Tag Archives: Book reviews on Guernsey

The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society – A personal book review

I enjoyed this little book so much I gave it away twice. They say what goes round come round because no sooner did I think that I wouldn’t see my copy again but my thoughtful brother in law sent me another one ‘because he knew I loved the Channel Islands.’

What did I like about it?

I felt instant empathy for the main characters, especially Elizabeth and Juliet. Their quirky way of looking at life and their sense of humour shone through the good times and bad. In fact the characterisation was lovely, albeit a little quaint. I’m not sure what islanders who went through the trauma of the occupation (including my Great Grandfather as it happens) and serious historians thought of the way in which the suffering experienced was taken in such a tongue in cheek, light hearted manner, but I’m sure, in reality, people’s sense of humour often saw them through the most traumatic times.

I liked the communication by letter. This meant that I could instantly feel drawn to several characters in different locations. A powerful tool to keep the story thread alive.

If I had any criticism it is that there was little description of the island and places I have come to know and love on Guernsey itself. Apart from that I can certainly say that it was a good read and I look forward to the film.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Channel Islands, Reading a novel

More Guernsey Book Reviews – Memories of visits in Days Gone By

Four lovely little books I found in a second hand bookshop in St Peter Port are:

Guernsey in Queen Victoria’s Regn and Guernsey Folklore

I first picked up two in the series of ‘Guernsey Historical Monographs’ republished in 1986 from original texts in1847 & 1860. There is nothing better than to read history through the eyes of those who were there! I love the dialogue, for example of the boys on the docks jostling for custom with the arrival of travellers from the steamer. Inside these gems are many more precious glimpses into Guernsey’s past.

John Skinner’s visit to the Channel Islands August 1827

This vivid account of John Skinner’s travels is illustrated by beautiful engravings. I don’t think you can match reading descriptions for example:

the Peasants, their cheerful looks, and independent, yet respectful manners, bespeak of happiness: there seems however a want of wood in the Island, which our driver (horse and trap) endeavoured to account for by saying, all the trees of any size, were cut down during the war to build Privateers…’

Memoires de Guernsey 1885 by Claudine L’Abbe

How delightful this is, with its flowing muses and wonderful descriptions:

’How well I remember La Rue des Cornets. As a child it captured my imagination and filled my mind with wonder…… Then came a perilous flight of stone steps leading to the water’s edge, a relic of old privateering days……..After this came the sensation of the times and the rendezvous of epicures and gourmets.’

Anyone who’s been to St Peter Port will be transported in their mind back to the quaint cobbled streets and even smell the delights from the restaurants and cafes looking over the harbour towards Castle Cornet.

If you have your own personal memories of a visit to Guernsey, it would be lovely to hear from you too!

© Diana Jackson 28/02/2011

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Filed under Book reviews, Channel Islands