The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel by Mary Ann ShafferThe Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel by Mary Ann Shaffersticker-burst

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel

byMary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

Paperback | May 5, 2009

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A NETFLIX FILM • A remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.

“Treat yourself to this book, please—I can’t recommend it highly enough.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” 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. 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.

Praise for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

“A jewel . . . Poignant and keenly observed, Guernsey is a small masterpiece about love, war, and the immeasurable sustenance to be found in good books and good friends.”People

“A book-lover’s delight, an implicit and sometimes explicit paean to all things literary.”Chicago Sun-Times

“A sparkling epistolary novel radiating wit, lightly worn erudition and written with great assurance and aplomb.”The Sunday Times (London)

“Cooked perfectly à point: subtle and elegant in flavour, yet emotionally satisfying to the finish.”The Times (London)

Heather's Review

The Guernsay Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. What kind of a book title is this? And how can I quite describe this book whose main character is a writer, where the story is told by way of a series of juicy and intimate letters to and from the main character and her friends, and that is part history lesson and part an unlikely se...

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Mary Ann Shaffer who passed away in February 2008, worked as an editor, librarian, and in bookshops. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel.
Title:The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society: A NovelFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:304 pages, 7.99 × 5.19 × 0.63 inShipping dimensions:7.99 × 5.19 × 0.63 inPublished:May 5, 2009Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385341008

