The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Bloomsbury presents The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer, read by Charlie Norfolk.
The beloved, life-affirming international best seller which has sold over five 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.
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|Listening Length||6 hours and 42 minutes|
|Author||Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows|
|Audible.in Release Date||14 November 2019|
|Publisher||Bloomsbury Publishing Plc|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #2,454 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#3 in World War II Historical Fiction
#120 in Literary Fiction
#3,017 in Action & Adventure (Books)
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Top reviews from India
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Basically the book is about Juliet, an authoress and it is set in the post-WWII era. Juliet has written a biography about Ann Bronte and a book about WWII life as a fictitious person. The biography wasn't so successful but the second book she wrote, titled Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War is a humorous take on war life, which was moderately successful. Well Juliet has had a failed engagement and starts to receive flowers from an unknown suitor. Later we find out the suitor is an American, a very rich guy named Mark. Juliet starts to receive letters from a resident of Guernsey who finds out her name in a book by Charles Lamb and there Juliet finds out about "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society". The name and society was created incidentally. What happened was Dawsey and his friends had a secret party eating pig and if you google potato peel pie: quo-unquo "The potato peel pie is actually a true occupation recipe, which made the most of the limited ingredients available! By winter of 1944, Guernsey was on starvation rations with both locals and soldiers at risk" and one of the friends was drunk on the way home. At the time, Guernsey was under occupation by the German Nazis and so they were caught by the Commandant on the way home, whereupon Elizabeth and all of them make up the Society to escape inevitable punishment by the Nazis. Well, Juliet starts corresponding with the Guernsey residents and decides to write a book about them and their war years. Later on, she decides the book should be a biography style about Elizabeth, the Guernsey resident who died in a concentration camp. Mark and Juliet start dating and Mark asks Juliet to marry him but she says no. Then Juliet decides to visit Guernsey to learn more about the residents and the Society to write her next book on them. There she meets Kit, Elizabeth's child with Christian, a German soldier. They find out Elizabeth, who had been sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp due to sheltering someone from the Nazis has died in the concentration camp and also Christian had died (he dies when his warship gets sunk). Elizabeth's friend from the concentration camp named Remy, a French girl contacts the Guernsey crowd and informs them of Elizabeth's sad demise. Mark and Juliet break up. Juliet falls in love with the guy Kit calls "Dad", ie, Dawsey Adams but suspects Dawsey loves Remy instead. Remy receives an apprenticeship from the French government at a bakery, which was her dream. Juliet wants to adopt Kit and puts those wheels in motion. Juliet finds out Dawsey is secretly in love with her and asks him to marry her and he accepts.
The book is entirely in letters, telegrams and diary entries. It's a very hard way to write a book according to me but the author(s) write in a fun, witty and entertaining way and it is easy to read and understand and enjoy the novel.
I give it 5 stars and recommend it to anyone who would like to read a post WWII era book. Netflix has the movie based on the book and I may be watching it too.
I came away with mixed feelings.
We follow the story through a string of letters that go back and forth between Juliet Ashton, a quirky World War journalist turned writer, and a group of people who lived in Guernsey during World War II. The war has just ended and a book once owned by Juliet lands up in the hands of Dawsey Adams, a resident of Guernsey. The book has her name and address and the new owner writes to her asking her for the name and address of a London bookshop so he could order books. Dawsey belongs to a Literary Society called the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Intrigued by the name Juliet sets up a correspondence with Dawsey and then with each of its members. She is scouting for ideas for her new book and sensing a story in Guernsey, she travels there and finds much more than inspiration for her book.
What I liked
The book written in an epistolatory form (That’s what you call a narrative expressed through letters) was å first for me. I enjoyed the style though it took a little getting used to but then it was refreshing in its difference. I found myself waiting for the letters to come in. I loved the eclectic bunch of characters and their reading quirks.
I liked the joie de vivre that Juliet exudes. I like how she slowly gets to know the people of Guernsey through the letters and I liked the quiet contrast of Dawsey’s character.
I’ve said it before, I never can have enough of life during WWII. The book does give an account of life in Guernsey under German occupation – the shortages, the hunger, the hiding, the heartbreak of separation, the dread of being caught during night curfews.. all of it.
What I didn’t like
My first impression of the book was ‘How sweet is this’ and that ended up being my biggest problem too – it was far far too sweet; sweet in a simplistic, superficial kind of way. There is barely a cloud on the horizon. You know way before the end that things will fall into place. Everyone is just so nice. I like happy endings but only when they come after a decent plot and some twists and turns.
Also, the ending: as usual the ending is way too predictable and completely unbelievable. Those aren’t contradictory. Consider this – Juliet – a fairly high-profile writer based in London, being wooed by a flamboyant suitor (and enjoying it too), used to nights of fine dining and dancing in pretty clothes should give it all up and settle down in a quiet village with a man who unloads ships for a living. Romantic? Sure. Plausible? Hardly!
It seems unlikely that Juliet would enjoy the quiet life forever. Forever is a long time.
However, if you like a fresh, frothy, witty, easy read with snippets of the second World War you’ll like this one.
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.
On a different side of the story, the book looks at the German occupation of Guernsey during the war and the story of one of the members of the Guernsey literary club Elizabeth. Its a heart breaking insight in to life during the occupation and the sad tearing apart of loved ones and families. What people did to survive and the simple things that bring joys to others.
I thoroughly recommend this read
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.