Monday, January 19, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

This book is written as a series of letters about the WWII occupation of the Channel Islands by the Germans. Juliet Ashton is a writer, famous for her humorous columns during the way. As she seeks for a more serious topic to write about after the end of the war, she is contacted by a gentleman from the Channel Islands, Dawsey, a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. They begin a correspondence, and as Juliet asks more questions about the Society, Dawsey puts her in touch with the other members. In addition to their letters, Juliet writes back and forth with her publisher, as well as Mark, a wealthy admirer. The focus, however, is on the Society, which was created on the fly by a woman named Elizabeth when its members were questioned by the Nazis about their meetings. As Juliet digs further, she learns more about occupied life - and discovers that Elizabeth was taken away and remains missing despite the war's end. This charming book reminded me quite a bit of 84, Charing Cross Road - both because of the frequent talk of rationing, but also because of the shared love of books and reading across water. I am a fan of the lost art of letter writing, and am quickly taken in by all books that take this format. There is a lot to this one -from politics to love. It left me feeling quaint and warm, and wanting to join a book club of my own.

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