One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato Peel Pie

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By: Mary Anne Shaffer

Ah. World War II. For me, that entire part of history is like one of those fountains that people (like my dad) have in their front yards. The water and information just keeps flowing and flowing and flowing. Okay, let’s be honest, that was a terrible analogy. Starting over! For me, I’m always trying to learn new facts and tidbits about WWII, and even the stuff I know already just absolutely fascinates me. That’s why I was so upset when I found out that The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer was centered as the dust from World War II was settling. If I had known, I wouldn’t have left this book sit in my TBR pile for so many years! When I settled into reading it, I knew this book and I were going to be good friends when everything was said and done. One thing I absolutely loved was that this book is just a series of letters. From this, we can see so many differing points of view and opinions. Let’s jump in, shall we?

We are introduced to Juliet Ashton, a published writer whose comedic column under a pseudonym about the war was turned into a beloved novel and granted her fame throughout the United Kingdom. She now needs a new idea, as pressure from her old friend publisher Stanley encourages (demands) that she start a new book under her old pseudonym. She’s unlucky in love as she left her previous beau at the alter a al Runaway Bride, and now she’s got a certain American Markham V. Reynolds occupying her time and wanting more commitment than she’s ready for. (Maybe girls aren’t the only ones who go crazy for accents?) Out of the blue, she receives a letter from a man named Dawsey from the formerly island of Guernsey (I know, I had to look it up too) who bought a Charles Lamb book that used to belong to her. She strikes up a correspondence with him, discovering that he is part of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (try saying THAT five times fast) and sends him more books. She discovers that the Germans occupied the island, to which Dawsey and some fellow islanders created a secret literary club to cover up some illegal activity regarding a roast pig. She wants to get more information, thinking this to be the story for her new column, so she reaches out to the fellow members who happily invite her into their world. What she finds is a heart wrenching story of heartache, friendship, and a little bit of potato peel pie.

I can’t sufficiently put into words how much I enjoyed this novel. Honestly, I think it’s one of the best that i have read in years. Definitely the best epistolary novel i’ve ever come across.  every letter I read, I seemed to get closer and closer to the characters. Juliet could honestly be one of my best friends, her humor immediately matched my own especially with her added trait of being entirely too curious. I couldn’t put down this novel once I started, and once I finished I immediately wished for more. This story broke my heart and uplifted my spirit at the same time. I could not recommend this book any more, it’s honestly a must-read for me. I recently moved to Georgia from California, a place I had lived all my life. When I came back to visit for the first time, this wave of emotion and pure happiness washed over me as my plane touched down in LA. I got that same feeling when reading this novel. It’s like coming home.

Rating: 11 glasses of Isola’s tonic out of 11.

Netflix version:
I have to say, the movie version of this book is delightful. I love Lily James, and Michael Huisman is definitely one of the best parts of the film. I definitely have a thing for Michaels (don’t tell my Mike I said that). The plot had a few changes, especially with how the society was extremely reserved towards Juliet instead of welcoming her with open arms. There were also a few characters I missed from the novel that were missing from the movie. I could see some things were changed/cut for time purposes, but overall the feeling I got from reading the book was present in the film. Definitely watch it after reading the novel!

I’ll Be Seeing You (in some pretty new unfamiliar places)

I’ll Be Seeing You
Written By: Mary Higgins Clark
(1994)

I’m not sure about you guys, but I love a good suspense novel. I want something that makes it so I LITERALLY cannot put the book down for any reason. Well, maybe for food. Mary Higgins Clark has rightfully earned her title as the “Queen of Suspense”, and I love her novels so much. I found this hot little number in a box of books my mom was planning on donating when I was 10. Granted, I was young so many of the concepts like murder and blackmail went waaaay over my head, but that kind of made it cool as I reread it recently. It was like reading a completely different novel as I totally understood the plot and caught on to all the clues she left like breadcrumbs throughout the story. Let’s dive right in so to speak, shall we?

