Friday, April 30, 2010

Sarah's Key and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

In the last couple of weeks I have listened to two wonderful books that I think you will enjoy. It is interesting that the last two books I reviewed were about women from the South and these next two books have ties to WWII.

The first one I'll tell you about is Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. This is what Publishers Weekly has to say: "De Rosnay's U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tézac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vél' d'Hiv' roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers—especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive—the more she uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France and, finally, herself. Already translated into 15 languages, the novel is De Rosnay's 10th (but her first written in English, her first language). It beautifully conveys Julia's conflicting loyalties, and makes Sarah's trials so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down. "
I really enjoyed this book and yes, it was very moving and I had to sit in the car after I got to my destination several times to finish a part--always a good recommendation--and it was beautifully read!

I had a hard time getting into the 2nd book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society until I reread the description on and realized that it was a series of letters--and then, I really enjoyed it. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is read by 20 different people and that is one of the reasons that makes it so special. From Publishers Weekly: "The letters comprising this small charming novel begin in 1946, when single, 30-something author Juliet Ashton (nom de plume Izzy Bickerstaff) writes to her publisher to say she is tired of covering the sunny side of war and its aftermath. When Guernsey farmer Dawsey Adams finds Juliet's name in a used book and invites articulate—and not-so-articulate—neighbors to write Juliet with their stories, the book's epistolary circle widens, putting Juliet back in the path of war stories. The occasionally contrived letters jump from incident to incident—including the formation of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society while Guernsey was under German occupation—and person to person in a manner that feels disjointed. But Juliet's quips are so clever, the Guernsey inhabitants so enchanting and the small acts of heroism so vivid and moving that one forgives the authors (Shaffer died earlier this year) for not being able to settle on a single person or plot. Juliet finds in the letters not just inspiration for her next work, but also for her life—as will readers."

Like Anne of Green Gables this book made me want to travel to the destination. I love to read books, but because I drive at least 1-2 hours a day to get to and from work, audiobooks are my salvation. I highly recommend them, not just for listening to while driving but for anytime you can't be turning the pages of a book.

If you have any suggestions for what I should read next, please comment.

Happy stitching, reading, or listening,


Melissa said...

I just finished Sarah's Key and read the other a while ago. Loved both! I can see why you couldn't get out of the car :)

Kay said...

I have listened to Potato Peel Society twice as I travel (also an hour each way) back and forth to work. LOVED it! Have you listened to "The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo" and "The Girl Who Played With Fire"? I really enjoyed both books (read them in order - they have the same characters). I'm on the third book "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest" but I have to read that - it's not on Audible yet.

Lynda said...

Yes, Kay, I have listened to both of those and am waiting for the third--I think it comes out in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for commenting Melissa.

For now I'm listening to House Rules by Jodi Piccoult.

Gail said...

We must have similar tastes in reading as we've read several of the same books---you might like House on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. It's set during WWII as well, in Seattle. Thanks so much for recommending The Help. I didn't think I would care for it, but may start over with CD #1 when I finish the last one today!
P.S. I also recommend The Postmistress, also set during WWII, in London & Cape Cod!