Story in Review: The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer

Story in Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society | Inkwells & Images

In the last several years, I’ve read The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer at least three times. And each time, I fall in love with the quirky ensemble of characters all over again.

Written entirely in letters back and forth between the dozen or so characters, the timeline follows an author, Juliet, who by chance comes in contact with a group of readers on the island of Guernsey. The story takes place as the island – and England – are rebuilding after World War II, and the novel touches on the years of hardship and horror that the people experience, but does so with sensitivity and an eye for beauty. The authors’ love for the written word shines through the pages, and in true novel form – there is a happy ending for all.

Favorite Quotes:

“I can’t think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, something I can’t be silent with.” – p. 8

“Perhaps there is some secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” – p. 10

“No one in their right mind would take up clerking in a bookstore for the salary, and no one in his right mind would want to own one – the margin of profit is too small. So, it has to be a love of readers and reading that makes them do it – along with first dibs on the new books.” – p. 15

“She said the Queen doesn’t need to impress strangers, but I do.” – p. 17

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.” – p. 53

“I figure hunger makes you desperate when you wake to it every morning.” – p. 65

“I think you learn more if you are laughing at the same time.” – p. 89

“He’s the most un-hurrying person I’ve ever met.” – p. 167

“I did not want to spend my time reading about people who never was, doing things they never did.” – p. 71

What made this a good story? There are a myriad of characters, but you never confuse them – they are each painted with such a unique brush. Choosing to tell the story through letters gives the reader the actual words of the person saying them (er… writing them) and it helps to learn where each person is coming from and their motivations for how they live their lives. It’s also just a delightful tale: falling in love through a common joy found in a good book.

What could have made it a better story? While I love that the book is written in letters, it can be a bit tough as you dive in to keep straight who is writing to whom. This is possibly because I tend to skip the section headings and dive right into the letter, when really I should not. Perhaps a map at the beginning of the novel and a list of the principle characters and their relationship to Juliet would help.

Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? If so, what did you think?

What I Read in June

What I Read - June | Inkwells & Images

June. One of the loveliest months of the year here in Wisconsin. It’s harder to sit still and read when the great outdoors, blissful temperatures, and all sorts of distractions are calling.

Aside from June Dairy Month taking over my life, June was a good month. And even the events for Dairy Month were good, just exhausting. Here is what I read in June:

Fiction

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen – This was my second Dessen this summer and I’m not entirely sure I’ll read more of hers. There doesn’t seem to be much that happens in these books, and the plot lines thus far have been pretty predictable. Maybe her later stuff is more complex? Please tell me it is – I want to like Dessen’s stuff.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer – This is one of my favorite books. This is the third or fourth read for me, this time for book club. If you like stories with great ensemble casts, this one is for you. I’ll write a full review on Thursday for you all.

The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey: Memories from the Farm of My Youth by Alan Guebert and Mary Grace Foxwell – Mary Grace, i.e. Gracie, is a friend. When we first met this winter, she was putting the finishing touches on a book where she and her journalist father pulled all of the columns he has written about the family farm he grew up on and compiled them into one place. This was a delightful read that reminded me so much of my own farming family. I’ll plan to write a full review next week.

Nonfiction

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand – I am about two chapters away from finishing this one, and considering the size of the book, I’m going to shelve it here in the “done” pile. :) It’s been a great but slow read for me – I recommend it if you like military history and stories of survival against unbelievable odds, and if you can stomach some gore on the page – it’s about time spent in a war and POW camps, after all.

In Progress

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

Up Next

We Were Liars by E. L. Lockhart – This is another YA recommendation from the lovely Callie – and I am excited to dive in!

What have you read lately that blew your socks off? What’s next on your TBR pile?

Madison, WI – Hidden Gems Travel Guide

Madison WI Travel Guide | Inkwells & Images

It’s been almost 9 years since I’ve started calling the Madison, WI area home. So it’s about time for a travel guide. If you think you might make a stop over in our fair city sometime (or don’t think you will by want to be convinced you should!), I’m sharing a few of my favorites with Susannah over at Feast + West today.

Check out the Hidden Gems: Madison, WI Travel Guide on Feast + West.