Growing up, it was always my dad with a book in his hands, not Mom. I tried to interest my mom in the books I was reading, such as the Chronicles of Narnia. No, she would say, I don’t like books like that. I never saw her sit down with a book except to read us stories. I thought she just didn’t care for reading.
Time passed. All of Mom’s children went away to college. All of a sudden (it seemed to me) Mom developed an interest in reading. We would talk about the books we read, and started telling each other when our favorite authors had published another novel. We were both huge fans of the Inspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George; I remember calling her when In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner was about to be released so we could eagerly anticipate reading it together. After I had my daughters, I would call her to see if she knew about the latest Sue Grafton or Nevada Barr novel. I had the new book on hold at the library — she had already bought the book and read it.
Sometimes our tastes varied from each other’s; she loved Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, while I abandoned that series after Four to Score. I adore the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, and Mom didn’t care for it.
I once said to Mom that when I was a kid, I didn’t think she liked to read. “I had four children!” she said. “I didn’t have TIME to read!”
Last November, I was at my parent’s house, looking at a notebook Mom had made some notes in. I saw the name of a TV show and a book I had recommended to her. The TV show was The Good Wife, and the book was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.
The author, Mary Ann Shaffer, fell ill with cancer while writing this book. Her niece, Annie Barrows, helped her finish it. Mary Ann didn’t live to see her book published. When I recommended this book to Mom, I didn’t know she wouldn’t live to read this marvelous story. Set on the island of Guernsey during the German occupation of WWII, a literary society begins with an odd cast of characters. They correspond with a writer, Juliet, who is looking for her next book subject. She soon grows to love the members of the society through those letters. Eventually, she comes to Guernsey to meet her pen pals. Mom would have loved this book.
I think some of you may have: a. heard of this book, or b. read this book already. It is very popular, and I would definitely urge you to read it if you haven’t already!
(One of my pet peeves when reading other reviews of this book is that a couple of bloggers have forgotten the word PIE when typing the title. During WWII, provisions on the island were scarce. The Guernsey Literary Society wanted to have refreshments at their meetings, which was difficult with no flour available. One of the recipes concocted to create a dessert with available ingredients was a PIE baked with a potato peel crust. Hence, the title The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.)
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