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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: rejacketed Paperback – 29 May 2018
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The beloved, life-affirming international bestseller which has sold over 5 million copies worldwide - now a major film starring Lily James, Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Courtenay and Penelope Wilton
To give them hope she must tell their story
It's 1946. The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer's block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey - a total stranger living halfway across the Channel, who has come across her name written in a second hand book - she enters into a correspondence with him, and in time with all the members of the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Through their letters, the society tell Juliet about life on the island, their love of books - and the long shadow cast by their time living under German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for the island, changing her life forever.
Frequently bought together
Utterly delightful (Helen Mirren)
Atmospheric and touching . it is about love and friendship and the ability of these qualities to survive adversity (Alexander McCall Smith The Times)
Thronging with lovable people (Guardian)
I can't remember the last time I discovered a novel as smart and delightful as this one . Treat yourself to this book, please - I can't recommend it highly enough (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love)
What a gorgeous book - very touch and funny (Joanna Lumley)
Absolutely perfect and satisfying, and when you finish it you sit around wishing that you could find another book just like it (Stephanie Meyer)
Every now and again, a book comes along that is simple yet effective, readable yet memorable. This is one such delight . It is a uniquely humane vision of inhumanity; one to lift even the most cynical of spirits (The Times)
Funny, moving and quite unlike anything I have read for a long time (Sunday Telegraph)
Shaffer's writing, with its self-deprecating humour and jaunty stylishness, is a heart-warmingly nostalgic journey into another age (Independent)
This heart-warming novel contrasts the grimness of occupied Guernsey with the humour and courage of the inhabitants (Daily Mail)
So comforting. A real satin coverlet of a book (Rachel Cooke New Statesman)
The society's members are quirky and lovable, their friendships touching and the letters so funny and moving that by the time she's considering a visit to the island we are desperate to go with her . Warm and witty (Observer)
Thronging with lovable people . The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society commemorates beautiful spirits who pass through our midst and hunker undercover through brutal times. Shaffer's Guernsey characters step from the past radiant with eccentricity and kindly humour, a comic version of the state of grace . Shaffer's writing, with its delicately offbeat, self-deprecating stylishness, is exquisitely turned (Guardian)
I absolutely adored it. The tone is so light and perfect that I fell in love with the characters just as she does. Heaven (Esther Freud)
Moving, authentic and funny (Paul Torday, author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
A real delight (Woman & Home)
Moving . A high feel-good factor (Metro)
Riveting in its inventiveness, charming in its delivery and, above all, human (Good Housekeeping)
Very moving (Marie Claire)
This warm-hearted tale of friendship, secrets and long correspondence is perfect rainy-day reading (Elle)
- ASIN : 1526603373
- Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing (29 May 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781526603371
- ISBN-13 : 978-1526603371
- Item Weight : 454 g
- Dimensions : 20.3 x 25.4 x 4.7 cm
- Country of Origin : India
- Generic Name : Book
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from India
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Guernsey, first about the society and then about the german Occupation of the channel islands, is it possible to love all the characters of a book? .
This book is beautiful and heartwarming, the wartime narrative was a little confronting in places but necessary.
I have to thank @frenchflaps_and_deckleedges for recommending this book to me.
The fact that it was a book about books and that it dealt with the post world war period was what initially piqued my interest. As you know, I am a sucker for historical fic in that period. But what I didn’t realise was that, it was also an epistolary novel. I usually don’t like that style.
I needn’t have worried. I don’t know if it was the discussions on books or if it was the writing itself, but I was most definitely hooked right from the beginning of the novel.
I could completely relate to the characters in this book because we all share the passion for reading. The concept of books and reading uniting a group of people at the time of great darkness and despair and managing to give them friendships, happiness and hope for a better tomorrow was lovely beyond words.
This book is one of those rare finds which can make us laugh out loud one minute and can also make us cry the very next page. It was humorous, witty, thought provoking and heart breaking in equal measures. It was made all the more endearing by the lovely, unique and quirky characters. Each and every one of them remains unforgettable long after you finish reading the last page. This book also gifted me with Juliet Ashton and Elizabeth McKenna, two inspiring fictional heroines, who I will look upto for the rest of my life.
I can’t describe how happy and satisfied and warm this book left me with. I am officially in one of my worst bookhangovers and slumps post this book because nothing else I have read hence can compare with the high this one left me in 😅
So I decided to watch the movie 🤦🏻♀️. Worst decision of my life because it completely ruined all my warm fuzzies. Now I am going back to reread the book to get back all that floaty happy feeling once more
This book is such a breath of fresh air that we’re all craving for these days. It’s feel good, without any unnecessary airs, talks about how the World War II affected life and most importantly, it pays an ode to people who love books. And the cherry on the cake is that it’s written completely in the form of communication that I love the most, letters!
