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The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

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diamondlil
Bibliomaniac

Postby diamondlil » Thu September 4th, 2008, 12:27 am

No worries! :)
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There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton

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Kailana
Reader
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Contact:

Postby Kailana » Sat September 6th, 2008, 5:42 am

I just finished this book and I quite enjoyed it! I will review it one of these days and be sure to post it here!

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LCW
Compulsive Reader
Location: Southern California

Postby LCW » Tue September 16th, 2008, 4:34 pm

I finished this last night and loved it! What a great little book. It's going on the keeper shelf for sure!
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

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lindymc
Reader

Postby lindymc » Tue September 16th, 2008, 6:18 pm

"1lila1" wrote:I finished this last night and loved it! What a great little book. It's going on the keeper shelf for sure!


I, too, finished this book yesterday evening, and also decided it was a keeper. I think the book is really remarkable in that it covers a period in history (Nazi occupation of Guernsey Island) that is truly a time of despair, fear, cold, hunger and cruelty -- yet this novel is full of joy, hope, humor, warmth, and love. An incredible story, delightfully told.
Last edited by lindymc on Tue September 16th, 2008, 8:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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LCW
Compulsive Reader
Location: Southern California

Postby LCW » Tue September 16th, 2008, 7:43 pm

I resisted reading this for a while as I thought the format was just, well, weird! I've never read a novel that was entirely composed of correspondence between the characters. All I can say is: I was wrong! So wrong! This turned out to be one of the best novels I've read all year.

The novel centers around Juliet, a writer who spent WWII writing a humorous column under a pseudonym helping to bring some much needed comic relief to war-torn England. After the war Juliet is a bit lost and doesn't know which direction to take for her upcoming novel. By chance she receives correspondence from Dawsey, a farmer on Guernsey who happens to have his hands on a book that used to belong to Juliet. He writes her seeking information on finding more works by that author.

Through their correspondence we find that Dawsey is a member of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a reading group that formed during the desperate days of the German occupation of Guernsey. Eventually more and more members correspond with Juliet and we, the readers, are treated to the most remarkable stories ranging from horrendous heartbreak to those that make you believe in the resilience of the human spirit again.

Each of the characters was so individual, some were just nasty like the island busybody, some were hilarious (Isolda is a particular favorite), and some like Elizabeth are inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time. While you are horrified by what these characters had to endure during the war, you will be cheering them at the same time for their fortitude and resilience.

I highly recommend this novel! There really aren't words enough to describe what a special experience reading this novel was to me. You're just going to have to experience it for yourself.

Five great big shining stars!
Last edited by LCW on Tue September 16th, 2008, 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Books to the ceiling,

Books to the sky,

My pile of books is a mile high.

How I love them! How I need them!

I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Wed September 17th, 2008, 12:10 am

I know I have read other novels that centered on letters, but names escape me. Thinking Helen Hanff of course but it wasn't all letters. Any ideas?

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Wed September 17th, 2008, 12:13 am

Hate to be picky, but the word you're looking for is "epistolary" (from the word "epistle") And yes, I was initially put off by a novel written in that style and ignored it until I kept hearing people raving about it. I'm so glad that I overcame my prejudice and read it- it's a real treasure.
Interesting how effective word-of-mouth promotion can be. Come to think of it, wasn't that how the first Harry Potter book gained its popularity?

chuck
Bibliophile
Location: Ciinaminson NJ

Postby chuck » Thu September 18th, 2008, 3:39 am

"annis" wrote:Hate to be picky, but the word you're looking for is "epistolary" (from the word "epistle") And yes, I was initially put off by a novel written in that style and ignored it until I kept hearing people raving about it. I'm so glad that I overcame my prejudice and read it- it's a real treasure.
Interesting how effective word-of-mouth promotion can be. Come to think of it, wasn't that how the first Harry Potter book gained its popularity?


Annis...I remember months ago you mentioning this book.....and I think your interesting review got people to read it.....

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Moseyer
Scribbler
Location: Portland, Maine

Postby Moseyer » Fri October 3rd, 2008, 11:56 pm

Very nice review, diamondlil, and I agree with all who love this novel. The epistolary genre was first used in the 18th century and Jane Austen wrote the first drafts of Sense & Sensibility (and I think Pride & Prejudice, too--not so sure on this one) in that format. I thought Shaffer and Barrows used the form beautifully and don't agree with some of the reviews I've read that mention too many threads going at once. I thought it was just right! I just joined, thanks to Margaret's recommendation, and I love seeing all the active discussions here!

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Susan
Bibliomaniac
Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby Susan » Mon October 6th, 2008, 12:01 am

I just finished this little gem of a book. Besides meeting wonderful characters that I really cared about, I was very interested to learn about Guernsey's World War II history. As I was finishing up the book, I remarked to my husband that the book would make a marvelous film and after a quick Google search I was pleased to find out that the film rights have already been bought. I just hope the film does the book justice. I also sadly learned that author Mary Anne Shaffer passed away last February. Her illness caused her niece Annie Barrows to finish the book.
~Susan~
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