I must confess that prior to reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, the only islands I could name in the UK (excluding Great Brita...moreI must confess that prior to reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, the only islands I could name in the UK (excluding Great Britain and Ireland) were the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Wight, and the Isle of Man, and I didn't have the faintest idea that any of the little islands in the English Channel had been occupied by German forces during WWII. This information hadn't even been a footnote in my high school textbooks.
It seems dismissive to call this book charming, but really it is. The light touch to the heavy topic of wartime occupation keeps the story from being oppressive and depressing, but the horrors are still there like shadows to the ordinary happiness of people determined to go on with their everday lives.
The story unfolds through a series of letters and telegraphs between the islanders, a London author, and her London publishers with correspondance to and between other characters providing backstory and subplot.
I thought tossing the bit about Oscar Wilde in at the end almost like an afterthought to create some drama was unnecessary and really the only unbelievable part of the book. I would have prefered it if the evil rival journalist had been plotting to steal Juliet's letters to and from the Guernsey Literary Society for his own book about the German occupation on the island. And I would have liked to know what happened to Todt worker Elizabeth had attempted to rescue. When one of the islanders wrote that no one knew what had happened to poor Lud, it made me curious. Guernsey is so small that someone would have known. It's almost certain he would have been shot for trying to escape, so why spare the reader that detail out when the conditions of Ravensbrueck are described brutally albeit briefly? (less)