I loved about this novel─while Kit was plenty adorable, she wasn’t perfect, and that spoke volumes about not only the creativity of the authors, but also their originality. Too often the characters of children are portrayed as these sweet, abandoned, misunderstood little angels, and that simply isn’t realistic. Kit was exactly as I think a child who had her life should be.
This is a charming, heartwarming novel. It’s happy without being fluffy, but at the same time serious when it needs to be, without being absolutely tragic. It left me with a satisfied feeling, only hindered because I wanted more! I want to know about what happens with Juliet, and Kit, and Dawsey, and Isola, and Zenobia the parrot, and Remy and Sidney─ but I suppose these things must be left to my imagination. There was by no means a cliffhanger ending; I’m just experiencing that common affliction that befalls one after they have read a particularly wonderful book… that feeling of loving the world that they’ve been immersed in for the past however many days, or even hours, so much that it seems almost a burden to come back to their own.
Would I Recommend It? Yes, yes, a million times, yes! Do yourself a favor and read the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as soon as possible!