With its pretty coast, unspoilt landscape, charming towns and rich history, Guernsey’s cinematic appeal isn’t difficult to understand. 2018 sees the release of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, which is inspired by real life events on the island. Largely set in St Peter Port, guests at The Old Government House Hotel and Spa and The Duke of Richmond will be able to easily explore the location that inspired the story.
Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, Shaffer had the idea for the story after visiting Guernsey. Due to adverse weather conditions, she remained in Guernsey longer than expected and, in that time, became enthralled by the island’s history and the stories of its Occupation. Unfortunately, the book was unfinished at the time of Shaffer’s death in 2008, but her niece Annie Barrows, an established author, completed it.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is set during the German Occupation of Guernsey in World War Two. The narrative focuses on London based writer Juliet Ashton, who enters into correspondence with the members of Guernsey’s Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The society itself is an invention of local, Elizabeth McKenna, who offers it as an excuse when a group of islanders are caught out after curfew by a German officer. After receiving letters from members of the society, such as pig farmer Adam Dawsey, Juliet decides to visit the island in person. The result is a powerful insight into the lives of the people of Guernsey during the Second World War, when many islanders faced extreme hardship. During this period, rationing became so severe that, at its worst, residents of Guernsey would have to queue for hours for meagre offerings which included potato peelings.
Directed by Mike Newell, the man responsible for films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society features a cast of acclaimed British actors. Star of Cinderella and Downton Abbey, Lily James takes up the role of Juliet Ashton, alongside fellow Downton Abbey actor, Jessica Brown Findlay as Elizabeth Mckenna, Matthew Goode as Sidney Stark and Penelope Wilton as Amelia Maugery. Drawing on real life islander experiences during the war, the film is a fitting and touching tribute to the people and history of Guernsey.
Image Credits. All images courtesy of Visit Guernsey.