Mary Ann Shaffer – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ is an epistolary novel. It tells the story of writer Juliet Ashton and how she gets in contact with members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The book contains the correspondence between writer Juliet Ashton, her friends and several members of the society. The book is set in Britain in 1946, in the first part Juliet is based in London, in the second part she visits her new friends in Guernsey.

This novel made me very happy. Although the subject matter is at times quite serious, the tone is still optimistic. There is a lot of humour in this book and the diverse cast of characters is amusing, moving and entertaining. This book made me happy, just like ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ has done.

Yet, although I love the story, the tone and the characters, there are a couple of things that bug me about this book. First, I was not really convinced by the epistolary form. It is nice that the story is told from different points of view, but I felt it was the same voice throughout the letters. The characters, although they tell different stories, do not have their own voices. I was able to distinguish who was writing which letter by the contents of that letter and not via the language, use of words, etc. Secondly, even though the tone is light and witty, I was not blown away by the writing. I find it hard to put this into words exactly, but I found something missing.

To sum it up, I would definitely recommend this novel. It is guaranteed to make you smile, laugh out loud and want to visit Guernsey. It made me really cheerful. I have some reservations with regard to the writing, but that is all.

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