The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is an absolutely charming novel set in 1946 England about the aftermath of World War II. The story is told exclusively through written correspondence between author Juliet Ashton, her editor Sidney, the various members of the Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society and a few other minor characters.
Due to the popularity of the Netflix movie of the same name I have been on the wait list for both the audiobook and the hard copy of Guernsey for about 6 weeks. Naturally they both became available within days of each other and, despite having already begun the hard copy, I switched to the audio book which is narrated by several people and feels like you’re listening to a play. It is definitely how I would suggest you enjoy this one.
“But the truth is that I’m gloomy – gloomier than I ever was during the war. Everything is so broken, Sophie: the roads, the buildings, the people. Especially the people.”
Juliet is a young author who found some literary success writing under a pseudonym during the War. She is now trying to write under her own name and struggling to find a topic when Dawsey Adams, a pig farmer on Guernsey, reaches out to her after finding her address on a book she had donated to a secondhand shop. Dawsey shares how the people on the small island of Guernsey survived during German occupation including forming a literary society to cover their tracks after feasting on an illegal pig. The two continue to exchange letters and develop a friendship which eventually leads Juliet to the small island to write about the society.
“We clung to books and to our friends; they reminded us that we had another part to us.”
There is the general somberness that comes with any book that focuses on WWII and its aftermath but there is also some light romance to balance it all out. The colorful cast of characters, who are all ardent book lovers and therefore people I wanted to spend lots of time with, as well as the unique format of telling the story exclusively through letters make this one a quick but enjoyable read.