ISBN - 13:9780385341004


Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Little Bit of Everything Shaffer kept me intrigued from the first time I read the title to the very last letter. With the entire story told through letters, the reader joins Juliet, an up-and-coming writer, as she develops friendships with members of the society and learns of what it was like when the island was occupied. It was a lovely story that had me hooked!
Date published: 2019-01-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it. Through letters, this book shows the daily lives of people living through WWII and how it affected them, plus romance, and a strong sense of community is my take away.
Date published: 2018-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I can't remember the last time I read a novel that was as smart and fun as this one. The characters just spring to life, it was a joy to read about them. Most definitely one of the best books I have ever read.
Date published: 2018-10-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Charming and unique A heart-warming story of a quaint community of diverse characters rebuilding their world after WWII, told through letters. Although the horrors of the war are touched upon, the main focus is on how the characters pick up the pieces and start to live again. A light, enjoyable read.
Date published: 2018-10-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not What I Expected I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I did not realize that the book was written as an exchange of letters between the characters! That is the first thing to note. If you're not into that style of narrative, this book may not be for you. Having said that, it is still very good! In a society run by technology, its fun to read a book written as a lost form of communication.
Date published: 2018-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A breath of fresh air Amid all the turmoil of World War 2 (and the present day), this is just a lovely story about friendship, found families, and love. The epistolary format works well with the story.
Date published: 2018-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I wasn't to sure what to expect from a book told entirely through letter correspondence but I completely adored it! I finished it in just a few sittings and was quite sad when it ended! I would recommend this to anyone with a heart as there is no way you cant love every character!
Date published: 2018-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! I could not recommend this book enough! When I first opened it I was slightly worried that reading a series of letters to and from the main character would get boring and difficult to follow, but I could not put the book down. At times I laughed and other times felt the angst of the characters writing about their first hand experiences during the occupation. The depth of the characters was incredible! It has become one of my favourite books! Definitely a must read.
Date published: 2018-08-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A lesser known part of WWII Charming story that takes place in the years after the end of the war, when people are trying to find a "normal" to go back to.
Date published: 2018-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I want Juliet to be my best friend Despite all the praise this book had gotten, I avoided picking it up for years because I don't usually like epistolary novels, but I just loved this one. It's adorable and heartwarming, but also has real substance - and those things are rare to find together in one book! Juliet quickly became one of my favourite fictional characters, and I can't wait to see how this book is portrayed on the screen.
Date published: 2018-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovely read It was a quick and easy read. The story line is letters being written back and forth. I loved the characters and the story they told.
Date published: 2018-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A delight to read! This book really is a must read! Full of the most human and loveable of characters, an evocative setting, and a beautiful story filled with friendship, hardships, laughter, and of course books. Every reading makes me love the book more. It will instantly become a favourite- and then you will begin begging people to read it as well.
Date published: 2018-08-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome read Writing the book in a letter format was very creative.................somehow it made everything feel more intimate and personal and drew the reader into the depths of the story.
Date published: 2018-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book Such an interesting concept for the book. So amazing, I loved reading it. The format made it very entertaining and very easy to read in little chunks throughout the day. Can't wait to see the movie.
Date published: 2018-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love! Love love love! I wasn't sure how i felt about the letter format, but it was lovely. Great story line! Can't wait for the movie.
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A delight to read There is something about historical-based stories that I just love. Although this is a fictional piece, this story and its characters seem very real. I loved reading this book and how it was set up to be a series of letters. I highly recommend picking up this book.
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite Books I have read many, many books and this one is quite literally my favourite. An old fashioned romance set among the natural beauty of the Channel Islands, this story incorporates all the best of historical fiction, romance and a passion for books.
Date published: 2018-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Book is written in the styles of letters amongst numerous characters. Will take a little bit to get into the how its written but its amazing and flows. Loved all the characters. Could not put down
Date published: 2018-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It!! Thoroughly enjoyed this charming book. Quick enjoyable read. I recommend highly.
Date published: 2018-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Great Read The title itself is enticing! The book is absolutely charming. Juliet Ashton is a writer and is asked to write a book about the island of Guernsey during the German occupation. The book is not only about how this occupation transformed the lives of the people of Guernsey but how it transformed Juliet's own life. Written in letter form, not only does the book give credence to what seems to be a lost art, it also left the reader anticipating the arrival of the next post. A delight to read!
