The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Okay, so apparently I am the LAST person to read this book.  What took me so long?  Why hadn’t I read this one earlier?  I can’t even explain how much I loved this book.  I was reading it today at the gym on the treadmill and literally had to stop and go wipe the tears that were falling.  I may have looked a bit odd to the other people in the gym, but I love when a book does that to me.

Summary: This book is told entirely in letters, something I do not usually enjoy, but more on that in my review section.  The “narrator” is Juliet Ashton, a well-known author.  The story begins right after World War II, in England.  London, and everywhere else for that matter, is still reeling from the aftermath of the war.  Juliet is struggling to pick up her own life and find something to write about, when she receives a letter from a man living on the island of Guernsey (located on the English channel).  Apparently this man had found a copy of book that once belonged to her.  The two begin corresponding to one another and he tells her about his life in Guernsey during the war.  Juliet finds his story fascinating and decides she wants to publish a weekly article about what it was like to be under German occupation.  Soon other people on the island begin writing to Juliet and she finds herself swept up in their lives. She decides to go to Guernsey so she can learn more and complete her research.  While many of the stories she hears are heartbreakingly sad, there is always an overwhelming amount of love, strength, and triumph of human spirit.  This is the kind of story that makes you remember all the kindness and good in the world, even in the darkest of times.

Review: I do not normally like books that switch voices, I usually experience a disconnect with the characters, but this was not the case.  I loved all the characters, each one was fully developed and had their own adorable and charming quirks.  We all have heard of the horrors of the concentration camps and what life was like there, but this story tells a whole other side of the war that I knew nothing about.  In fact, I had never even heard of Guernsey before this book.  And the stories!  Parents forced with the decision of sending their children to England or keeping them home and under the threat of Nazis, women who faced death to save and feed starving prisoners, German soldiers facing death to give starving children a potato off their truck, these stories will stay with me forever.  If you are one of those people who haven’t read this book yet, don’t waste another minute… it today!!