Talk about a mouthful of a title! This was another of the books we read for my hometown book club, and I wasn’t expecting much from it. Historical fiction is pretty hit or miss with me, and when I saw the whole book was made up of letters, I figured it was going to be a miss. IT WAS NOT A MISS. It was fantastic.
In The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Juliet Ashton is a writer who had a column in a major newspaper during World War II that she wrote under a pen name. At the beginning of the book, she’s touring for the release of her pen name’s book, a collection of the columns she wrote during the war. She’s tired of her character and wants to write under her true name – lucky for her, her school friend is the editor at her publishing company. She’s burned out and not sure what to do next. That’s when she gets the first letter from Guernsey. Dawsey Adams got ahold of a used book that used to be Juliet’s, and wrote her looking for more on and by the same writer. They start corresponding, and he tells her about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Juliet sees that this might be a good idea for a book, and starts corresponding with other members of the society as well. She eventually gets so close to them and falls so in love with Guernsey that she goes there with no plan or intention of coming back. Her book starts to take shape, and her heart along with it. ❤
3 Things I Loved
- Dawsey. Of all the characters in this book, I definitely most related to Dawsey. Quiet, respected, and persuasive when he needed to be, Dawsey is very clearly the core of the group. He’s the first to write to Juliet, and oh my goodness, I loved the ending. No spoilers though!
- Juliet. I’m not sure this story would have worked being told through anyone else. Juliet’s voice was unique and funny and I was just happy every time I picked up the book to read more. I’m going to reiterate how much I loved the ending!
- The Society. This group of weirdos is my favorite book club of any fictional book club. Bless them.
It’s always a little trickier to talk about problematic content in historical fiction, mostly because what’s normal and expected changes over time. However, I think it can very easily be pointed out that there is very little diversity in this book. I understand that at this point in history, there was probably very little diversity in Guernsey in general, but there definitely was in London, and it wasn’t mentioned once. So it’s sort of… take that critique with a grain of salt, because it’s not difficult to buy that the racial makeup of Guernsey was well-represented in the book after all.
Shout out to Sidney for being an on-the-page gay character! I love seeing that in historical fiction.
And again, times have changed, but one thing I STRONGLY DISLIKED in this book was Mark Reynolds!!!! He’s barely a character, really, but the way he forces himself into Juliet’s existence while also disrespecting what she does and how she does it… I HATE THAT SHIT. Mark Reynolds, you’re a trash person. Good thing you’re fictional.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
I was truly filled with joy while I was reading this book. Especially when Dawsey was on the page, I just loved him. I’m giving The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society a BLUE rating. I loved this one a lot.