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Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, 2008 * * * *

It is January 1946 and London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War. The writer Juliet Ashton, looking for her next book subject, finds it in a letter from a man she's never met. He is a native of the island of Guernsey and the man has come across her name written inside a book. As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into his world and the world of his friends. This world consists of a wonderfully eccentric group called the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society — born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island. The book boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, all of them literature lovers.. Thus begins a remarkable correspondence 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. Captivated by their stories, Juliet sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever. Written as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connections in the most surprising ways. This book captivated me from the beginining to the end and proved a wonderful read while enlightening me about a part of history I knew nothing about.

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