When this book was book of the month at my book group, I sighed. Generally speaking I do not like books written as a series of letters. I also try to avoid books that are collaborative, with more than one author. However, this was the designated book and I knew Mary Ann Schaffer by reputation, I decided to make an exception.
It's 1946. The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer's block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – a total stranger living far away in the English Channel, who has come across her name written in a second hand book – she enters into a correspondence with him, and in time with all the members of the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Through their letters, the society tell Juliet about life on the island, their love of books – and the long shadow cast by their time living under German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for the island, changing her life forever.
Juliet begins a correspondence with members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. She is fascinated by the island, the group's taste in books, and the issues they encountered during the recent German occupation. She is so captivated by their stories, she travels to for Guernsey, and what she experiences changes her outlook on life.
I am so glad that I did not discard this book because it did not meet my preconceived prejudices.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is written with warmth and humour. It is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connections in the most surprising ways. It may be a little syrupy for some tastes but it is a terrific feel-good novel and I highly recommend it.
Mary Ann Shaffer is an American writer, editor, librarian, and bookshop worker. She was born on January 1, 1938 in Martinsburg, West Virginia. She is noted for this work which was posthumously-published. She became very ill during the writing process of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and died on February 1, 2008.
It was her niece, Annie Barrows who was responsible for the later revisions required by the editor. Annie Barrows is also an American editor and author. She is best known for the Ivy and Bean series of children’s books, but she has written several other books for adult readers as well. She was born in San Diego, California in 1962.