Written By: Annie Barrows, Mary Ann Shaffer
Narrated By: John Lee, Rosalyn Landor, Paul Boehmer, Juliet Mills, Susan Duerden
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Date: July 2008
Duration: 8 hours 7 minutes
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Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Audiobook Summary
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A NETFLIX FILM • A remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.
“Treat yourself to this book, please—I can’t recommend it highly enough.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. . . .
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.
Praise for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
“A jewel . . . Poignant and keenly observed, Guernsey is a small masterpiece about love, war, and the immeasurable sustenance to be found in good books and good friends.”—People
“A book-lover’s delight, an implicit and sometimes explicit paean to all things literary.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“A sparkling epistolary novel radiating wit, lightly worn erudition and written with great assurance and aplomb.”—The Sunday Times (London)
“Cooked perfectly à point: subtle and elegant in flavour, yet emotionally satisfying to the finish.”—The Times (London).
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Audiobook Reviews
Based on many of the reviews here, and from others on Amazon, I almost didn’t read this book. Sure, it received really good ratings, but those were predominantly from women. And it’s NOT that I don’t respect the female perspective – but as a book club member, I end up being a bit swamped by what are pejoratively called “chick books”. Admittedly, I’m rarely disappointed, but come on – a guy needs a good thriller or a murder or a marauding hero in a book every once in a while! So, I feared that “Guernsey/Potato Peel Pie” would be such a book – and the title didn’t help any! But, I was pleasantly surprised! Okay, sure, there is no real nail-biting action (and certainly no explosions or car chases), but it was a really delightful look at human personalities, and the indomitable will to survive – each characater in his/her own way – in the face of harsh adversity. And, via the literary devise of being told exclusively through transmitted letters/cables/notes, it was a subtle and well-developed study in human nature. Additional to the wonderful characterizations, this story has the side benefit of relating a bit of the history of the German occupation of the Channel Islands, as well as the bombing of London in the 1940’s. As to the quality of the audiobook – it was superb! At our recent book club meeting, I found that my having listened to the audio version of the book may have been the best selection of media. With this audiobook, I was regaled and enthralled by the reading skills of multiple voices, and this proved to be an added layer of enjoyment for me, over the printed book version. Hearing the various accents really helped differentiate between characters. In addition, the excellent readers in this audiobook version provided subtle tonal inflections that conveyed passion and intent. It was truly an impeccable production…well worth the price!
Listen To Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Audiobook
In January 1946, 32-year-old Juliet Ashton embarks on a cross-country tour across England to promote her latest book. Written under her pen-name Izzy Bickerstaff, the book is a compilation of comedic columns she wrote about life during World War II. Despite the fact that she was initially contracted to write another Izzy Bickerstaff book, Juliet writes to her publisher that she wants to retire the pseudonym.
On her tour, Juliet is greeted with flowers from the mysterious Markham V. Reynolds, Jr. Her best friend and publisher, Sidney, warns Juliet that Mark is a wealthy American trying to establish a publishing empire and looking to poach her. Reynolds makes it clear that he is a fan, and she and Reynolds soon begin dating.
Juliet receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, a complete stranger from Guernsey who has come into possession of her copy of Essays of Elia and who wants to know more about the author, Charles Lamb. Juliet helps to send him further books by Lamb. She is also intrigued that Adams is part of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and inquires about the group’s name.
After learning that the society began as a cover for residents breaking curfew during the German occupation of Guernsey, Juliet begins a correspondence with several members of the Society, hoping to work them into an article she is writing on the benefits of literature for The Times Literary Supplement. Mark proposes as Juliet is preparing to leave for Guernsey and she delays giving an answer, not wanting to repeat the error of her previous engagement. Juliet also learns that Elizabeth McKenna, the Society’s beloved founder, was arrested and sent to a prison in France by the Germans and has yet to return home. The members of the Society are raising her child, Kit, among themselves until Elizabeth returns.
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