Everyone I know who has read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has loved it- some have even said they slowed down their reading because they did not want to get to the end of the novel. So I came to it with raised expectations and, as is almost the case when that happens, I was a little let down. Don’t get me wrong: this is a nicely written novel that is easy to read. It uses the device of letters to bring the story of a group of individuals in occupied Guernsey to the central character – writer, Juliet Ashton. It is heart warming, sometimes funny and it tells an interesting tale. But with my previous experience of war literature – albeit first world war – coming from Pat Barker’s excellent Regeneration trilogy, from Sebastian Barry’s A Long Long Way and from Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong – perhaps I expected too much. This is definitely a lighter read. Interestingly, notes at the end of my copy explain that the novel was completed by the author’s niece. I don’t know if that makes a difference but I did think there was a change and that the end of the novel was maybe a little too light. But I am nit picking. Sometimes light is good, sometimes it’s exactly what we need. So if you are thinking about buying this novel, don’t let me put you off. I did find it an enjoyable read and it would be a lovely book to take on holiday.
A book club of sorts in the occupied Channel Islands island of Guernsey during the Second World War is at the heart of this novel. It is an easy and heart-warming read that would be perfect to take on your holidays.