I absolutely loved the concept of the story and the beloved characters will stay with me for a long time to come. I can read as many thrillers or hard hitting books as I want, but my heart always truly finds solace in such simple stories which have books at the heart of them and how they are the ultimately the mediums that bring people together.
Top reviews from other countries
I’m not going to say anymore as I don’t want to spoil anything. But please, if you enjoy an entertaining novel, give this one a try. I loved it!
Dawsey Adams owns a farm and likes the writings of Charles Lamb. This is a theme of the book that everyone has a favourite author. For Isola she talks to Juliet of her biography of Anne Bronte. Eben, a tombstone carver, likes Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Dickens. Clovis wants to learn poetry to impress a lady and looks to Catullus a Roman Poet and the war poetry of Wilfred Owen. John Brooker who takes on the persona of his employer Tobias Penn-Piers, reads the letters of Seneca. The founder of the society is Elizabeth, who we never see as she is captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp. Dawsey tells the reader how during the war the Germans confiscated all food provisions including any livestock. When Mrs Maugery calls him and tells him she has a pig and bring a butcher’s knife they gather the neighbour’s and have a feast. Coming home after curfew a little worse for wear they are caught by the Germans who demand to know where they have been. Elizabeth proclaims they have been at the inaugural meeting of the literary society. They had been reading Elizabeth and her German Garden, a book which I’m sure doesn’t exist, but placated the guards.
In part one Juliet remains in the UK and the letters are sent back and forth. She also gains an admirer in the form of Markham Reynolds, a suave, intelligent American who sends her flowers and takes her out to dinner. Their relationship reaches a crunch point when he asks her to marry him and she is not sure. When she travels to Guernsey we see his more controlling side. This is a beautiful contrast to the simplicity and unassuming nature of the islanders.
Each character has their own use of language and some are more opinionated than others. Adele Addison disapproves of Elizabeth due to her liaison with a German Officer, but Remy who resides in the detainment camp with her speaks of her courage. Isola speaks of men being more interesting in books than in real life and is dismayed someone has not introduced her to Jane Austen. Dawsey is portrayed as not very well educated, especially when contrasted with Juliet’s American suitor, but he still reads Charles Lamb.
Witty and engaging this is a beautiful easy read, celebrating the courage of an island through the eyes of its residents and the curiosity of a writer. What makes this more poignant is the fact that the author died before the final edit and it was her niece that completed the book.
After an hour or so reading, I felt that I knew the characters and was hooked. Alongside the deprevations of war, the cruelty in the concentration camps and the duplicity of a few traitorous locals selling information to the Germans for favours, there is much humour and a slowly emerging love story.
Nice is not a nice word, but very occasionally it is exactly the right word. This is a nice book.
I only purchased this book because of the title - it intrigued me - then shortly after purchasing I saw a trailer for the movie so figured I'd better move it up my "to be read" list. I wasn't aware that this was an epistolary novel on purchasing and this did throw up a couple of issues for me - not the nature of the reading or the layout of the book, but rather the fact that the only distinct voice was that of Juliet. The letters to her from all other sources do not have a sufficiently distinct "voice" to make the book really work; the one exception being Adelaide Addison and even then you can still feel the author(s) beneath the words.
What the format does do very well is give you a sense of time and place that the events are unfolding in. It also allows multiple threads to unfold at the same time without ever really blurring them in to each other. I did feel in places that 21st Century morality had been superimposed on to the year immediately post the second world war (this was particularly true in the case of how one character's homosexuality was dealt with). On the whole the time period did feel generally realistic and Juliet Ashton makes for an exceptionally likeable protagonist.
What the authors have done well is to gently introduce us to themes and ideas without beating us over the head with them. The overarching thread is one that deals with the German Occupation of Guernsey and the privations suffered by the Islanders at the time. This gently unfolds in the form of letters to Juliet from first Dawsey Adams and then a complete avalanche from the other members of the Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society, each giving their experience of the Occupation and how the books they read helped them through and brought them together as a community.
It is a rich book that I enjoyed but somehow I felt a little let down by it all in the end. I would recommend it to another reader but it doesn't make my re-read list.
The central character, Juliet Ashton, finds herself charged with uncovering what happened on Guernsey for her editor. Juliet begins a correspondence with a number of islanders which eventually leads to her arrival on the island to meet all the poeple she has got to know through their letters.
Meeting everyone in person and getting to grips with their personal stories and developing an attachment to one particular islander is the focus of the film and the second half of the book.
Although told entirely through the medium of letters - a device that I know can rankle with lots of readers - the story romps along nicely. I liked the inclusion of the little personal comments and quips in the letters as the writers got to know each other better. I thought the sense of place, both war-torn London and the island, was very well conveyed and served as a perfect backdrop to the letters.
A light read with a fascinating interesting historical background and a dash of romance to tug at the heartstrings.