Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Juliet Ashton doesn’t want to be Izzy Bickerstaff any more. As a journalist, she SO wants to find a new subject to write about. Little did she know that issue would resolve itself, beginning with the arrival of a letter from a stranger, Mr. Dawsey Adams, a native of the island of Guernsey.

(If you have forgotten some of your history as I had, Guernsey Island lies off the coasts of England and France and was brutally occupied by the Nazis from 1940 to 1945. With short notice, 17,000 of the 40,000 people who lived there evacuated to the United Kingdom. Of those, there were 4000 who were just children sent to live with strangers. Although The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is fiction, it is based on the factual German occupation of those islands and I was so fascinated by the subject that I Googled to learn more after I finished the book.)

After the war, there were no bookstores on the island and Mr. Dawsey Adams wrote to Juliet in London..…whose name and address he found written on the flyleaf of an old book he had..…to ask her if she could suggest the name of a bookstore in London where he might send for some particular books. His mention of an odd sounding book club made her so curious as to write back immediately. Thus began the correspondence which is the form this narrative takes. For the longest time I didn’t want to read this book because of that particular style …  simply a series of letters… but delightfully fascinating letters indeed and the perfect form for this tale. That book club referred to by Mr. Adams, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, was conceived because of a roast pig and a hastily invented alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans. Refreshments became part of the society meetings because ” Will Thisbee wasn’t going to go to any meetings unless there were eats! Since there was scant butter, less flour, and no sugar to spare on Guernsey then, Will concocted a potato peel pie: mashed potatoes for filling, strained beets for sweetness, and potato peelings for crust. Will’s recipes are usually dubious, but this one became a favorite”

You will be as fascinated as Juliet is by the tales told in the letters of these charming and eccentric Guernsey characters who successfully thwarted their German invaders.

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