Date published: 2018-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book I've read in a very long time This book has all the elements of a good read: it's funny, sweet mixed in with a little mystery and drama. I couldn't put this book down and recommend it to anyone who is looking for an easy good-feel book. Easily one of my top 3!
Date published: 2018-05-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful Story I've wanted to read this book for awhile, so when I saw there was an upcoming film adaptation I finally made sure to get to it. The book is told in a series of letters which it took a little bit to get used to. Once I got used to it, I found the format enjoyable and made the book a quick read. The story is full of vivid and unique characters and the plot is full of drama and romance. I really enjoy WWII historical fiction, and this book gives a different perspective on the war than I've read before. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-03-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book! It took me a while to get into this book, because of the way that its set up. But once I got into it I loved it! I really enjoy the characters and the historical information.
Date published: 2018-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from lovely such a beautiful read. quirky and fun.
Date published: 2018-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This tugged at my heart I truly loved this book. The writing allowed you to imagine the characters easily as they were richly drawn and fully formed. No spoilers from me, but you should be prepared for an event that you will reread to make sure you haven't got it wrong. You will want to be wrong, but that just means these people matter to you.
Date published: 2017-12-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Poignant descriptions I enjoyed reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. There were some stories, such as the treatment of the forced labourers, that have stayed with me.
Date published: 2017-10-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Liked it a lot! I really enjoyed this epistolary novel!
Date published: 2017-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Beautiful Story My favourite books are stories told in letters and this is one of them. History, mystery & romance. A perfect summer read for the beach.
Date published: 2017-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my all time favourite books! I just adore this book. It's a quick read. It's a re-read for sure!
Date published: 2017-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolute Joy to Read! This book will have you smiling! Very well written and smart.
Date published: 2017-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it This book was such an enjoyable read. Loved the writing style. I laughed out loud which is always a good thing. I have given this book as a gift more then once.
Date published: 2017-05-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from beautiful story I loved this book! It was a quick read for me as I didn't want to put it down. I liked the history and also the way it was laid out- consisting of only letters. If you like history and travel, this is a book for you! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from so good! Loved this book. Read it for a book club and couldn't put it down
Date published: 2017-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it I bought this book a month ago and I love it
Date published: 2017-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favorite book of the year! This book was perfect! Read it front to back in one sitting. I just couldn't get enough
Date published: 2017-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A beautiful tale This story was such a delightful tale of love and perseverance. I loved this book!
Date published: 2017-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book is a gem! This book is truly a little hidden gem on my bookshelf! The odd title pulled me in and I was enchanted both by the very well-developed characters and the descriptions of Guernsey. By the end of it, I found myself looking up the island of Guernsey and wishing I could visit in real life!
Date published: 2017-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing historical fiction I got this book randomly because the title was appealing. And I just loved the epistolary form. It told a nice narrative, maybe a bit romanticized but nevertheless beautiful.
Date published: 2017-03-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Delightful. Such a charming read. The main characters leave you smitten by their dialogue, and the story itself has an overall delightful tone. A quick read, this book left me smiling from ear to ear.
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My book club loved it There is laughter, sadness and historical background all in this small book. The title gives little away to tell a reader what to expect, which is probably why it took me so long to get around to reading it. Problems: I wanted the story to be longer, and I wanted to read more by this talented storyteller. Alas, she died after writing this one book. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I loved the story The characters are memorable and it is inspiring to see the humanity that is exhibited by these characters and the sense of community they have formed. Lastly, this book made me want to go to Guernsey.
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heartwarming I really enjoyed the book and read it very quickly - just wanted to unravel the story, I loved the characters. It made me laugh, it made me sad at times and I liked the style.
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read, so unique The writing style of entirely letters took some warming up to, but the charismatic and endearing characters drew me in. I continued to fall in love with the characters - despite their hardships they remained so real and generous. The story gave off a great feeling to me as a reader! Loved it! Definitely recommend!!
Date published: 2017-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A different story about WWII I've often wondered about what happened during the German occupation of Guernsey in WWII and this novel provides an interesting way to explore the issue. It provides a quirky cast of characters you can't help but be interested in. Nice to see that enemies can also forge friendships and fall in love.
Date published: 2017-02-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Charming A light and funny afternoon read!
Date published: 2017-01-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not a fan Wish I could like this book. So many reviewed it highly. I couldn't finish it. I don't mind letters in a book, but to have the book comprised almost entirely, or entirely, of letters? I lose interest as I don't care for the format. I couldn't finish it. If you also don't like the letter format (a la Dear Mr Henshaw, a classic children's book), then give this a pass.
