The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society is set just after the second world war and the main character, Juliet, is a female author who is looking for a subject for her next book. By chance she learns about a literary society formed by the inhabitants of the island of Guernsey while they were occupied by the Germans during the war. Guernsey is an island which is a British Crown Dependency but is actually located closer to the French mainland than the British Isles. For five years the island was occupied by the Germans and the people had to deal with food shortages and both bad and good treatment by the German soldiers.
The book is written in the style of a series of letters. In the current time of instantaneous communications with email and text messages I found this very interesting. It got me thinking about how much we rely on and expect to have information immediately. For those on Guernsey when it was occupied by the Germans they were able to receive almost no information whatsoever from England, no mail was able to get through and it was dangerous to own a radio to try to pick up BBC broadcasts. Before the occupation many of the island’s school children had been evacuated to England and parents couldn’t get any information about them for the five years that the occupation continued.
The book follows Juliet as she searches for a topic for her book, learns more about Guernsey and tries to find love. I found it to be a lovely story and really enjoyed reading the letters. This style made the book and the stories feel very personal and in an historical context, I found the experiences of Guernsey during the war very interesting.