Church of Our Saviour

21 Marathon Street | Arlington, Massachusetts | 781-648-5962

COS Reads: The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

If you’d like an uplifting, delightful spring read, pick up this book with the funny title, written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It’s set In post-war England with a quirky cast of characters who survived the German occupation by inventing a book group when they were found out after curfew following an illicit pig roast. Written as a series of letters between the unlikely literati of Guernsey and a British writer, Julia, who is looking for a new project, the story unfolds with surprising momentum.

We meet a colorful array of odds and sods who might be cousins of the Vicar of Dibley’s crowd. They each read whatever book they were assigned and then offer rather startling opinions on the classics. There is Isola, who has a home-made potion for whatever ails you, and is disgusted by the way those Brontë girls were always cleaning up after their dissolute brother. Eben is a a fisherman who loves Shakespeare and Will Thisbee is a rag-and-bone man who created the famous potato peel pie. When Julia goes to Guernsey to meet them in person, she discovers a community knitted together by the profound care of community as they endured the privations and hardships of wartime. It is a graceful, redemptive story, well told and thoroughly entertaining.

Says Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the international bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, “I can’t remember the last time I discovered a novel as smart and delightful as this one. Treat yourself to this book, please—I can’t recommend it highly enough.” But more importantly, the Rector spotted it on a parishioner’s side table, right next to Team of Rivals. Read that, too, but you’ll smile more with the Potato Peel Pie people.

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