So delighted to have a new installment of Off the Shelf for you today! Liz Johnson, author of The Red Door Inn, is stopping by today to share about her favorite book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It's a novel that's been on my re-read list for quite some time, and Liz's blog is an eloquent reminder why.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - read it only if you
want to be delighted.
A little over a year ago, I met the new girl at work. She was outgoing, funny, and loved books—maybe, almost as much as I do. We hit it off right away, and I knew we could be good friends.
And then we hit a bump in the road. During one of our countless book discussions, she confessed. She’d never read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer.
I repeat—a self-professed book lover had never read the most enchanting book of all time. She hadn’t even picked it up. (Of course, if she had picked it up, she absolutely would have finished it, because how could you not finish such an endearing book?) I wasn’t sure this budding friendship could withstand such a hiccup.
The Potato Peel Pie book, as I affectionately call it, is the book that I recommend to everyone I meet. I had the very good fortune of working for the publisher when the book was released in paperback, and I managed to end up with a hardcover and three paperbacks. And I’m proud that I’ve given away half of those. But I always like to keep at least two on hand. One to share and one because I never know when I’m going to feel the urge to curl up with it and a hot cup of chocolate on a cool winter night.
So, what is it about this book that’s so special, you ask? I’m glad you did.
First, it’s told entirely through letters. We’re first introduced to our heroine Juliet, as she’s corresponding with friends while hunting for the topic of her next book. She’s a writer, so I love her already. And the epistolary format allows us to hear the unique voices of each character—including the ones we’d rather not hear from at all. It’s 1946 when she receives a fan letter from the tiny island of Guernsey, one of two English islands that were occupied by the Germans during WWII.
Which leads us to the second reason this is such a special book. There are plenty of books out there about WWII, but this one looks at the war and the plight of people stuck in terrible situations from a whole new angle. The good people of Guernsey and the members of the aforementioned literary society share with Juliet stories of their beloved friend Elizabeth and the terrible toll the war has taken on them all. But also the hope that they discovered in the midst of the occupation.
That hope brings us to reason number three why I love this book so. Hope allows the book to be absolutely enchanting. Even in the midst of tears, I was so in love with the people who pepper the town. I was so beyond delighted with their joys and broken by their sorrows that I felt I knew them. Felt I belonged with them just as much as Juliet does.
Fourth, and finally, through it all blossoms the sweetest romance, one that had this particular reader cheering out loud in an airport upon my first reading. But the love story isn’t only between Juliet and her man. It’s also between the wild and witty cast of characters who find their way into the reader’s heart, who share life and love and loss and somehow bring it all back to hope.
|Isle of Guernsey - read more here.|
And I’m pleased to report that my friend took my suggestion, borrowed my book, and read the Potato Peel Pie book. And she was just as enchanted as I am. Friendship saved.
Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? How enchanting did you find it on a scale of one to dancing in the rain?
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About The Red Door Inn: Marie Carrington is broke, desperate, and hoping to find sanctuary on Prince Edward Island while decorating a renovated bed-and-breakfast. Seth Sloane moved three thousand miles to help restore his uncle's Victorian B and B--and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart. He wasn't expecting to have to babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her.
The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just two months will take everything they've got—and they have to find a way to work together. In the process, they may find something infinitely sweeter than they ever imagined on this island of dreams.
We're giving away a copy of The Red Door Inn! Log in and comment below to enter. Tell us - if you could go to any setting of a fictional book, from PEI to Merryton, where would you visit?