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.
I was sorry when this book ended. I'll miss all the wonderful characters. The technique of telling the story through letters was very clever and worked well. The authors did not sugar-coat the tragedies of WWII but instead focused on the goodness of people.
I found myself on my evening walks smiling as I listened. The readers were great.
Everything I want it a book, doubly enhanced by having it read so convincingly. Usually I treat myself to books as I do physical work; this one kept me awake at nights concentrating on listening with laughter and tears.
I have been waiting for this to come to audio book.
I was not disappointed.
I have read the book at least 6 times.
I'm going to read it again now.
I hate books about war, but I've recently found myself accidentally listening to a lot of books having, is some way, something to do with war. (Every book by Bryce Courtenay, Night, Reading Lolita in Tehran...) And I've learned so much about what it means to be a human being. How to love, how to heal and how to survive. This book is about all of those things and more.
There are a few things that really struck me while reading this book, and stayed with me long after it was finished. Here they are:
1 - I loved that the authors presented a gay man in this book, but I question the choices they made with his character. Even though most of Europe is now more open minded than the United States, it has not always been that way. I wasn't alive during World War II, so I don't know for sure, but it seems to me that a gay man of that time probably wouldn't come out to an old lady from an island who has had no contact with the outside world for 5 years. When Sydney is asked if/when he will marry Juliet, I feel that the times would have required a lie, like, "Oh. I am already engaged to someone else. Another woman, that is."
2 - I was also struck by the observation Juliet made about Mark. She said that Americans seemed less affected by the war. I had never thought about that before. We have memorials and celebrations for WWII, and it is a terrible thing that happened at Pearl Harbor. But we have nothing on what people faced in Europe. Never knowing when a bomb would be dropped on your city, and never knowing who of your friends and family would die in those raids. We had nothing like that here. We sent our young men off to fight in other places and they came back damaged, but we as a nation were not as damaged as some.
3 - The third thing that made an impression on me is the format of this book: letters. Letters! It made me want to sit down and write a good old fashioned letter to someone. It also made me imagine a child, all grown up, finding a stack of letters in a box while they were cleaning out an old room and discovering a history they never knew existed. I loved what this aspect of the book did for my imagination.
Overall, I would say that this has become one of my favorite books of all time. I'm planning on listening to it again very soon.
Of all the audiobooks I've heard, i think this is the one that most lends itself to the audio format. I loved listening to the different voices in the novel. It was moving - uplifting and heartbreaking, a true pleasure to hear.
This book took a while for me to get into it, although sometimes I get distracted while listening and that impedes my enjoyment. I had no idea what the book was about so had no expectations. It was a pleasant story with no real action or high drama but the format provided a creative way to develop characters. The characters were slowly carved into persons you could come to know, with quirks and dilemnas that fleshed them out nicely. It was a pleasantly creative perspective of an oft-written historical setting (WWII). The readers were perfect for their parts.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
This is such a delightful book. The readers are perfect. I listened to it once and then started all over again -- a rarity. Just terrific.
I have read many WWII books, but not many "after the war" books. I had never heard of the Guernsey Islands but now feel compelled to go. This is a precious story with multiple narrators who bring it to life. It bring into focus how people coped during the war and provides insight into the resolve of a community.
I tried reading this book, and found it too fey and formulaic to continue beyond a few pages. Also, the epistolary form made it rather flat and repetitive. The voices and accents of the fine actors solve both problems. Plus a few of the male voices are a joy to listen to; resonant, mellow and beautiful. I really enjoyed it.
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!
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.