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

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AuntiePam
Reader

Postby AuntiePam » Mon December 22nd, 2008, 2:15 am

"Ash" wrote: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?


I love epistolary novels. I assume epistolary includes not just letters but newspaper articles, diary entries, journals, etc.? Dracula is one, and Carrie (sorta). Also English Passengers by Matthew Kneale (awesome HF).

Well, this thread settles it. I have to get this book.

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Survivors by Kate Furnivall & The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Postby Vanessa » Mon April 20th, 2009, 7:12 pm

I've just finished this enchanting and delightful but also shocking and moving little book. I loved it! I loved the way it was written via letters and with a sense of humour. Some fantastic, amusing and quaint characters, too. I really got a feel for what it must have been like living on the Channel Islands during the occupation - it's such a scary thought as to think how near the Nazis came to invading old Blighty! Thank goodness they didn't. This book is definitely a keeper for me.

Highly recommended.

5/5
Last edited by Vanessa on Mon April 20th, 2009, 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Postby EC2 » Mon April 20th, 2009, 7:29 pm

"Vanessa" wrote:I've just finished this enchanting and delightful but also shocking and moving little book. I loved it! I loved the way it was written via letters and with a sense of humour. Some fantastic, amusing and quaint characters, too. I really got a feel for what it must have been like living on the Channel Islands during the occupation - it's such a scary thought as to think how near the Nazis came to invading old Blighty! Thank goodness they didn't. This book is definitely a keeper for me.

Highly recommended.

5/5


Agree all the way Vanessa. One of my favourites too!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

User avatar
MrsMorland
Reader
Location: Massachusetts

Postby MrsMorland » Tue April 21st, 2009, 1:21 am

I loved it. Took awhile for me to get into the style, but I ended up very interested in it.

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Survivors by Kate Furnivall & The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Postby Vanessa » Tue April 21st, 2009, 7:24 am

I was going to lend it to my mum as she was in the fire service as a very young woman doing her bit for the war effort, but I'm not sure whether it might upset her now she's in her 80s. She only likes to read happy things these days and whilst this book is fairly light hearted in lots of ways, there are some darker elements to it.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Thu December 10th, 2009, 6:08 am

I finished this today, and I loved it! It is an odd format, tho -- writers are always being told to 'show not tell' and a book told entirely through correspondence seems like nothing but telling at first glance.

And then I realized that through the letters, the author was showing instead of telling who the people were. Instead of saying "there is this really nasty piece of work named Adelaide" we get a letter from said lady early on, conveying fully the sort of pest that she is. Ditto all the little vignettes. By the time the love interest comes out of the mist, the reader knows about his character, not because we are told he is a great guy, but because his actions broadcast it.

My husband read this first, because we were on a trip and I had two books, he had none. He enjoyed it, too.

SCW
Avid Reader
Preferred HF: Lately World Two or the time immediately before and after this period
Location: Australia

Postby SCW » Fri December 10th, 2010, 11:28 am

I really liked this book found it very easy to read. I bought a copy for a friend whose Grandmother grew up in Jersey during the occupation.

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Fri December 10th, 2010, 1:13 pm

Did her grandmother tell her stories about the occupation? I'd love to hear more

Welcome, btw!

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Sat December 11th, 2010, 3:10 am

I just read this book myself, this summer and really enjoyed it. It was wonderfully witty and chatty and I read through it in two sittings, I think, because I couldn't put it down. Even the parts relating things that were really terrible, such as a concentration camp, were told in a gentle, whimsical way. I read somewhere that the author chose an epistolary style because she thought it would be easier! ;)

However, I felt that towards the end, the book fell apart somewhat. That is, some of the scenes were ludicrous and made the characters seem not just quirky (as they had all along) but downright ridiculous. I wish some of those parts had been written in a different way, and some left out entirely. But I haven't run across anyone else who felt that way, so I'm obviously in a minority.

But the rest of the book was so wonderful that I highly recommend it.

Someone asked about other books written in an epistolary style. I've only read one other, and really enjoyed it, as well. I read it many years ago -- probably in the '80s -- so I can't recall the title or the author's name. I believe she was a fairly popular author at that time. The book was composed of all the correspondence of a woman starting when she was a young child and going all the way through to nearly the end of her life. I believe it began in the late 1800s and went through to the 1950s or perhaps 1960s.

Does anyone recall the title? I remember that I did enjoy the book, and I would recommend it for someone who likes the epistolary format.

ETA -- I found the book (let's hear it for Amazon). :) It was A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey. Talking about it has made me want to read it again, think I'll try to get my hands on a copy......
Last edited by Michy on Sat December 11th, 2010, 3:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat December 11th, 2010, 4:37 am

Other epistolary books: 84 Charing Cross Road, not a novel but a sort of memoir; Dear Mr. Henshaw, a children's book, but wonderful anyway; and of course, the classic Screwtape Letters.

The epistolary format must be a tough one to work with. I suspect the scenes at the end of Guernsey were so markedly different because they were written by the niece after the original writer, her aunt, died.


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