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26.6.12

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

If so, you may want to give The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows a try.  It a story told through the written correspondence between a young author, Juliet Ashton, and many of the residents of Guernsey, an island in the English Chanel.  It is perfect for young adult and adult readers alike.

Guernsey was occupied by the Nazi's during WWII.  One evening when a dinner party runs late, a group of islanders is caught out after curfew.  Thinking quickly, Elizabeth, our heroine, tells the soldiers that they are a literary society and the soldiers escort the party home.  To keep up the ruse the group continues meeting and soon finds that they love books and that the society meetings have become a place of warmth and hope for these isolated islanders.

When one of the literary society members, Dawson, receives a copy of a Charles Lamb book with Juliet Ashton's name in it, he begins a correspondence with her, hoping to find more of Charles Lamb's work.  In short order, Juliet's imagination is captured by the people writing the letters to her and she decides to make them the subject of her second novel.

Once on the island, Juliet is swept up into the literary society and the lives of its members.  When asked about what books mean to her, Juliet simply replies, "So far my only thought is that reading keeps you from going gaga.”

And why Potato Peel, too?  One of the members of the group insisted that he would only attend if refreshments were served.  This was an available dish during the occupation and so the standard fare of the meetings.




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