Thursday, February 16, 2012

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

Pages: 274
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: July 29, 2008
Source: Personal copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—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."

The story starts in 1946 (after World War II) and Juliet Ashton, a British author, starts writing letters with her publisher and her best friend.  She also receives a query from Dawsey Adams a farmer on the island of Guernsey.  He writes her since he has come across a book that she once owned.  They start a series of letters discussing various topics including Guernsey's Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and what it's all about.  Before Juliet knows it, she starts exchanging letters with other members of the society.  After learning more and more about Guernsey, Juliet is inspired to travel there herself.  Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows' moving tale is a must read for anyone who is simply a fan of books.

I remember when I first picked up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society at the book store, the clerk told me that if I loved the power of books and stories, then I had to get my hands on a copy. I was immediately sold and thankfully, I wasn't disappointed.  This story is told as a series of letters, which felt so personal and real.  It was as if I found a box of old letters in my grandmother's closet and started to read them... each one compelling me to read more and more.  Each letter was a glimpse into another world and the story is expertly told through these letters.

All of the characters that Shaffer and Barrow created are so memorable and the friendships remarkable. I love historical fiction, so I really enjoyed learning more and more about the characters and their wartime experiences.  Plus, this book is smart, the vocabulary is rich and the writing is well done.  Needless to say, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a memorable story.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is really something special and readers that recognize the power of books and reading will find every page delightful.  

*Read an excerpt
*Watch the book trailer


  1. I love this one too! I need to reread it sometime.

  2. I *so* loved this book. I remember where I was when I first read it: on Meads Bay in Anguilla on my first visit to that island. I read it practically straight through, with only intermittent stops to reapply sunscreen. This book broke my heart a little, that's for sure.

  3. I really enjoyed this book as well. I initially didn't think I would because of the letter form. The characters quickly grew on me and it ended up being a very special read.

  4. This was one of my favourite books the year it came out. I am glad to hear that they are making a movie of it, and that Kate Winslet has signed up! Hopefully it will actually get made and it will be a good adaptation.

  5. This is definitely going in my 'to read list'. I'm sure I am going to love it.

  6. i've been wanting to read this one! i think i have it on my shelf actually.


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