||by Nicholas Gordon (subscribe)
Freelance writer based in Sydney.
Published April 8th 2018
Adapted from the 2008 best-selling novel
In the aftermath of World War II, a charismatic and glamorous London writer, Juliet (Lily James), receives a letter from a member of a literary society based on the island of Guernsey. The writer of the letter is a farmer named Dawsey (Michiel Huisman) and he initiates the correspondence after finding a book with Juliet's name and address in it.
Juliet, intrigued by the idea of the literary society, and sensing there is quite a story behind it, writes back probing Dawsey for more information. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was borne out of necessity during Nazi-occupation of the island, Dawsey replies. Returning home one night following a clandestine dinner party, Dawsey and his friends were accosted by Nazis and asked why they were breaking curfew. Thinking quickly, the group claimed they were at a book club meeting, and the Nazis, too bewildered to challenge them, allowed them to continue on their way.
To not arouse suspicion, Dawsey and his friends soon after had to actually form the literary society. But they found that they quite liked the meetings and soon developed a love of books and reading, and the society flourished.
Ignoring the wishes of her publisher, and her American boyfriend, Juliet invites herself to Guernsey to meet Dawsey and the group. Once on the island, she seeks out the members of the literary society and attends one of the club's meetings. Juliet's intrigue grows as she delves into the lives of the society's members and begins asking questions. She learns that life under Nazi-occupation was, unsurprisingly, very difficult and necessitated lots of tough decisions.
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