Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Genre: General Fiction
Copyright: July 2008
Pages: 278

Synopsis: January 1946: writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name - Guernsey Literary Website

In one word, this book is enchanting. I am going to be very honest and give myself a wrap on the knuckles for being terribly shallow & horribly impatient because when I first started listening to Guernsey on audio I thought 'good grief - how boring' (at that stage I could not have listened to more than 2 minutes.) Minutes later I was berating myself; just goes to show, first impressions can in fact be very wrong.

I hope my review does this wonderful story justice.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a unique story of love, friendship, courage, heartbreak & literature, set on the island of Guernsey (in the Channel Islands) and written as a series of letters.

When Juliet unexpectedly receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, resident of Guernsey and member of the literature society new friendships are formed along with an idea for a new book. As correspondence between Juliet & Dawsey expands to include other members of the literature society, Juliet is captivated by the stories of life on Guernsey during the Occupation and of friends connected through a mutual love of literature and the trauma of war.

"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true." - from Dawsey Adams to Juliet

“That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive – all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.” - from Juliet to Dawsey

The character's have an authenticity that makes them feel like old friends, I shared their sorrows and joys, laughing out loud, sniggered in places, & at times I sat with tears rolling down my cheeks.

Juliet, Dawsey, Sidney (Juliet's editor), Amelia Maugery, Elizabeth & Kit McKenna, Isola Pribby, Eben Ramsey are portrayed with such humour and colour, they capture your heart, staying with you, like part of your family, long after the story is finished.

It was obvious that this beautiful story was written from the heart with a warmth and vividness that has me reserving a special place in my heart for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Mary Ann Shaffer passed away in February 2008. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her debut novel completed with the help of her niece Annie Barrows.

The movie rights for Guernsey have been snapped up by an unusual partnership: Hollywood producer Paula Mazur (Nim's Island) and Florida bookstore owner Mitchell Kaplan.

PS. this is an absolutely brilliant story on audio, if you have the opportunity to listen to it, then take my word for it ~ do so.


  1. I just bought this one on a trip, but haven't read it yet. Have heard many wonderful things about it, and I am really looking forward to read it. Thanks for a great review.

  2. My thoughts exactly, it was enchanting :)
    I loved it so much and I am so glad i got to read it.

  3. Loved your review! I loved this book.

  4. Don't beat yourself up too bad, it took me a bit to finally get into the groove of it. You bet, throughout the first pages I thought to myself, "Are you kidding me? Why?!" a handful of times.

    Of course I'm glad that I persevered. It is an enchanting little book, isn't it?

  5. I've heard so much about this, and think I MUST get to it in the near future.

  6. I just loved this book! Enchanting is definitely the word. After I read it, I googled the isle of Guernsey figuring if I hit the lottery, I was booking a trip there! No such luck but anyway, the book is wonderful.

  7. Glad to hear you enjoyed it too. I found the beginning a little slow to begin with and I had similar thoughts to you, but as I persisted reading it, I began to absolutely love it.

  8. I totally fell in love with this book and it ranks as one of my ultimate favorites of all time. I hope, no pray, that they do a fantastic job on the movie!!!

  9. I had a bit of trouble at first keeping track of who was writing the letters and what relationship they had with each other, but that passed quickly. I absolutely loved this book, too.

  10. You know, I just did the same thing with Losing Mum and Pup.

    I have heard good things about this book, maybe time to check it out.

  11. I loved this book! Enchanting is a perfect description.

  12. Your enjoyment of the story shines through your review. Brilliant!

  13. I'm glad you enjoyed the story as much as I did. I hope it's okay that I linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  14. Anna ~ of course that's ok, thanks for the link love :-)


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