There is nothing quite like the adrenaline rush that you can get from being thoroughly gripped by a good book and being physically incapable of getting off the sofa to do anything else until you have finished reading. This book will stop you from doing any cooking, cleaning, socialising or, in fact, living until you have read the novel from cover to cover.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is set in 1946 and follows the author Juliet Ashton who is searching around for an idea for her next book. Purely by chance Dawsey Adams from the recently liberated Guernsey contacts her as he has bought a second hand copy of Charles Lambs’ essays which were previously owned by Juliet. He wants to know if she can help him find a biography of Charles Lamb as all the bookshops on Guernsey were shut down during the German Occupation. Dawsey mentions that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Juliet’s intrigue is sparked. A regular correspondance develops between Juliet and Dawsey and later between Juliet and all the members of the society.
The novel is very funny and perfectly captures British eccentricity as well as examining the difficulties faced by the inhabitants of Guernsey during the occupation with touching honesty and insight into a community coming to terms with irrevocable change. The complexity of both the occupation and human nature is realised and dealt with through wit and sensitivity. From the horror of the war crimes committed on Guernsey to the wonderful tale of a literary society bringing people together and triumphing over adversity, this book will have you utterly gripped.
This is a tale that exalts the power of reading and the somewhat Arnoldian view that culture can be transformative – the L&PPPS not only transforms the lives of the Guernsey inhabitants during the occupation but it transforms Juliet Ashton’s life; it gives her an idea for a book and also gives her a new life.
First page teaser – a letter from Juliet Ashton to her publisher Sidney Stark:
Now for my grim news. You asked me how work on my new book is progressing. Sidney, it isn’t. English Foibles seemed so promising at first. After all, one should be able to write reams about the Society to Protest Against the Glorification of the English Bunny. I unearthed a photograph of the Vermin Exterminators’ Trade Union marching down an Oxford street with placards screaming ‘Down with Beatrix Potter!’ But what is there to write about after a caption? Nothing, that’s what.