Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Normally I avoid the kind of books that get reviewed on NPR, snapped up by book clubs, etc. But The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, 2008) sounded intriguing enough when I heard about it on Morning Edition that I decided to make an exception, and I'm glad I did. It has just about everything that makes me happy in a read--a lively community of characters, a vividly developed historical setting, a romance arc, an ability to deal with serious business without taking itself to seriously, and, last but not least, a happy ending.

The book takes place in 1946, when Britain is just beginning to put itself back together after WWII. The heroine, a London newspaper columnist, begins a chance correspondence with a man from the island of Guernsey, which was occupied by the Germans during the war. It's a purely epistolary novel, deftly written in a pleasantly old-fashioned voice. (Shaffer, the primary author, died after the book was accepted but before publication--Barrows is her niece.)

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