The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer & Annie Barrow (A Review)

 

Both happily and unhappily I have just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, from here on out I shall just refer to it as Guernsey and I think you will understand why.

It has been softly on my radar for a few years now but with no real intention of reading but I’m not sure why. It’s definitely my genre, it had been sat on my Goodreads shelves for awhile now and it’s one of those books that I had seen around in varying covers but had never quite reached for.

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Then I saw the trailer the Guernsey movie and knew I’d been missing out and bought the book without hesitation. The first thing I discovered was this book is a epistolary novel for those who don’t know this book is written in the form of letters, I have only ever read one book in a similar format before Cecilia Ahern’s Love, Rosie and I just didn’t get on with the structure and ended up DNF-ing the novel. But Guernsey is different, it is so easy to fall on love with the characters. The book follows Juliet a young writer and journalist who has been writing fluff pieces during the second world war to cheer up the nation she’s looking for a new and interesting book idea when she get’s a letter from a man in Guernsey who has bought one of her old books that had her contact detail written inside.

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They begin to correspond and he discuss he is a member of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. They enjoy corresponding so much that Juliet begins to get letters from other members of the society and this is where the fun really begins. When Juliet travels to Guernsey and meets the real people she has been writing to, her new friends from her letters and becomes part of their lives. She discovers what Guernsey and it’s people went through during the war, occupied by the Germans, Guernsey was the only part of the British Isles to really have to live with their enemy and Juliet a writer and a seeker of truth is determined to find out what that really means. She also becomes curious about the societies founder Elizabeth, Elizabeth becomes the centre of this story that Juliet becomes determined to write and her love for the island pours out of her and onto every page.

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Guernsey is a book about friendship, loyalty and love, in a period in history when there had been so much tragedy and devastation it shows is the small things that truly bind people together and love will always win out even in the darkest and most brutal of times. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is a beautiful story that everyone should read it is written in letters but the characters feel fully formed and full of colour. The book is so short it was like being on a short visit with great friends, who I already miss.

5/5 Stars!

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Page to Screen Series: Episode 1-Atonement

Hi Guys I’m starting a new series here on Paint and Butterflies Books a page to screen adaptations series and as I have very recently watched Atonement I thought it would be a great place to start.

One of my favourite things about reading apart from the actual reading of course is when beloved books get adapted for the big or small screen. I have reviewed some great and… some not so great adaptations but one of my favourite films I have never spoken about – Atonement. The book by Ian McEwan and the film starring Kierra Knightly and James Mcavoy, Dir by Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice)

 

 

I came to the film before the book when it was released in (2007) and have been really fond of it ever since. The book I read about three of four years ago and it only deepened my love for the story, while reading it I realised just how loyal the film version had been to the original material.

Firstly if you haven’t seen Atonement go see it right now, I’m about to spoil everything. The story is set the ‘golden’ summer before World War One, both the novel and the movie are set in three parts the first part being hot summers day at our main character Briony’s parents country home in England it is important to note that Briony is thirteen years old. Briony is the youngest of three children,  her sister Cecilia is a Cambridge graduate and is home enjoying the summer and their elder brother Leon is coming home for a visit bringing his friend Paul Marshall a chocolate millionaire with him for the weekend and Briony is elated to see her brother. But also a little confused, her universe is shifting and for the first time in a long while she’s not the center of it. She is a young writer and plans to write him and perform him a play to celebrate his return- The Trials of Arabella by Briony Taliss.

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The young family invite Robbie the housekeepers son to dinner after seeing him on the approach their fine country house. This wasn’t just a random act of kindness Robbie is like a member the family, Cecilia, Leon and Briony’s father had taken kindly to his House Keepers son and he had paid for his schooling and later his Cambridge education in which he attended at the same time as Cecelia although they weren’t friends they never spoke.

Everything that occurs for the rest of the novel and the rest of these characters lives is decided on this one sunny afternoon. Briony sees something she doesn’t understand-her sister and Robbie having an argument fueled with sexual tension by a fountain in the garden. Briony sees this through a window, with no context  but instead of asking questions she starts to doubt Robbie’s moral character and being the kind of character Briony is she creates her own fantasy scenario with hero and villains and her own version of right and wrong unable it seems to distinguish from what is truth or fact and what’s in the reality going on around her.