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful story! Love this book...the format was also interesting. The story is written as series of letters.
Date published: 2016-12-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It was a struggle I struggled to get through this one...
Date published: 2016-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book. Ever. The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society is a beautifully written and lovely book. It has everything: mystery, love, bravery, who-did-it, romance, scary bits, and so much more. It's the kind of book you will read in one sitting, to 5am if you must, because you can't put it down. It's the kind of book where you read the last few pages ever so slowly because you don't want it to end. It's the kind of book that all your friends and neighbours have borrowed and all loved it.
Date published: 2016-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this! I will read this book again and again!
Date published: 2015-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I want to live on Guernsey. Witty, funny, sad. Characters come to life; you'll laugh and cry and you won't be able to put it down.
Date published: 2015-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Guernesy Literary Potato Peel Pie Society An amazing light-hearted read. Couldn't put it down and felt cheery when I finished reading. Smile after smile, chuckle after chuckle.
Date published: 2015-05-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Guernsey literary and potato Pea FINE READ. Good mix of story and history. Letter style confusing at first but worked through it.
Date published: 2014-02-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Tale of Letters I read this book for an upcoming meeting of my Toastmasters Book Club. An old story, boy writes girl, girl srites back, they meet, they fall in love. Before the internet and before everyone had a telephone, letters were the chief means of keeping in touch. It is the the island of Guernsey in the English Channel right after the Second World War. The islanders have stories to tell and young author goes there to tell their story. Then she finds so much that it changes her life. I was intrigued that the author was able to tell the story through a series of letters. I was impressed with how the author was able to develop so many character through the letters that each character wrote. I enjoy a book where the characters are well developed. I did start to feel empathy with them. This book has been out for a few years, so there many other reviews available. The few that that I saw on Goodreads were very polarizing. There some who hated and some who loved the book. Few in between. I am not sure why some people hated the book. It was a challenge to jump from letter to letter and try to understand that person's character, but once you became acquanted with the characters, it was easy to follow. It is is interesting to see how different people can see the same event in a different way. I enjoyed the book.
Date published: 2014-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I want to live on Guernsey. I really enjoyed this book. It struck a good balance of showing the painful, heavier issues of wartime life while creating generous, good-hearted characters. This book reminded me of a Jane Austen novel set in a World War Two occupation.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it! I bought this book a while back , didn't read the back honestly just liked the cover, I opened the book and could not put it down, I am not a fan of WW2 books,but, it wasnt all about the war and I just loved it,that simple.
Date published: 2014-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I want to live on Guernsey. I absolutely loved this. The characters were so wonderful I felt that I was there on Guernsey Island myself with them. I actually enjoyed the way the story is told through a series of letters sent just after the liberation of Guernsey Island.
Date published: 2013-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epistolary novel hard to put down Circumstances bring together Juliet, a writer looking for her next project, and a resident of Guernsey. Soon Juliet finds herself making her way to the island to find out more about the residents and their life during the occupation of their island during WWII. The strength of character and intelligence of her new friends make her question her life so far. Will she find the strength of character to follow her destiny?
Date published: 2013-06-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Wonderful, Charming Book I loved reading it. The characters were so vivid and 3 dimensional. A real gem of a book. A book to savour. Once I was half way through I had to slow down reading it as I didn't want it to end. It would be a great movie!
Date published: 2013-02-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent This is a must read.
Date published: 2013-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fall in love with Guernsey just as Juliet did From the style of the text, written in letter form, to the relationships Juliet forms with her new pen pals in Guernsey. I love the war time, and reading novels about it always takes my imagination there, as if I were experiencing everything with the characters. The Guernsey Literary and the Potato Peel Pie Society did just that. I could literally paint the picture of Guernsey in my mind, and fell in love the the island, and the people along with Juliet. Couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2013-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! This book was recommended to me by a friend and co-worker. She told me that I'd love it... And she was right, I could not put this book down! The letter format of this book, kept the book progressing at a fast pace, while leaving ample space for the reader to fill in the blanks. The characters were instantly lovable and relate-able, and the history really helped to round out the story. I was so engrossed in the book that when I reached the end, I felt bereft, and wanted more. In short, I would recommend this book to anyone in a heart-beat!
Date published: 2012-12-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth the Read! What a unique and enjoyable way to tell a story! Fast read, with a great deal of thought provoking material provided in the letters.
Date published: 2012-10-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A bit disappointing I went to the bookstore and I asked the clerk if she could recommend me a book that is a page turner, smart and there is a bit of historical description in it about the given era. I was suggested to get this book. I started it twice, put it down several times, and whenever I picked it up again, I always had to reread the last page so that I would remember where I left the story. Honestly, the book is not engaging enough. I find there is not enough research to back up the historical background, so thus the book stays shallow. The characthers are also missing depth, probably because there are so many of them. If the story would not happen during the war, it would be a really cheap read.
