I didn’t go into this book with too many expectations. I had read some mixed reviews on it, most of them negative, but the title intrigued me too much not to look into it. I am actually glad I did because I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did.
As the world recovers from the World War II, Juliet Ashton is trying to find her next book subject. One day, she receives an unexpected letter from a man in Guernsey who had come across her name in a book by another author. A correspondence follows and Juliet learns that the man is part of an impromptu literary society which began as an alibi for breaking a curfew set up by the Germans. Juliet begins to correspond with each of the literary members and learns how the island of Guernsey survived during the war. Quickly becoming immersed in their stories, Juliet decides to visit the island to see if this could be the break she was waiting for.
Considering my previous statements, I think it is safe to say this book sneaks up on you slowly. I was halfway through the book and was having my doubts. I was beginning to think the critics were right. The correspondence between Juliet and the islanders was becoming boring. But then Juliet goes to the island and the story begins to pick up. It is one thing for Juliet to hear abut the island and another to experience it for herself. That is when I really felt connected to each of the characters and became interested in the story.
I was actually surprised when tears started running down my face. I had come to a pivotal point in the book but I was surprised to have such a reaction. I have read more emotional, stirring stories and had less of a reaction. It was tears of happiness and sadness together. I flew through the rest of the book and ended with a sense of contentment, just like the characters.
I definitely liked watching Juliet grow in this story, especially with her relationship with her man friend (not sure if she actually calls him a boyfriend). I personally didn’t care for him so I was glad that when he proposes, she doesn’t give him an answer right away . That was her saving grace for me. Had she said yes right away, I think Juliet would have lost my respect. However, Julie isn’t sure if marriage is what she wants and decides to wait before giving him an answer. It strengthened her character for me.
I loved reading about the different islanders. They definitely had their own personalities and I could picture them as the individuals they were. This is another reason why I liked the second half of the book more. These characters just fell flat when they were writing to Juliet. When Juliet writes about them in her letters to home, she brings them alive.
I was actually surprised that the island of Guernsey is a real place, and the events that took place on the island are based on real events. I had never heard of Guernsey or about this part of World War II history so this was a real treat.
Overall, I liked this book and thought it was way better than some critics described it. If I had to give it a rating, it would get 4 stars.
Have you read this The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? What did you think? What other books have you liked more than the critics? Let’s discuss!