Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and the Thirteenth Tale

This is one of the most charming and delightful books that I have read in a long time. I must admit though that I had my doubts. I had read so many bad books before this that I didn't hold out much hope for it-especially when I saw the one quote of praise was from Elizabeth Gilbert of the Eat, Pray Love book that I hated with a passion. (In all fairness I wasn't able to finish the book-so maybe I should give it another shot.)

This wonderful book can be read in one sitting-and unless you want to be up all night reading, I wouldn't start this one before going to bed! I can't remember the last time I laughed and cried so many times in one book.

The story is told through a series of letters, and when I began I had no idea how I would come to know or like any of the characters through this means..but it was heartwarming!

The book is set as World War II ends, and everyone is in the process of rebuilding their lives. It's set in London and the British Channel Islands. (The latter of which I admit to knowing next to nothing about until this book. ) Juliet is an author who just complied a book of a series of articles she wrote during the war.

The book is comprised of letters to her friends and the people on Guernsey. Dawsy Adams (who I just love!) finds her name in a book by Charles Lamb (who I now want to read) and writes to Juliet asking if she can find him another book by the author. What ensues is a delightful (I'm using words like this a lot to describe this book, but it's the only word besides charming that fits it! It's so unlike me I know...) correspondence between Juliet and the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

I'm not sure how to describe this book further without spoiling it. I got this book at the library and it took all my willpower to return it. I'm seriously going to have to buy this book!
I don't say this about too many books, but I hated this book. Detested it with a passion. I don't think there are enough adjectives to describe what an over-hyped book this was. Honestly, I don't know how it got so many glowing reviews. This book seemed right up my alley-I love Gothic romances, and it lured me in with tales of half truths, a mystery to be solved and a ghost. (I love a good ghost story!) The plot intertwines the stories of Vida Winter-one of Englands greatest authors who is close to dying. She wants the truth of her life to be told instead of the fantastic stories she's told to members of the press. Enter Margaret Lea. Margaret is the daughter of a bookseller, and has her own mystery to solve. She has written a few biographies, but nothing great and is shocked to be chosen to tell Vidas story. Vidas story is an unbelievable's a tale of incest, murder, abuse and mysterious births. The problem I had with this book is that it took forever to get to the main plot of the the time it did I had stopped caring about any of the characters or about finding out what the truth was. People have compared this book to Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, but it didn't come close to those one reviewer put it: "this book is closer to Flowers In the Attic then Wurthering Heights." Most of the people who reviewed this book read it one night. I only finished it because I was hosting it for an online bookclub.