Date published: 2012-08-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A quaint and charming read It is post WWII in London and British author Juliet Ashton is searching for her next writing project. She has lost her house and possessions in the bombings. Juliet receives a letter from a man inquiring about Charles Lamb's books. He had found her name and address in a book he had bought about Charles Lamb. The letter is from the Isle of Guernsey. What follows is an interesting collection of letters, telegrams and notes. Guernsey was occupied by the Germans during the war. A group of friends on the Isle formed a book club in order to be able to meet together. Though this correspondence Juliet is able to forge new friendships and soon finds herself going to Guernsey to write about the occupation. I enjoyed the book very much. The characters are vibrant and almost quaint and the setting is one I will have to put on my wishlist to visit. Beware though, those who do not enjoy a sappy love story will not fall in love with the book like myself.
Date published: 2012-08-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An Interesting Book I liked this book and I liked the style of the novel (written in letter form). I did think the plot could have been a little deeper and more in depth/interesting at some parts but overall I enjoyed this book.
Date published: 2012-05-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quite endearing Juliet Ashton is a writer living in post-WWII London. She has lost her flat due to a bomb and is looking for her next literary inspiration when fate intervenes. She is sent a letter from Dawsey Adams of the island Guernsey who owns a book that used to belong to her and is asking her more about that author. As Juliet learns more about Dawsey, she realizes that Guernsey was under occupation during the war and the islanders had quite a difficult time during those years. Juliet asks Dawsey if he could get other islanders to write her about their experiences during the occupation and she slowly comes up with the idea for her book. This book is written entirely as letters between the different characters. I usually find that this formatting doesn't give the reader enough detail but in this book that wasn't the case. One complaint I do have about the formatting of this book is that the book started out with letters to and from Juliet. By the end of the book it was only letters from Juliet. I believe there was still value in reading the letters written to Juliet and I missed those at the end of the book. Given the formatting, I was surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did. I enjoyed the stories that the islanders gave about the occupation and how both the good and bad side was portrayed. There was a fair amount going on the book but everything wrapped up quite nicely by the end.
Date published: 2012-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful Story This is a very enjoyable and lovely story. Considering it's set during wartime, it's a calm story of grace and shared humanity and I thoroughly enjoyed it cover to cover. It's a small book, easily read in one night, and one you won't regret.
Date published: 2012-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from i LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT This book made me want to know the people. I want to go to Guernsey!. When I first opened the book, I thought I can't read this...its all letters. Oh was I wrong. I feel like it is a part of me now. I think I could read it once a month and love it just as much.
Date published: 2011-07-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Quietly Enchanting It took me quite awhile to finish this book. I ended up putting it down and picking it up several times. It's beautiful written, and I found when I did pick it up I was quite captured.... but it was not the kind of book that I kept me enrapt. It was historically enchanting in the sense that it brought you back to a time without all the modern technologies and forced you to just sit and enjoy the book. I wouldn't recommend it to people who don't love to read as they will put it down quite quickly, but if you are a hopeless romantic who enjoys drawn out story it's beautiful.
Date published: 2011-07-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, but not Great I enjoyed this book, but did not love it as so many others have. I find I enjoy most of Heather's Picks but do not necessarily love them all. Worth borrowing, not buying.
Date published: 2011-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It's now in my top 10 This book made me laugh and cry - I never wanted it to end. I still think about the characters from time to time and it's been over a year since I finished this novel. The format was a surprisingly smooth read and gave all the detail required to draw you in completely. I haven't missed an opportunity to endorse this book to everyone I know.
Date published: 2011-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I'll admit, I had my doubts When I first heard that this novel was written as correspondence, I had serious doubts it would be able to not only hold my attention, but allow me to feel anything emotionally for the characters. I was so wrong. I just adored this book and completely fell in love with the folks on Guernsey Island. Schaffer's writing was unpretentious, but brilliant in it's simplicity, her cast of characters wholly developed, and the story captivated me from the start. I didn't want it to ever end. Lovely.
Date published: 2011-03-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty Good I enjoyed reading this book, it was almost whimsical for lack of a better word...which I realize makes no sense. I think its the fact that you're reading letters and waiting for the response. The book gives you this old style feel. When I read the back of the book, I was drawn into the curiousity of simply writing a book in this way-communicating with letters. But the author did an amazing job without confusing the reader, and it turned out to be quite a good book. Enjoy this book with a good lap quilt, a cup of tea, sitting by the window on a winter day ;)
Date published: 2011-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Quick read and witty book I read this book for a book club and I throughly enjoyed it. If it wasn't for the book club, I wouldn't have picked this book to read. It's witty, smart and just all around a really good book. I also like the fact that it was an easy book to read. I highly recommend this book to others!
