The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Peel Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Publish Date: July 10, 2008 (audiobook published September 2, 2008)
Published by: The Dial Press/Random House Audio
Audiobook Narrated by: Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, Juliet Mills
Length: 8 hrs 6 min (389 pages)
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)
It’s 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can’t think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a book that once belonged to her – and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it’s not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.
I listened to this as an audiobook and absolutely loved it. The multiple narrators made it such an enjoyable listen, with all the different character voices being so distinct. It was a little slow for me to get into at first – I kept thinking it was taking too long for Juliet to even get to Guernsey – but somewhere along the line I found myself completely enthralled by the characters and eager to know more about their goings-on and such. I was a little annoyed that it took forever for the romance to happen, but I also am a sucker for a slow-burn as well. It was a little frustrating that so many of the islanders were completely oblivious to Dawsey and Juliet’s feelings for one another, especially when it was obvious to Sidney and Sophie who weren’t even present on the island to see their interactions first hand.
The story of the occupation was inspiring, of course, as was the story of Elizabeth McKenna. The ending felt like it escalated fast, skipping the whole “hey I like you, you like me” part and jumping ahead in the relationship status a little too quickly for me, and then ending somewhat abruptly. All-in-all, though, this book was a delight to listen to, with moments that were both bittersweet and joyful.