December 27, 2019
Celebrating a Bookish Hanukkah With Our Jewish Friends: Seventh Candle–All Colors of the Rainbow
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
I’m linking up today with Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog (information on the meme link up here) to celebrate a bookish Hanukkah with our Jewish friends. #eightcandlebooktag Join us! (find my first candle here, find my second candle here, third candle here, fourth here, fifth here, sixth candle here)
Happy Hanukkah to my friends, followers, and book buddies who are celebrating!
Seventh Candle: All the Colors of the Rainbow
A book that just thinking about it makes you feel hopeful and happy, like seeing a rainbow after the rain.
Davida’s prompt today is difficult because I just realized that I read a great deal of sad and difficult books! (the hazards of historical fiction!) One reason I like to mix up my histic read with an occasional Middle-Grade read is that MG always has hopeful endings! The Vanderbeekers is probably the happiest Middle-Grade book I’ve read!
In adult fiction, though, it’s difficult for me to identify an overall happy book because my preferences lean toward histfic, complicated family drama, and memoirs. As I perused my Goodreads shelves, one book kept begging for my attention: Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Simply seeing the title makes me feel like I’m greating an old friend and elicits a smile!
For today’s post, I’m choosing to highlight the delightful The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“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.
I haven’t written a full review of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so I’ll list some bullet points to share the reasons why I love this book:
- Epistolary format: I love books written in this format because it helps me appreciate the beautiful and gentle art of old fashioned letter writing! Other books I love in epistolary format include The Last Christmas in Paris, 84 Charing Cross Road, Meet Me at the Museum, and The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir.
- Book Club and Books About Books: A heartwarming aspect of the story is the inadvertent formation of a book club and the resulting book talk! When caught out after curfew by the Germans, Elizabeth claims to have been at a book club meeting. So a book club was hastily organized to authenticate her cover story! The members are not typical book club members, and it’s quite charming how it all comes together.
- Potato Peel Pie: Of course, an important consideration of a book club meeting is the snacks! Thus Potato Peel Pie was invented from their meager resources.
- Characters: In this story, you will find unique, quirky, and lovable characters! Part of the charm is the close and loyal community they create.
- Found Family: This story includes one of my favorite themes which is found family.
- Multiple Perspectives: I love stories with multiple perspectives and this includes several! You might need to take notes at first to keep everyone straight. I did love hearing first hand from the cast of unique characters..
- Dual Timelines: I enjoy a dual timeline if they are well written and they intersect smoothly.
- Gentle and Charming: If you don’t read histfic, this might be an excellent book to nudge you into that genre!
- Themes of Love: This does include a traditional love story thread (friends to lovers), but it’s also a story of a child loved by the community, and a story of how community members form a close bond.
- Hopeful: One reason this story has stayed with me through the years is the good feelings that it provoked during and after reading. I love that in dire circumstances, people can still come together to form something lovely, meaningful, and life-sustaining. The members of the book club respect each other’s differences and support each other in every way.
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
With enthusiasm, I highly recommend Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for fans of epistolary novels, for readers who are looking for a light histic read, and for all those who appreciate charming and heartwarming stories. It’s on my lifetime favorites list, and it would make a terrific selection for a book club discussion. Plus, you can watch the excellent Netflix film adaptation together! Watch the trailer here.
My Rating: 5 stars
Meet the Authors,
Mary Ann Shaffer (seated in foreground) passed away before she finished this novel, and her niece, Annie Barrows stepped in to finish the work and take it to publication.
Mary Ann Shaffer (seated in foreground) who passed away in February 2008, worked as an editor, librarian, and in bookshops. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel.
Annie Barrows is the co-author, with her aunt Mary Ann Shaffer, of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, published by the Dial Press in 2008. An international best-seller, translated into 38 languages, the novel was adapted into a feature film in 2018. Her best-selling second novel, The Truth According to Us, was published in 2015. Annie lives in Berkeley, California, with her family.
Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society or is it on your TBR?
I have finished my Fall TBR!
(just in time to begin my Winter TBR!)
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text
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