January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb....
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends - and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island - boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature-lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society's members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.
©2008 Marry Ann Shaffrer and Annie Barrows; (P)2008 Random House, Inc.
Based on many of the reviews here, and from others on Amazon, I almost didn't read this book. Sure, it received really good ratings, but those were predominantly from women. And it's NOT that I don't respect the female perspective - but as a book club member, I end up being a bit swamped by what are pejoratively called "chick books". Admittedly, I'm rarely disappointed, but come on - a guy needs a good thriller or a murder or a marauding hero in a book every once in a while! So, I feared that "Guernsey/Potato Peel Pie" would be such a book - and the title didn't help any! But, I was pleasantly surprised! Okay, sure, there is no real nail-biting action (and certainly no explosions or car chases), but it was a really delightful look at human personalities, and the indomitable will to survive - each characater in his/her own way - in the face of harsh adversity. And, via the literary devise of being told exclusively through transmitted letters/cables/notes, it was a subtle and well-developed study in human nature. Additional to the wonderful characterizations, this story has the side benefit of relating a bit of the history of the German occupation of the Channel Islands, as well as the bombing of London in the 1940's. As to the quality of the audiobook - it was superb! At our recent book club meeting, I found that my having listened to the audio version of the book may have been the best selection of media. With this audiobook, I was regaled and enthralled by the reading skills of multiple voices, and this proved to be an added layer of enjoyment for me, over the printed book version. Hearing the various accents really helped differentiate between characters. In addition, the excellent readers in this audiobook version provided subtle tonal inflections that conveyed passion and intent. It was truly an impeccable production...well worth the price!
So many books--so little time
I wanted to love this book but it just didn't happen. I heard so many good things about it in reviews I was expecting a lot. The problem was that I found the endless reading of letters written back and forth between characters in the narrator's stilted, almost prissy overly dramatic voice difficult. It just plain drove me crazy. I gave up and shelved the book. If you are a fan of the letter reading type of book you may enjoy it, I'm sure there is a story in there, just not for me.
Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
What an enchanting book. This is definitely a book that is better listened to than read. The cast of voices was superb, with the dialects and different voices helping to identify each character.
It did take me a while to get into this type of audiobook, as the entire story is told through letter writing which were usually written back and forth from the members of TGL&PPS to the protagonist Juliet, a young, single, newspaper columnist in London who is looking for a topic for a new book she wants to write. Her search takes her, through letter writing to Guernsey. This all takes place in 1946. Geurnsey was occupied by the Germans and the horrors of the war are still very fresh. There is a love story involved in there as well. Lots of emotion, tears, laughter, everything that makes a book complete. What a wonderful way to develop characters! A real gem of a book.
Have you ever started a book and having just settled into it recognized that it is a gem? This is such a book: a love story played against the background of the Nazi occupation of Guernsey. Characters are well-drawn and endearing. I want to go to Guernsey to get to know them. No doubt, the tourist bureau of Guernsey will be inundated next summer. This is a book written for audio presentation. The various voices reading the individual letters make the story vivid in a way that reading alone could not. This will go on my list of best book recommendations.
I loved this book! I was recommended this title in one of those emails I get from audible as a good listen. I always check those out on Amazon to compare reviews. Tons of good reviews. A friend read this book and said difficult to keep the characters straight. I had no problem of course, since there are several different readers representing several different characters. I didn't know what the Channel Islands were and I had no idea the Nazis occupied them during WW2. I know now and I want to visit Guernsey at my first opportunity. The book was so amusing I was laughing aoud on the bus one day to the surprise of my fellow passengers. A great read.
In listening to literally hundreds of offerings here on audible.com, I have been moved to write only three reviews so far. This book combines the rarest of rare delights, namely a five star book with a five star audio production. The book is a compilation of letters written between friends and acquaintances and is read with distinct voices by multiple actors, giving it life. The letters reveal a delightfully layered story and history of characters you grow to love. The book is heartrending, hilarious and vibrantly moving in all the most satisfying ways. You hope all your life long to find a book like this to enjoy.
I love literary fiction and I occasionally delve into non-fiction. I love books that are suspenseful and am really into well-told stories.
This is a wonderful book, expertly read, deeply moving and extremely entertaining. The aftermath of WWII is charmingly told through letters, telegrams and notes. The tale follows an author named Juliet who is looking for a subject for her next book. While shaking off the dust of WWII, she stumbles into a group of people who were cut off from the rest of the world by Nazi occupation. This delightful listen has several performers and a fairly light tone for such a heavy subject. I laughed out loud several times and was also moved to tears once or twice. It's a lovely little tale of love and friendship. Suitable for any listeners over the age of 13.
Wonderful narration coupled with a good story. I have listened to hundreds of audio books over the years and this ranks as one of the best. Well done authors and cast!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read it with my book club. Because of the audiobook, my experience with this story was so much richer than the other members of the book club. The audio version (accents included) helped differentiate the different writers and their personalities. I would recommend this book to anyone. I vote to revive the lost art of letter writing!!
This is a perfect book for audio listening! At first the way it began seemed tedious and I was getting used to the English accents, but then it kicks into high gear quickly. The letter format is terrific for audio because the "chapters" are not that long. Persons of a certain age will also enjoy Juliet Mills (Nanny and the Professor) as the main character. This one builds and builds on what has gone before, and what at first appears to be light and frothy turns out to be anything but. What the reader learns about German occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII is unbelievable! Get this one!
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