Tuesday 4 June 2019

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society By Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows Book Review

To say how many books I've been reading this year, I've really slowed down on actual book reviews. Sometimes it can be hard to not sound repetitive with each good book you read so I've been leaving it to books I really feel I can say something worthwhile about. One book that I had to blog about, that has just stole my heart is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Book held up in front of desk. Background of prints and magnets
'It's 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can't think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey - by chance, he's acquired a book that once belonged to her - and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it's not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realises that the society is every bit as extraordinary as it's name.'

My review

I actually don't really know where to start with this book. I should probably say for me this was a real case of 'don't judge a book by its cover' as when I first spotted this a while ago and when I saw the trailer for the film, I just thought it wouldn't be for me. For some reason I had it in my head it would be boring. Well I've been totally proved wrong. I ended up watching the film a few weeks ago (starring Lily James) and that's what spurred me on to finally read the book.

The first thing I liked about this book is that it's all told through letters. I think epistolary novels can be quite hit and miss sometimes but with this book it just worked. The story still flowed seamlessly and having shorter bursts to read meant that it broke up the story really well. I think it only added to the story and made it so much more believable, it felt very intimate and I like I was a small part of something. As we get to hear from each character, which gives a real insight into their lives and their part of the literary society, I think letters was the perfect way to do this. I also liked the book was split into two parts, the first being when Juliet is still in London and is corresponding with the residents of Guernsey, and then the second half when Juliet visits and finally gets to meet all of these wonderful people.

This is one of those books that really allows you to learn as you read. I didn't know anything about the Occupation in Guernsey so I loved that I got to uncover more about that as the book went on. It never felt too heavy though, like it was a History lesson, but the amount of detail was just the right amount to get a clear picture. As Helen mentioned in her review, the story is so descriptive and vivid, it's hard to imagine that all of the characters aren't real people.

Sticking with the characters, it's hard not to just fall in love with them all. It's so interesting to read about the dynamics of the society and how different each person was, yet they all had this one thing that was actually never meant to be, but brought them all together. I adored Juliet, Dawsey & Kit, and Isola was such a charming character. It's a book you can really get lost in and become part of another world. I genuinely want to visit Guernsey now.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is just an absolutely beautiful read, full of heart, that will have you smiling all the way through. I know I'll end up re-reading it again at some point, it feels like they'll always be something new to take away from it. 

'That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive - all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment' - Mary Ann Shaffer

I'd love to know your opinion on this book if you've read it? or have you seen the film?

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Sophie said...

I haven't read this and I'm not sure if this one is for me but it's great that all of the characters are so enjoyable. It sounds like it's really well written x


jennyinneverland said...

I didn't realise this was a film. I definitely get what you mean about not judging a book by it's cover. This isn't the sort of thing I would reach for based on the cover and the title but if I see this around, I definitely won't judge!


AlishaValerie said...

I love the cover of this book. Your review is really well-written, sounds fab! 💜

With love, Alisha Valerie x | www.alishavalerie.com

Tiffany Timms said...

It really is Sophie, I didn't want it to end xx

Tiffany x www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

Tiffany Timms said...

I really hope you give it a go Jenny if you spot it anywhere! xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Thank you so much Alisha xx

Heather Nixon said...

Not for me but it does sound like a lovely read x


Sam said...

I read this book a few years ago and like you, I wasn't sure what to expect. I couldn't put it down and read it in two days! I thought the film was nice too, but I preferred the book.

Lady Writes said...

This sounds like such a lovely read, one for my list x

Tiffany Timms said...

Thanks Heather xx

Tiffany Timms said...

It was such a pleasant surprise, both the film and the book, so glad I gave it a chance!

Joy said...

This has been on my list for a long time. I really need to read it.

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