Date published: 2011-02-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic This book was a wonderful combination of history, humour and human emotion. The description and history of the island of Guernsey during World War II was an enlightening look back in time. The addition of a group of colourful characters, each with their own rich personality added to the wonderful telling of a humourous and heart warming story. I enjoyed reading about each character and how they grew to know each other. Overall, a very enjoyable book to read.
Date published: 2011-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT!!! It was a really good read. I never wanted to put it down, and it always kept me hooked. Reading only letters was very cool, there was never very much description so it left a lot up to your imagination. I never wanted it to end!!!!
Date published: 2011-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cute This books is so cute. That's the best descriptor. It is the story of a writer who moves to an island to learn more about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is a story about the society's origina and the impact they have on the writer. Just cute!
Date published: 2011-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Did not want it to end I am not the kind of reader that slows herself down with a good book. And yet with this one, I had to put it down and walk away just to make this amazing book last longer. The format of getting to know the characters through letters, was refreshing and endearing. read this book, you will regret it if you don't.
Date published: 2010-12-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great concept with only a few flaws The idea of a novel in letters isn't new but the authors gave it an interesting twist in the variety of letter-writers and their different personalities shining out of their letters. The German occupation of Guernsey, and the cruelty and deprivations suffered by its people, are central to the story, and although the plot includes some shocks and tragedy there are some wonderful moments. An unbelievable and unnecessary sub-plot involving a famous person's letters spoils the latter part of the book, in the middle of a section dealing with a labour camp survivor - imagine one of the Keystone Cops invading one of Elie Wiesel's haunting works - and a section that briefly abandons the letter format doesn't quite work, but this is still a book to enjoy. Now I want to research Guernsey and see it for myself.
Date published: 2010-10-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great read that I don't know how to explain. This book was hard to get into because of all the letters but once in I jumped all the way. A great story with vibrant characters.
Date published: 2010-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! Every book lover needs to read this wonderful book.
Date published: 2010-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovely! Not at all what I expected, this novel was charming, interesting, and I could not put it down. At first I thought the format (letters written between the different characters) was cute/different but I feared it would be boring. It wasn't boring at all!! I loved the story and the letters brought the characters to life. Definitely recommend!
Date published: 2010-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book, I could not stop reading it. When I first started this book, I was a little unsatisfied, specially after reading good reviews, but after the first 20 pages I just couldn't stop. This book is great, but make sure you have time to read it, because you won't be able to take a break.
Date published: 2010-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect!! Reason for Reading: I've wanted to read this since the minute it came out! The title is the first thing that grabbed my interest then of course all the positive reviews. Somehow the book just kept getting pushed further down my tbr pile until finally it rose to the top when it was randomly selected as my final book for the Random Reading Challenge. I'll keep this review short since there are hundreds, make that thousands of reviews already online. I feel like I may be the last book blogger to read this book! As anyone who reads my reviews regularly might have guessed: how could I not have absolutely loved it! Everything I enjoy in this type of book is present here, historical fiction written as a collection of letters with a cast of eccentric characters. Perfection! I just love epistolary novels and they read so fast it is almost impossible to put the book down. Each and every single character was a dear and getting to know them through someone's letters somehow seems so personal and insightful. I loved everyone though I must say Dawsey and Isola were my favourites. As to the historical content, while the book takes place one year after the war it often feels to be in the here and now as the letters are full of reminiscences of wartime experiences. I must say that even with all my reading of World War II, I had not known that the Channel Islands had been occupied. It didn't surprise me, tactically I can understand how the situation happened, but I'm surprised it has never been mentioned in my previous reading. It was an eye-opener for me and I'm now quite interested in finding out more about the occupation and the experiences of people from different points of view. A delightful little book, that is a quick read with dramatic, tragic, romantic and comedic moments to be found throughout. A truly beautiful book not to be missed!
Date published: 2010-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Lovely! There's no other way to describe this book other than "lovely". It is beautifully written and will re-ignite your love of litterature (and the classics!). Shaffer successfully delivered a book about hope and friendship in a time where such were luxuries. The people of Guernsey will easily be the best friends you make this year!
Date published: 2010-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Totally engaging This book was just fantastic; just could not put it down and was sad when the story ended because there was no more. The story was woven together like a fine tapestry; poetic and moving.
Date published: 2010-04-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I'd give it 2.5 stars if I could This is a nice story about a not so nice time in our history. Through a series of letters written between people that start off as strangers and end up as lifelong friends, we learn of some of the devastation the Channel Islands, and other parts of Europe, were subject to during the German occupation of the Second World War. I did find the book to be a little stale at times, regardless of the author’s wit, and ultimately struggled to get through it. This should be no solid reflection on the author or the story, though, since I tend to read and enjoy novels with a little less benevolence and a lot more grit. I was approached by so many people whilst reading this book in public places, as they felt the need to tell me how wonderful and heartwarming they found the book to be, even stating that they thought it ended too soon. Chacun son goût!
