World War II has just ended and author Juliet Ashton is on tour for her book Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War, but being in between writing projects has left her a little restless for something new to write about. One day she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams from the Channel Island of Guernsey explaining that he came into a possession of a collection of essays that previously belonged to Juliet. He notes that the book was a great comfort to him during the German Occupation of Guernsey when his only other source of solace was the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society he belonged to with several other islanders.
Juliet and Dawsey begin corresponding back and forth and soon Juliet is also corresponding with several other members of the society. Juliet looks to the Society for her next story, first to discuss the philosophical value of reading for The Times, but as she becomes more acquainted with the islanders she realizes that there are so many other stories that need to be shared. The Potato Peel Book is entirely composed of letters written during a nine-month period and through these letters Juliet (and I) learned what life was like during the war for the inhabitants of Guernsey we (Juliet and I) both fell a little bit in love with the members of the society.
I loved this book. It isn’t earth shattering and it wasn’t the best book I’ve read, but simply put it was just so nice. I know some people have a tough time with epistolary novels, but there’s something so romantic about reading the intimate details of someone’s thoughts and desires through the written word. I didn’t feel like each writer had his/her own distinctive voice (some more than others), but I did feel like by the end of the novel I really knew each of the characters and their desires. Dawsey is quiet and understated; I wish that Juliet and I were best friends and I can see how all the characters love her; Isola is quirky and mysterious and constantly made me laugh; little Kit is endearing, and Elizabeth–a character who is in some ways absent from the story is still such a colorful force within the book.
Even though this book is short and should be easy to read I ended up taking a long time with it. Part of me wanted to savor every bit of it. I didn’t want the letters to be over and I was sad when they were. The ending is fairly predictable but this book is just so comfortable. One of those curl up in a cozy spot and just let your mind be transported to another time type of books. This book has certainly made it’s way around the blogosphere and I actually read a copy that I bought for my step-mom two Christmases ago. It is one that I will continue to recommend to those looking for an engaging but not overly heavy book.
I’m counting this book as my “future classic” pick for the Classics Challenge. What I’ve found so interesting is that this book has been recommended by participants for a “future classic” more than any other book this year.
Aren’t they delectable and adorable? I told her she was going to have to make one of those corner bookmarks for me too! She has other cute card creations at her Esty shop that you should definitely check out (including a few Mother’s Day cards). Yes, I’m shamefully promoting but whatev.
How to enter for the Four notecards and Two bookmarks:
1. Leave a comment below and tell me about the last snail mail letter you sent
2. Leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win
3. Giveaway open to anyone (don’t have to be a book blogger!)
I’ll draw a winner sometime by the end of next week (May 1st or 2nd or something?) :D
Much Love and Happy Reading,