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

Summary ~ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows ~  January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. Born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

guernseyliterary

What an amazing book this is!  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a gem of a story set in 1946 post-war England and Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands.  The first interesting thing that struck me was that it is a work of fiction, but because the whole book is told through letters between characters, the voices feel real and brilliant.  Juliet Ashton is a gem of a heroine who is the author of a biography about the lesser known Bronte sister, Anne, as well as “Izzy Bickerstaff Goes To War.”  It is while on a book tour for the Izzywork that we meet her and her loving and supportive life long friend and publisher, Sidney Stark.  It is through their letters to each other that you get a sense of their personalities and great admiration for each other.  It is also through letters that the reader gets to know every character in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The war is over and people are once again striking up more light-hearted correspondences and it isn’t long before Juliet receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams about  the fact that he is now the proud owner of Juliet’s formerly owned copy of Selected Essays of Eliaby Charles Lamb.  This new correspondence between two strangers with a shared love for the poetry of Charles Lamb is the stepping stone for Juliet to meet and get to know all of Dawsey’s friends and fellow survivors of the German Occupation of Guernsey through the art of letter writing.  We get to meet these wonderful characters as well and their stories that jump from the pages of this book are  heartwarming stories of friendships forged between oddly matched people who are went through the most horrific, depressing and suffer-able events of their time. 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a surprisingly addictive read of a book that will make you wish it would go on forever.  I loved the way these people took matters into their own hands and cared for people who may never have entered their lives if it weren’t for the Occupation.  Then they let their stories fill the pages of letters they sent to a stranger in London who was willing and eager to read them and create a column which then would become a book to mark their time in history.  All of their stories soon revolved around one special woman who made the greatest sacrifice of them all during the Occupation of their beloved, little island. 

I cannot recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society enough.  At first I wasn’t sure I would be able to get into the story due to the letter style the book was written in, but I am so glad I gave it a chance.  After the first page there was no turning back for me.  I found myself talking about this book with Hubby and friends.  I surprised myself when I physically hit the book at certain upsetting parts and how I took my time reading it because I didn’t want it to end.  Do yourself a favor and pick this book up this weekend.  You are in for a special treat of a story.

{Rating ~ 5 out of 5}

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7 thoughts on “Book Review ~ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

  1. Every time I read a review on this book, it reminds me to get it read and then it never happens! I am going to have to make a mental note to pick it up soon. It sounds fabulous.

  2. I loved this book too! It took me surprise as well – I thought I’d have a hard time getting into a story made up of letters, but that certainly was NOT the case! Great review!

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