As most of my friends know, I'm not a big fan of stories written in a personal letter format. Sometimes the letters go on for so long that I get bored and set the book aside, never to finish it. I realize that it's a tad unfair to the author, but some stories written as personal letters make reading more of a chore than a joy.
But I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up a copy of 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society', by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows. While working at Borders, we were required to recommend this book to customers, and I've always felt that to be truly honest with any recommend, I should know the story. I reluctantly opened the book and soon found myself totally involved in this thoroughly enchanting, funny, and, often, heartbreaking novel.
Right after WW2, London writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from one of the founding members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Soon intrigued, Juliet smells a story, and begins a correspondence. She learns that the island had been occupied by German soldiers during the war, and decides to visit in order to find out just what happened to the islanders during such a horrific time. Along the way, she establishes a close bond with many of the people. Her visit exposes lies and reveals secrets.
'Guernsey' is a quick read, and I hated to see it end. I found myself really caring for the well-developed characters. I laughed and cried, then laughed some more.
This a great book to put under someone's tree...and they'll thank you, again and again.
And they might even forget to eat their Christmas dinner.
Available in trade paperback at any bookstore