The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The GuernseyWhat luck to have two writers in the family. When Mary Ann Shaffer became too unwell to make changes suggested by her publisher, her niece Annie Barrows took over. This novel of letters has many voices, but a beautiful and consistent heart.

A London journalist, Juliet, strikes up a correspondence with members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and becomes fascinated with island life during the Nazi occupation. After being caught out after curfew, the brilliant Elizabeth invented the lie that they had been carried away at their literary society, and the fictional society quickly became fact.

Although there are deeply serious events at its centre, the novel is gorgeously funny and chooses just the right character to tell each part of the story, the luxury of the epistolary form. The narrative unfolds compellingly, with small mysteries, a parrot, and an earnest child – a few of my favourite things! The island is the perfect location; a natural, if run-down, paradise compared to post-Blitz London. The ending is utterly perfect.

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