|Set in England in the days following the end of World War II, the novel tells of a serendipitous connection between Juliet Ashton, a writer looking for a subject for her next book, and some citizens on the isle of Guernsey who share with Juliet snippets of their lives under the German occupation of the Channel Islands. Because of one kind act - Juliet’s sending Dawsey Adams a copy of Charles Lamb’s essays - a flourishing correspondence blooms among Juliet and the club members. It is a correspondence which brings to light what quiet, country people did to save one another and their children under the Nazi rule.
In addition to collective and individual bravery, Juliet discovers the effects of literature on the club members. There was Isola Pribbey who tended her garden plot and was enraptured by Wuthering Heights. There was tombstone cutter, Eban Ramsey, who picked out Selections by Shakespeare and found someone who could verbalize what he thought. There was John Booker, a former butler, who read one book over and over - The Letters of Seneca, Translated from the Latin in One Volume, with Appendix. For him, Seneca was enough because, “I think you learn more if you’re laughing at the same time.” When the islanders could see no end to the misery of the Occupation, these time-tested pieces of literature and the sharing of them with members of the Potato Peel Pie Society enabled these friends to hang on.
Over all their accounts and admissions was the spirit of Elizabeth McKenna. Her bravery, kindness and sheer, unadulterated goodness, touched the lives of all the islanders and, finally, they have the most profound effect of all on Julia herself.
Do you need heroes in your life? Read the book!
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