When you start reading a book it’s not always easy to tell if it’s going to be a bad book but when you’re reading a terrific book it’s often evident right at the beginning. It only took a handful of pages to realize that Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society was going to be something special.
I was foretold by some friends that this was a terrific book. As I headed into my study I mentioned to my wife that I was starting a new book, and if it’s as good as everybody says it is, I’ll probably be in here for a while. It literally is one of those books you just don’t want put down. It’s one of those rare books that as soon as you read a few page you get a sense it’s going to become one of your favorites.
The Guernsey Literary Summary:
The book is set just after World War II, still very tough times in Britain. It gives the feel of a wartime novel. Stories that describe the events around this time in our history are almost always impressive. Tales and exploits of the things people had to do to get by, to survive, the bravery, it’s just always so impressive when compared to the times we live in now. And that is also the essence of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society – hope and love.
Juliet Ashton is traveling through England, discussing her collection of essays written during the war, the tough times and doing her best to get by. She receives a letter from a Mr. Adams from Guernsey. By chance he had received a book that used to be hers and had contacted her to see if she had written anything else. This letter was the start of many wonderful relationships as it drew her into the world of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. She initially become introduced to the islanders through letters and began to wonder if perhaps she should write about the occupation of the Channel Islands during the war when she decides to travel there to see for herself.
The novel is truly a delight, it has vibrant historical detail, the characters you’ll not soon forget, and it is full of wonderful descriptions of reading that leaves you bobbing in agreement. The overall collection of beautiful scenery, rich lives, purpose of motion all come together to weave an unforgettable tale. There are moments of great sadness, which just gives more authenticity to the overall optimism.
Unfortunately, Mary Ann Shaffer, passed away before the publication of her first novel. Thankfully her niece Annie Barrows, a successful children’s book author, continued on for us. I’ve seen some reviewers put this book right at the top of their top 10 lists for the year. It would be difficult indeed to come up with a strong argument against this. There, in brief, is the Guernsey literary summary and a quick note to mention that if you’re reading for pleasure then there are not many more pleasurable books than this one. It’s a fantastic book that you’ll not soon forget – give it a try.