Some books demand my attention just by the title. This is one such. The moment I read the title, I was curious to know what the hell is a “potato peel pie” and why is it part of a literary society’s name. As it turned out, Juliet Ashton was curious too.
I’m a bibliophile, so talking about books with other bibliophiles is fun and I know this for a fact. Through the letters exchanged between Juliet, Dawsey, Sidney, Sophie, Isola, Amelia, Eben and others, I became a part of the Society and their lives. I liked that they spoke of books without the need to curb their thoughts. And the idea of books helping people to tide through difficult times is of course pertinent.
I could feel the tone of writing change with the change of setting. Juliet felt at home at Guernsey and with the Society more than at those stuffy luncheons and dinners that were part of her “author life”. Her fondness of people reflected in her letters. Small details. Like going from formal to casual in addressing, not bothering to respond to a particular character, the delight at being accepted by Kit, etc. These show more than tell and that’s good. I didn’t like Mark either so delighted at the ending.
I loved the form of letters too. It helped to bring a closeness between strangers connected by books and perhaps bring a growth in Juliet’s writing, though this part is largely unknown. It’s also a historical epistolary, so some parts bring more than a touch of poignancy when it comes to war, survival and its aftermath. I was engaged by the characters themselves so the backstory, while important, was a bit lost on me.
Would I reread? I would. No doubt.
Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
Genre: Epistolary Fiction
No. of Pages: 256
Rating: 8 out of 10