The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Posted by on Aug 1, 2010 in Book Notes

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows (Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2008 Aug. 2010)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyDuring World War II the German military occupied vast regions beyond those in which actual combat raged. The inhabitants of those occupied regions suffered much from Nazi tyranny, plunder, and brutality, yet displayed considerable endurance, courage, and resilience until their eventual liberation. In the novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, we learn of the wartime experience of a group of neighbors on that second-largest of the English Channel Islands, which the Germans occupied and fortified from June 1940 until May 1945.

The story is told mostly in the form of post-war correspondence between some quirky islanders and a young woman from London who is writing a book about Guernsey’s occupation. The characters are endearing, and their small acts of heroism are vivid and moving. The strange title refers to the name of a book club, made up on the spot, formed by neighbors to mask their illegal meetings from the occupiers.

Written with great style and much wit by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, this work of historical fiction sheds light from an unusual angle on one corner of life under Nazi occupation. (Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London, paperback, 2008).

The book review above was originally published in a feature titled “Book Notes”, published in the August, 2010 edition of AmitiĆ©, the newsletter of Normandy Allies, Inc. This note was written by Walter Ford Carter, member of the Normandy Allies Board and the team that leads its history-study experience each summer. Walter, the son of Captain Elmer Norval Carter, a US Army battalion surgeon in the 29th Division who was killed in action on June 17 1944, is the author of No Greater Sacrifice, No Greater Love: A Son’s Journey to Normandy.

 

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