I first heard about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society over at Amy’s blog, Romance Book Wyrm. Amy was at her Romance Book Club meeting and another woman who also ran the Historical Fiction Book Club was talking about her next selection – which was TGLaPPPS. Amy decided to pick it up and read it and she was so glad she did. After reading the book Amy decided to send TGLaPPPS on a book tour. It finally made its way to me and I finished reading it yesterday and wanted to share some of my thoughts.
TGLaPPPS is a collection of letters that are written between many people. The main character and the person who writes most of the letters is Juliet Ashton. She is an author who lives in post WWII England. She shares letters back and forth with her best friend Sophie who lives in Scotland and Sophie’s brother, Sidney, a close friend and also her publisher.
One day Juliet receives a letter from Dawsey, a man who lives on Guernsey in the Channel Islands. He happened to have a book that was once Juliet’s and since her address was in it he thought he’d write and see if she could help him find a bookstore in London since there wasn’t a bookshop on Guernsey any longer. That one letter starts a friendship between the two as well as an idea (by Juliet) for a new book about the German Occupation and how it effected Guernsey and the people who lived there. Juliet goes on to correspond with other members of TGLaPPPS and ends up visiting Guernsey to meet all the wonderful new friends she’s made.
This book is just a charming, lovely, humorous, sad, heartwrenching, lovely, charming (did I already say that?) book. I truly enjoyed almost every moment while I was reading it. I laughed, I cried, I was horrified, but it was so good I just couldn’t put it down. Most of the time I felt like I was wherever the character was whose letter I was reading. If Juliet was talking about her bombed out flat in Chelsea I could almost see it. If Dawsey or another member was talking about Guernsey, I was there. It was fascinating. I even read the “Afterword” by Annie Barrows which was delightful and sad as well (and I don’t normally read those). I did have a few issues with some of the letters sounding similar in tone but it in no way detracted from the pleasure of the read. In fact, I’m going to go out and buy my own copy of the book (since I have to send this one on to the next reader on the book tour) so that I can share it with my family and friends locally…and of course have it to re-read myself.
This was definitely not a book that I would have picked up on my own but I’m so very glad that I read it. There was a bit (and I do mean only a bit) of romance in it so of course it soothed that romance lover in me.
I can’t recommend the book enough – “I loved it” just doesn’t seem adequate. Maybe you’ll just have to see for yourself. I hope you do.
Rating: 5 out of 5