WHY VISIT THE CHANNEL ISLANDS

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Is a novel of historical fiction by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer (born 1934). The subject is the German Occupation of the English Channel Islands and is set in 1946 as London emerges from the Second World War.

Mary Ann Shaffer worked for many years as a Librarian, Editor,and in bookshops and it was her life-long dream to have ONE book published. At the time that this book was accepted for publication (2006), with some substantial re-writing required, Shaffer’s health had deteriorated dramatically so she asked her niece, a well-established author, to finish the editing and rewriting. Annie Barrows did so, hence became listed as a co-author. Mary Ann Shaffer died on 16th February 2008, a few months before her book was published. It was her One and only Book – a novel with a rather zany name which
centres on an invented Book Club born on the spur-of-the-moment as an alibi when its members were breaking curfew on the Island of Guernsey. The novel unfolds through a series of letters. This is without doubt a very uplifting, delightful story with many light and funny moments and quirky characters, but it never denies or hides the horrors of the Second World War.

I have been an active member of a Book Club for over 12 years and some years ago this was our chosen book for the month. Reviews from members were many and varied. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and was stirred to investigate some of the history of the Channel Islands. It is incredible how the reading of one small thing can lead to research, often by reading another book which sometimes leads to a third, all with no particular end in sight and for no other reason than broadening one’s knowledge, and for sheer enjoyment.

Since that time the Channel Islands have been at the back of my mind as a “Someday Travel Possibility”. When planning our trip for this year I found that it would work quite well to fly to London (Pat has not been there) and then On Tour from London to Paris via the Channel Islands. If you choose to share our travels by following this Blog there will be more to read about the islands when we are actually there.

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