Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What do you get when you add together a deep and searching writer with a bunch of quirky lovers of literature confined to an island? A wonderful love story. Not just a love story between two people, but between many many people. Not in a creepy polygamous kind of way, but in a love conquers all riveting story.
I LOVED this book. I listened to it while traveling across the country with three children a cat and a dog. (I almost accidently wrote a cat and a god. I always mix up my g and d fingers) But find it a funny slip because I think God was with me testifying of the truthfulness of the principle of love throughout the book. I think I would have loved the book more if I could have actually read it from paper, as the story was told by many letters written and received among lots of lovely characters. But, just so you know how fun and interesting these letters were, know that I wore a pair of headphones in my car so that I could drown out the children and pets and give complete focus.
I am so glad I persevered. Before the Guernsey island characters were introduced the book was a bore. Really, is there any way to lose for an author who places her story in the aftermath of World War II? Who doesn't love reading about this fascinating time frame? I had personally never thought about how the war effected a little English Isle. To be honest, even though I will look totally ignorant, I didn't even know the island existed before reading this fiction. I am just assuming the island is really there. Correct me if I am wrong.
The characters were to die for. An orphaned girl whose mother was sent to be imprisoned for helping out a suffering soldier. A boy who was sent off to the mainland to survive the war. Both children were raised by a literary society. A very loving literary society. I couldn't help but think of my book club girls. The beauty of this literary society was the variety of personalities. There was one woman who was a witch and had a pet parrot. A man who was a simple farmer. A typical motherly loving sort. Then there was the love interest. He's dreamy.
Add into the story a homosexual man. A survivor of the concentration camps. A rich American. A best friend (who happens to be the sister of the homosexual.) An arrogant and snotty and holier than thou (who is bound to make anyone religious person second think they're close mindedness). And wha-la. It's a story you won't want to put down. Fascinating and personally rewarding. Entertaining. And most of all beautiful. It will make you want to be a hero or a heroine. It will make the most miserable of people want to be a Saint. More than anything, this great work of fiction is a testament to the power of people when they open their minds and love one another.
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