Today’s review is on The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
I had been curious to read this book ever since I heard the title. I was further intrigued when I watched the trailer for the Netflix movie based on the book, and then I watched the movie and knew I had to read the book. Another big selling point after I got a copy was the fact that it was told in epistolary style, which is one of my favorite novel formats.
The novel follows Juliet Ashton, a writer in London in 1946. She is struggling to come up with an idea for her next book, until she receives a letter from a Mr. Dawsey Adams telling her that he enjoyed reading her used copy of a book that used to belong to her. Through this letter she discovers the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society that was created in order to keep a secret from Nazi soldiers during the Nazi occupation of the island of Guernsey. After hearing about the birth of this society, Juliet is instantly fascinated by it and won’t rest until she knows every single detail about it and decides to go to Guernsey to meet with all of the society’s members.
I really enjoyed this book, it was short but it packed a punch. I loved that the authors chose to tell the story in a series of letters, because not enough books are written in that way! I appreciated that the letters were not just from Juliet’s perspective, but we got it from a series of other characters as well, which made for the story to be more reliable.
As far as characters go, I really enjoyed getting to know Juliet, especially since she is a book lover. Also, minor spoiler alert, I loved how she broke off an engagement because her ex-fiance moved all of her books into the basement! I honestly don’t blame her, no one messes with my books! I loved watching her develop as a character, especially as she tries to move on from the horrific events of the war, and growth as a writer. And then there is Dawsey, who I honestly wish we got more from because I really wanted him to be more swoon-worthy than he wasas and that was partly because we don’t get enough from his perspective. I also loved getting to know all the other society members, even the tragic story of Elizabeth McKenna who stood up for what was right.
Concerning the plot, I really liked it, although there were certain areas where it seemed to slow down quite significantly. However, readers will appreciate that we get to learn about the society along with Juliet as she continues to make new discoveries up until the very end. One thing that I wish could have been featured a lot more is the romance, however, I guess that is also a selling point for a lot of readers is that it isn’t so romance heavy.
Overall, this is the perfect book if you are into Post-World War II fiction, fiction told in letters and books about books. 4/5 Stars.
Janelle L. C.