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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel is set in 1946 and is in the form of letters, mainly to and from the central character, Juliet Ashton, a successful writer who becomes, wholly coincidentally, involved with a group of people on Guernsey who lived through the wartime German Occupation. The characters are thoroughly engaging and Mary Ann Shaffer (although born in the USA) manages to capture the English voice of the time beautifully: the prose is a pleasure to read.
It is very hard to summarise any of the developing stories without giving away more than I'd have wanted to know in advance, so I won't try, but the book has something to say about all kinds of things. Among them are friendship, suffering, forgiveness, goodness and wickedness, the resilience of humanity in desperate circumstances, how reading may influence us and the history of the Channel Islanders during the war. All this makes it sound a bit worthy and turgid, but it's neither - anything but, in fact. I never felt that I was being lectured, the history forms a really interesting and beautifully evoked backdrop to a thoroughly involving story and the observations on other things are either implicit in the doings of characters I really cared about or made directly with wit and flair. And there's a really tense will-they-won't-they love story which Jane Austen would have been proud of and which kept me in nail-biting suspense right up to the last page.Read more ›
The characters are very well defined despite some complaints about several of them having a similar `voice' in their letters. They are well-defined to the point of caricature. Not entirely unforgivable, Dickens did a lot of this (she's no Dickens). There are probably too many characters and they need distinctive traits but if you look at the five star reviews, people who love the book compare the Islanders to the cast of the Vicar of Dibley and Last of the Summer Wine. This is cited as a compliment. If the Vicar of Dibley makes you chuckle maybe this is the book for you. A lot of the five star reviews come from this camp.
The Vicar of Dibley isn't a bad comparison when you think about it. The book has that Richard Curtis winning combination of humour, warmth and whimsy interspersed with loss and tragedy. Many people love this formula. Other people think it's an insult and a travesty to serve up what happened to the people of Guernsey in the Second World War as light entertainment, albeit with a few tears along the way. Islanders here are patronised as a bunch of eccentrics who could inhabit any small community. There is no sense of a Guernsey identity, just bits of its history served up against a picturesque backdrop. Even the surnames are wrong, like setting a book in rural Ireland where all the characters have made-up Americanised names without a Murphy, Fitzgerald or O'Reilly on the horizon. Or Scotland without a Campbell or McAnybody
Novels in the form of letters put some people off. This one is a red herring.Read more ›
Mary Anne Shaffer has told a story of wartime horrors and hardships, yet kept the tone gentle and just bearable to read, without taking away the awfulness of the Nazi occupation in Guernsey. This book had me entranced from the very beginning and will stay with me for some time to come.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was one of a set of general fiction books and I wasn't expecting that I would enjoy it. I don't usually enjoy books written in the form of letters. Read morePublished 2 days ago by RoseP
Great price for a hard back, look forward to reading on holiday.Published 11 days ago by june rymer
This is a highly original, delightful book, as well as being very informative about the problems of WWII.Published 26 days ago by Ann J. Pearson
An absolute delight from start to finish!
Sweet, endearing, funny and slightly eccentric characters made this a lovely, memorable read. Recommended!
Just could find any enthusiasm for this book even though a friend had raved about it. Gave up after only a few chaptersPublished 1 month ago by Jane Trueman
This book is so brilliant - sad, happy, full of joy. Also interesting to read about Guernsey during the war. Well worth a read.Published 1 month ago by Elizabeth
I loved this book so much. It was so funny. I don't know how Mary Ann Shaffer did it, but she managed to capture post war Britain perfectly. The main character was a real delight. Read morePublished 1 month ago by missjeff