The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

I listened to this book on cd and I highly recommend doing that because of the different letters and voices. I honestly just grabbed this book because I had seen it before but I had no idea what it really was about and I was pleasantly surprised. I love WWII fiction but I don’t read a lot of post-war fiction that reflects back on the past. This story focuses on the channel islands that were occupied by the Germans during the war. I never knew this happened and much like the main character, we as the reader learn as she does.

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This story is written in the form of letters from several different characters which is why I recommend listening to it. The two characters you are introduced to at first are Juliet Ashton and her friend Sydney Stark who doubles as her publisher. They have been exchanging letters back and forth for years, especially focusing on Juliet’s novel she wrote based on a column she wrote during the war. One day Juliet receives a letter from Dawsey Adams who happened to find a book with her name and address written in the front and he wishes to know if she knew of anymore books by Charles Lamb that she wouldn’t mind recommending. This began a long correspondent in which the two became friends and Juliet decided she needed to write about the island Guernsey during the war and it’s occupation. Along the way Juliet is courted by a potential rival publisher, falls in love with a bright young child, and finds her inspiration for her novel.

This is truly a wonderfully interesting story about WWII and most specifically the island of Guernsey and how life was during the occupation. I love reading books written in letter form because they are so personal and so interesting because you get the personal voice of every character, in a much more intimate way then you would from just regular narration. The epistolary style also fits the time period of this book so well. It’s very different then anything I have read about WWII because everything I read focused on the Holocaust and this doesn’t. There is so much more to WWII than just the Holocaust and sometimes that gets overlooked so it’s important to find literature that discusses other aspects of WWII.

-A

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