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Later that evening Briony catches Robbie and Ceclia having sex in the library, they have just confessed their  love for each-other. But in Briony’s mind Robbie is further the villain who was hurting her big sister, the fantasy continues. Now a fantasy is fine in it’s self when no harm is caused.

Briony’s cousins Lola, Jackson and Pierro are staying with them while their parents are divorcing and surrounded by scandal and the troublesome twins Jackson and Pierro go missing at dinner. While everyone is looking for them in the darkness Lola their elder sister is raped and is discovered by Briony. Briony did see the perpetrator but could never be sure who it was. She convinces herself it was Robbie and tells the Police she is knows it was him and this certainty puts him in prison until the start of the war. The question is how accountable is Briony for her actions? I think from a very young age we know the basics of right and wrong and when it’s play time and when’s it’s not. Briony is forever in a state of play, she doesn’t learn or progress the same way other children do she doesn’t care about the world outside her own childhood bubble and thinks if she tells her story to herself or others that makes it so. She said Robbie was evil so it was so it’s the whole writer is God complex, she is dark and terrifying.

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The rest of the book follows Robbie and Cecelia’s separate lives and reunion, and of course the repercussion the war, and what it had on them and Briony. For Robbie that was prison and having to join the army as a private thanks to Briony’s actions always keeping him closer to the danger. Eventually his on journey would lead him to Dunkirk. When Robbie and Cecilia do finally get to see each other again for half an hour in a coffee shop Cecilia has to leave to go back to the hospital where she is nurse. You can still feel that love between the two characters but also the distance because they have never really been given a chance to be together.

 

 

 

Cecilia mentions how Leon stands outside her flat and tries to see her and another implication of what Briony has done to so many people hits again, this lie had destroyed a family, two families. The family have lost Cecilia, Cecilia has lost her family, Robbie’s mother left alone and had to watch her only child be dragged off to prison and probably lost her job because how can she keep working for the family now? And Briony really has come off unscathed, yes she nursed in a hospital for a bit but really she’s the centre of the universe like she always wanted.

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There is a section in the book where Robbie and Cecilia are living in a white house by the sea it’s something they talk about a lot in the book and in the film, they are together and they are happy. In this scene Briony apologies to Cecilia and Robbie tells them she wants to help clear Robbie’s Name. She also tells them that Paul Marshall the chocolate millionaire really raped Lola but she is also now his wife.

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We later find that this conversation was fiction and all happened in the context of Briony’s Novel she has released in the present day, and never could of happened because Robbie died at Dunkirk on the last day of the evacuation, Cecelia also died because of a bombing and burst water main and were never reunited. Briony sees this book as her Atonement, cleansing herself of her crime. I have mulled Briony over and over in my mind and I personally think she is vindictive, nasty little madam who was old enough to know better. She lived in her own head more than was normal and as much as writers and creatives do live in their own head a little (or a lot) Briony blurred the lines of reality and fantasy until she couldn’t see which was which.

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I found a quote from James Mcavoy who played Robbie saying she was ‘nuts…and she can rot in hell…’ I’m inclined to agree.

 

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Outlander Book Tag!

Hi guys, it seems like it has been a long wait for the Outlander season finale  (which hits my screen as I am in the UK tomorrow).  This season has been full of drama and strife but I will get into all that when I do the season wrap, will we ever see Roger and Brianna anyone? I have my fingers crossed for the finale…

Outlander Season 2 2016

For now, this is the Outlander book tag originally created by Sasha from abookutopia so let’s get into it!

1.You touch some standing stones and get transported back in time, what year would you hope to land in?

This is a difficult one because history tells us the past hasn’t been so kind to women but the clothes, they were fabulous if not slightly oppressive. So if I was like Claire and had some standing stones and I knew I could travel back through the other way AKA home, back to a tooth brush, the internet, my hair straighteners, then I would give the 1920’s a try, it looks fun, the clothes were cool and things were on the look up for us ladies.

Outlander Season 2 2016
Outlander Season 2 2016

2. Claire is a very good nurse, what type of skill would you want to have that a fictional character excels at?

It would be cool to have some super sassy fighting skills!

3. Jamie and Claire are ultimate relationship goals, who is your favourite fictional couple?

I have been reading further on in the  Outlander series and Roger and Brianna are pretty cute also who can forget about Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy?