We’re introduced to Meghan Collins, our leading lady. She’s a pretty radio news reporter in New York City with her eyes on landing a news reporter position at a tv station. While waiting for the next scoop at a hospital, she’s told to investigate a mugging victim that should be arriving at her location at any moment. When she runs up to bug the paramedics about what happened (Who DOES that?!) she looks at the victim and is completely shocked. Jane Doe could be her identical twin, minus the stab wound in her chest. If she couldn’t get any more freaked out, she watches the girl die right in front of her. Later that evening Meghan gets a late night fax simply stating “MISTAKE. ANNIE WAS A MISTAKE.” Cue Twilight Zone music…

Meghan is dealing with some heavy stuff already, and this Jane Doe business is just another thing on top of this heaving pile. Her beloved father, Ed Collins, had disappeared during a devastating bridge accident. He’s obviously presumed dead, but there’s a catch: the police can’t find his body or any trace of his car in the river some 9 months later. Life insurance companies are a bitch to deal with in the best circumstances, and they are taking no chances with Ed and his grieving widow and daughter. No body, no money. With their generation’s old inn on the line, Meghan and her mom have no choice but to investigate what happened to Ed. When more skeletons start to pop out of his closet by the dozen, they are even starting to doubt themselves. Could Ed have faked his death? Could their beloved husband and father really put them in the middle of chaos and abandon them to deal with the fallout? WHO IS ANNIE?!

This story…I can’t even begin to sum up the satisfying twists and turns this story takes. Red herrings are abundant in this story, and you have no idea “who dunnit” until the very last pages. The ending is so satisfying the way it wraps up, and you just sit there after its done, wishing there was more. Meghan is my only complaint in this story. She’s pretty much what you would describe as a basic bitch. Everyone talks about how beautiful she is, but her personality is pretty bland. At least she has brains! Otherwise, I don’t think anybody would have solved this mystery. Besides, that this book has everything one could possibly want in a suspense novel. I definitely recommend it to all my fellow suspense buffs who love reading these kinds of books at night even though you know it’s going to freak you out.

Rating:
Five red herrings out of six.

About Me

I figure I might as well take a little time to introduce myself, reveal the girl behind the screen so to speak. My name is Jen, and I’m currently 28 years old. I’m very socially awkward and usually use humor to make myself more comfortable in situations. Middle child of three daughters, my family is a huge part of my life. They may drive me crazy (likewise.) but I can’t imagine living without their constant love and support. I have three nephews, and they are my world. I’m constantly telling anyone who will give me one second of time to brag all about how amazing and adorable and crazy they are.

I was born and raised in Southern California, but recently I went extreme with the “Southern” bit and moved across the country to Atlanta, Georgia. The reasoning behind the move has a name, and his name is Mike. Mike and I have had what you could easily call a rollercoaster relationship in the best sense. We were introduced by my sister and her husband in 2009, as her husband was Mike’s best friend in high school. We started dating back in 2010 after a horrific car accident brought us together (That’s a story for another time). Anyways, I dumped him to find myself a couple years later, and five years later realized my awful mistake. We started dating again in 2017, fell head over heels all over again, and earlier this year on my birthday in Tokyo he proposed. We have the coolest wedding date (10/10/2020) and I’m so excited to spend the rest of my life annoying him with my constant puns and mispronunciation of common words.

To say I love books is an understatement. I’ve loved books all my life, whether it was listening to books on cassette as I fell asleep or accidentally dropping my sister’s books in the bathtub when she didn’t know I had them, I seem to always have a book in my hand. My name comes from my love of books and my other lifelong love, Beauty and the Beast. I had a Beast doll growing up, he’s my absolute favorite.

Awkward guy with no sense of fashion and extra body hair? Count me in!

Anyways, that took a really weird turn. Back to books. My older sister Amanda recently got me into book reviewing after months of telling me to try it. It’s definitely different for me as I’m a better listener than speaker, but who knows? Maybe I’ll absolutely love it!

If you’ve stuck around for this long, you definitely deserve a prize of some sort. I’m a rambler and often forget where I’m going before I get there, as my loving fiancé always points out when I’m trying to tell a story. I hope you stick around for more, because there’s definitely more rambling coming your way.

New Beginnings

I’ve been a bibliophile for most of my life. I remember my Great grandmother buying me a battered copy of “The Boxcar Children” at a thrift store, my very first chapter book when I was 6. Seeing as I devoured the book in less than a day, my Nannie (as we fondly called her) took me back to that same thrift store the next morning to buy me a multitude of abandoned books. From that moment on, it’s a rarity to see me without some sort of book in my hand.

My older sister, a hardcore bibliophile like myself, recently turned me on to the world of book reviewing. While I’m a better reader than writer, I figured I might as well put all this reading to some sort of use. So sit down, buckle up, and hold on tight…it’s about to get wild.

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