The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Random House, July 2008
I do have YA titles to write about, I do. But this one is so wonderful I absolutely have to share it. (And Annie Barrows is probably better known for the Ivy & Bean books, so there's a kidlit connection.)
I'll start by admitting I had no idea the Channel Islands were occupied by the Germans during World War II. Thanks to Joni, I have some more reading to do on the topic.
I've made this book my big recommendation for the summer - starting the day after I read it. I spent part of last week at ABA's Publisher Focus Groups, where I had the chance to persuade some fabulous booksellers to read it. With any luck, they'll like it as much as I did.
Other reviews: Me and My Big Mouth
Meet the author: Well, I did. One of them, at least. Take a look at AnnieBarrows.com.
What stuck with me: I loved this book. I loved the characters, I loved the story, and I loved the fact that it had a happy ending. Beyond that, it reminded me how much I still don't know about England after World War II. Maisie Dobbs has done a lot to fill in the between-the-wars period for me, but it's easy to forget that the late 1940s and 1950s in England were not the years of prosperity they tended to be in the United States.
Where the book is going next: Like I said, I recommended it to booksellers from across the country, so a lot of them took copies home. I've already gotten my mom to read it, so the ARC is going to circulate among my bookstore coworkers now. (And, um, I have another copy I'm keeping for myself.)
Makes me want to read: Post-war English fiction, and non-fiction about the period. Also Chocolat, since I've only seen the movie, but it seems like there are some similarities. (But it's unlikely I'll finish Chocolat before The Girl With No Shadow.)
Makes me want to reread:
- Dear Enemy. I was struck by how often the voice in Guernsey reminded me of Sallie MacBride in Dear Enemy. Some of the plot, too - not in a plagiarized way, because a thousand other romances have had the same things happen, but in a "it's Sallie and Gordon all over again" way. (And some of the credit goes to TadMack - this followed on the heels of her Wicked Cool Overlooked Book pick.)
- Michelle Magorian's books: Goodnight, Mr. Tom, Back Home, and Not a Swan. (It looks like she has some others I've never heard of, so those belong on the to-read list. Another favorite writer.)