REVIEWED BY CESCA MARTIN
This book comes with a warning: DO NOT be put off by the mad title. I have recommended this book to friends/family/hairdressers/perfect strangers and there is a universal reaction when I say the title. They wrinkle their nose, nod and smile and secretly inside are thinking “I’m not going to read that”. This is frankly one of the best books I have ever read. And I’m not that into over-stating things. It was a book that was so warm and funny that when I finished it I felt sad because I wanted the characters to be real, I wanted to meet them and hang out with them on Guernsey.
The book is set just after the Second World War and is arranged as a series of letters. The central character, a female author called Juliet Ashton, is looking for her next book subject. A letter arrives from a man she has never met, Guernsey islander Dawsey Adams, and so begins an incredible correspondence between the two strangers. He tells her about the experiences on the island that was under German occupation during the war, and the story behind the creation of a book club – the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Her interest piqued Juliet starts to write to other members of the society and we are introduced to a colourful host of characters – from pig farmers to children whose mothers were sent away to concentration camps in Europe. Well aware that she has found the next subject of her book Juliet sets sail to Guernsey...
This book had me laughing out loud and shedding real tears. It was, quite simply, beautifully written. I’ve been waiting to review it for weeks, simply to spread the word. More people should read this heart-warming tale. It is just so damn charming! The story behind the two authors – an aunt and niece – is as moving as the book itself. Mary Ann Shaffer died just after finding out the book her own book club had pestered her to write had sold in many countries across the world. Read this book and join the many people who now want to set sail for Guernsey!
To watch a clip by Annie Barrows and discover more about Guernsey you can visit the Random House Site