Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, TheShaffer, Mary Ann
As London emerges from the shadow of the Second World War, writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. When her publisher passes on a letter from a man she's never met - a native of Guernsey who has come across her name written inside a book - they begin to exchange letters. Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends who under German occupation formed the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Juliet corresponds with the society's members, learning about their island, their taste in books and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives.
Comments from GroupsWe all enjoyed the book-loved the author's turn of phrase. Light in style even though some of the content is heavy in nature. Auckland 255 Enjoyed by all. One member remembered the war and rationing. Discussed portrayal of characters, great humour, love affairs, living with the enemy, cruelty and kindness, occupation, etc. Northland 002Loved by us all. Several of us had read it before and loved it just as much the second time round. Motueka 002 All enjoyed the book. Found that the letter form was a good way of getting to know multiple characters, especially characters who were quiet and shy. Discussion flowed well. Notes and questions good. Huntly 001One of the most successful books we have had. It was enjoyed by all with everyone having learnt about the appalling conditions in Guernsey during the war, but also delighted by the light touch Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Borrows had in creating a wonderful group of utterly real characters. Wellington 031 The majority of the group enjoyed the book. However, one or two found the letter format somewhat off-putting.There was a need to check often who she was actually writing to, and there was a large number of characters to keep track of. But, those who finished the book (two didn't) found an interesting insight into an aspect of the second World War not well-known. Christchurch 317 Everyone was very positive about the book. Although many aspects of the story were sad and grim, the style was surprisingly effective with the unfolding of the story, and the development of the characters. A few bits seemed a little contrived, but overall a big tick. Auckland 307 A fascinating style of writing and an enjoyable format for a change. Good characterisation over a range of personality types - we found it thoroughly enjoyable and easy to read. The trauma and drama of war was well interwoven without too much horror. Christchurch 240 For the most part our group loved this book. Discussion involved the lost art of letter-writing, the importance of community and the role of women during and after the war. Wellington 185 A delightful and refreshing style of writing. Enjoyed by all. There is now the temptation to visit Guernsey for oneself! Christchurch 304 We liked the book. Had differing opinions on Dawsey's qualities, attributes and suitability! Governor's Bay 003 What a delightful book. In spite of there being lots of characters it was easy to follow. The beginning was a bit laborious but then it flows. The discussion didn't really flow however, despite everyone agreeing it was a good read - maybe no real substance? Carterton 001 We really enjoyed this book. There was a lot of history we were unaware of, and it inspired us to find out a bit more about Guernsey. It was a beautifully told story and the epistolary style was enjoyed. Auckland 319 Wow! The first book (in 18 months) that was well received by EVERYONE at our meeting! We enjoyed the story, the quirky characters, the letter-writing format, the history lessons, and the struggle through adversity with humour and kindness intact. Highly recommended! Tararua 001 We loved the book. It was a very easy read, and stimulated further research and a lively discussion. We played Vera Lynn in the background of our meeting, ate French and English cheeses, and the hostess decorated her house with Union Jacks! Auckland 385 One member 'just couldn't get into it'; some struggled initially but then, like all the others, thoroughly enjoyed this book. We all learnt things about the war and particularly about Guernsey, that we had no idea about. The writing was very clever, and we felt it must be very difficult to write a book this way, as each character has to be portrayed well in each letter. It was both a humorous and sobering read. Balclutha 001