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4. The ending of Outlander was shocking, what is one book you read that totally blew your mind?

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse.

5. Scotland has lots of castles and we see quite a few in Outlander, what fictional kingdom would you want as your own (castle included)?

Westeros from A Song of Fire and Ice by George RR Martin as long as I don’t have to live there, because no sane person would want to live in Westeros would they?

6. Outlander has some very steamy scenes, what is your favourite romance novel?

On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves such a weepy and perfect for summer!

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7. The Jacobite Rising is a huge plot point in the Outlander series, what book has your favourite battle in it?

The whole of the Mortal Instruments series is chock full of great battle scenes that’s what you get with Shadowhunters I guess?

8. Jamie and Claire get married very unexpectedly, what fictional character would you want to marry on a whim?

Will Herondale hands down.. or Jem, or Will oh to be Tessa Grey…

9. Scotland is a beautiful place, what is one fictional world you would love to visit?

The Wizarding World is wayyyy up there, also Narnia so a close second.

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10. If you could change the past, would you?

It’s tempting isn’t it to go back fix your past mistakes bit I don’t think you can ever go back. The present makes us who we are and to go back and erase that would be to erase part of our selves.

11.Tag People!

Lauren@ Comma Hangover

Books and Musings

Safa @Books Over People

I hope you enjoyed the Outlander book tag, Happy reading everyone!

Natasha war and peace

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Watt Pad

 

Wattpad from the POV of someone who has recently joined the site

As a trained journalist, budding blogger and constant writer of fiction (that’s home is my laptop) I thought it was about time I did something with my writing.

I have had a few poems and short stories published but novels are a completely different animal. Initially  there was something quite worrying  or sad about publishing your work online especially as someone who has aspirations of publishing something conventionally at some point in the future it almost felt like letting go of something that I couldn’t get back.

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I had heard of Wattpad and have a few friends who use it as readers not as writers and for a while had thought about giving it a go. But as writer  I had the initial feeling of finding it hard to let go of my work, didn’t I have plans (eventually) of trying for the route of traditional publishing?

Why do this? Why throw something I had worked so hard on away?

Because this will not be the only thing I will only thing I will ever write (its not I have another novel in progress) and because and I think this is my most valid reason, my eyes on are not enough (I’m starting to realise I’m not such a great editor).

Yes family and friends are one thing, but the ultimate honesty of Wattpad users, other actual writers has been invaluable to me. From comments and feed back I can see where I’m going wrong and where I am going right something which is impossible to do when editing your own work, so thanks Wattpad!!

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The downside to Wattpad for me is that it really is heavy on the Fan fiction, Young Adult/Teen Fiction and Romance genres which is great if you are writing in that genre although the pool of work you are competing against is huge.

My novel is a Historical fiction novel, at least that is the category it’s posted under on Wattpad. My story is set in both the present day and the years 1913-1918  so when categorising it for Wattpad it was a toss up between General Fiction and Historical Fiction in the end I went for Historical fiction as the category seemed to fit my story better.

Joining clubs and reading other users stories has been a useful tool because I have realised what you put into Wattpad you get back.
Wattpad has basically been my first set of Beta readers, the first eyes  on my story and so far I have really enjoyed being part of this community who have shown me that as a writer you are always learning and you always have more work to do on anything you write.

I am currently working on The Girl That Fell Out of The Ocean (Previously titled – A Story of Will)

Synopsis

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What if you had lived before?

For eighteen year old Lavinia Gregory everyday is like waking up from a dream, the older she gets the more she remembers.

She used to be shorter, with long, dark hair, not now, and it is not just the colour of her hair that has changed it is her entire life. 

Over the years the memories of her past life became less vague, less like shadows and colours and more like the thundering horses that always seem to be hammering across her chest. 

Lavinia had a family, a family she sacrificed everything for and now they are gone and she’s here, in a world of ghostly shadows and unfinished memories.

Lavinia must discover why she came back to this world and how she died in the first place. But most importantly what happened to him, Will, the one she loved above all the rest.

Thanks for reading and I hope your’ll come and check out The Girl Who Fell Out of The Ocean. The Girl Who Fell Out of The Ocean

I’ll be back soon with more bookish chat!

Happy reading (and writing) everyone!

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