Juliet is a writer, Sidney is a publisher and Dawsey is a member of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. He writes to Juliet after reading a book that once belonged to her, using the name and address inscribed on the opening page. It’s all very cute. All the characters are interested in literature and there is a strong theme of loving books which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and connected to the characters. The book title probably gives some of that away.
Since I started reviewing books I have been keeping a book journal. I wrote down some notes as I was reading this lengthily titled novel, which I will transcribe for you: ‘My best description of this book is that it is a love letter to the power of the written word, especially in times of hardship’. I also noted that I spent a lot of the time I was reading smiling at the book and wrote ‘this book is LOVELY’. Which it is.
I am finding more and more that I love historical fiction, and especially stories that link to World War Two and this fits that category. Although it takes place after the war, a lot of the letters are about people’s experiences in the war and how to process them. It’s a beautiful story and I feel very silly for taking this long to read it when it’s been sitting on my shelf for years!
If you’re a book lover on any level I think you’ll appreciate this story. The novel is made up of letters between a few main characters, in particular Juliet, Sidney and Dawsey.
A quote I particularly loved was from one of the book club members, Isola, after reading Wuthering Heights for the first time, “Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books”. It’s a sentiment which I fully can relate to!
The main character who ties it all together is Juliet. Juliet wrote humorous stories for a magazine during World War Two, which were then all published as a book. She is now stuck for a new story and her correspondence with Dawsey and other members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society give her new inspiration. It’s really fun trying to put together a full picture of what is happening and what the relationships between all the characters are when all you have to go on is what they write to each other, and about each other. It’s amazing what you can read and infer between the lines so to speak.
When I first came across The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society it was being used as a studied text at a school I was working at. A lot of people raved about it and I can now see why. I think it would be really fun to teach or even use as a secondary text to complement other stories about World War Two. I have since recommended it to a number of people, especially friends I know enjoy historical fiction and are book lovers themselves.
Do you read historical fiction? What is your favourite World War Two related novel?