Fans of romantic period dramas are probably well aware of the recent book-to-screen adaptation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, now available on Netflix here in the US. Having read the book AND watched the adaptation, I have thoughts!!!
I first heard about this book through another epistolary book-for-book-lovers, Dear Mr. Knightley. The quirky title was enough to have me googling and seeing other reviews that made this sound like something I would like! I’ve since read it twice, most recently with friends discussing in a read-along on Twitter with #GBral. (Shoutout to the #bookbesties who made this super fun!)
I adore the book! I am now and forever a fan of the epistolary (letter) format, and a huge fan of WWII era stories. This combines the best of both worlds, with a gradual romance that keeps you guessing (who is the ultimate hero?). The colorful characters keep the story humorous and balance the more serious moments of the harsh reality of German occupation.
Content note: there are a few instances of mild to moderate language, a child born out of wedlock, and suggestions that one character is homosexual.
I appreciate book adaptations. Really. I know they cannot be the original story that plays out in your head, and they cannot possibly be so detailed within a shorter time frame. With that in mind, I really, REALLY enjoyed this one!
I thought the casting was perfect (except for Markham… he was a little more charismatic in my head). Lily as Juliet captured all the emotions and growth so well. Isola was quirky and lovable. Adelaide has a slightly different role but was brilliantly and emotionally played. And Michiel as Dawsey!!!! *heart eyes* He’s wonderfully straightforward and shy and just so genuine. Little KIT was my favorite! She was precious.
The scenery was wonderful. Having a visual of the beauty of the island will be great when I want to revisit the book. Everything from the set design to the costumes and cinematography were wonderful and helped build a picture of the story world.
Let’s talk story! I appreciated the parts that were reserved, and mourned some characters that were missing. Given the shorter time frame, I understand the parts that were abbreviated. I DO wish we had just a bit more time with the characters near the ending! And, I wish they had featured Kit a little more in the way her role with Juliet blossoms. But I loved the time with the society, the stories of Elizabeth, and especially the pigs!
Overall, this was a great adaptation that made me appreciate the root story even more — and is likely very enjoyable as a period drama for anyone who hasn’t read the book.
If you have seen and/or read this little gem, what did you think? Do you feel they did it justice with the adaptation? What was your favorite scene?