Date published: 2010-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Love Loved IT!!!! I did not want this book to end! The range of characters is incredibly fascinating and you honeslty start to care so much about them all, I couldn't put it down. A great cottage read!
Date published: 2010-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delightful Absolutely delightful. The characters come across as so genuine and lovable. Very interesting story, catches you right away. One of the all time favorite books.
Date published: 2010-03-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, average, not great This book was another "Heather's Pick" that didn't really deliver. Its repetitive and slightly too long. I have to admit I have read many books (fiction and non-fiction) about Europe during the Occupation and I am fascinated by the topic, but this book lost a bit of credit. The love story between Julia and Mark was.....hmmm...just a filler and didn't really need to be there. The letters back and forth were at times unnecessary as well. Overall, this book is nice and a different way of telling the story of German occupied Europe, but anyway you slice it, its not a great read.
Date published: 2010-02-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Different type of good book. At first it took a while to get into this book. I couldn't figure out who was who and getting used to the letter style script was hard at first. Then the story gripped me and I couldn't put it down. Was a little nervous about the war aspect but that did not last long because this book was a page turner and a fast read.
Date published: 2010-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Charming This book is a real gem. It is an enjoyable read from start to finish. Since it is written as a series of letters, it is easy to get lost in the book, only to realize three hours later you are finished! It was a bit confusing at the beginning, trying to figure out who was who, but once you get it straight it is such a fun read. I laughed out loud at several parts, which to me, is the mark of fantastic writing! Enjoy!
Date published: 2010-02-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Funner than you expect This book is more like a fun 1930s movie than a Literary Historical (and I think those who expected the latter were disappointed by it.) It's really more of a romantic comedy, with some moving and interesting history about the occupation of the Channel Islands. But if you want a good history or cultural piece about the islands, or the occupation, then look elsewhere. It's been heavily criticized in these areas.
Date published: 2010-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I want to go to Guernsey! I read voraciously, 2 or 3 books simultaneously. Every so often, I come across a little gem of a book and this is one of them. I learned so much about this island's life during WW2, but it's the characters that all got under my skin and invited me into their world. I cared so much for each of them. I know they're fiction but I want to visit Guernsey! Hopefully there will be a sequel; life does go on on their little isle.
Date published: 2010-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Lovely Story I picked this book up by chance in the library, attracted by the title, and I loved it so much, I bought my own copy. Then I bought a copy for my friend. I've owned the book for a month or so and have read it 4 times. It's a story written in a series of letters, about a woman finding out about the occupation of Guernsey from people who lived it. It's a story of karma and chances taken, filled with wonderful characters that you want to meet. Along the way friendships form, and life takes a few twists and turns. A pleasant uplifting read.
Date published: 2010-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a book! Loved this book, couldn't put it down. So sad the author has passed away and can't give us more.
Date published: 2010-01-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Recommended but wouldn't re-read Well written, compulsive read, the only reason it's only got 3 stars from me is that I likely would not re-read it, that being said I enjoyed it enough to give it t a friend for her birthday (she's a little more sappy than me and will likely enjoy it more) Character's were interesting, and well developed. I also found it to be a very human take on world war II, which of course everyone learns about in school, but from a very historical standpoint, this book let's you experience what WWII did to average peoples lives So overall I would recommend this book, but I wouldn't read it again.
Date published: 2009-12-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A magical journey! This book was universally loved by each member of my bookclub. It is written in a series of letters during WWll that will have you longing for more long after you are done readingl I have my bags packed and now want to take a journey to Guernsey!
Date published: 2009-12-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What a treat... What a treat it was to read a novel written as this one was - a bunch of letters to one another. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is written in a way that reminds you of the good ol' days when you use to write your friends or just send telegrams. Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows have crafted a novel that could steal your heart away. This novel is all about building on the life and lifestyles of each character and how each character interacts with one another. Meet Juliet, a journalist from London who meets a man named Dawsey Adams strictly by letter. She soon learns the story of how the Guernsey, from channel islands, Literary and Potato Peel Society was formed. Who could have thought that the German Occupation in the 1940's would play such a dramatic role on the island of Guernsey. The name of the novel was enough to capture my attention. I wanted to learn more, so I did. I learned how this Society came to be and I am so glad that I did. A great book to recommend to friends or family!
Date published: 2009-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining I really enjoyed everything about the book, the setting, the characters, the way it was written. Even though it describes a very sad time, it is uplifting, funny and sweet.
Date published: 2009-11-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Sweet But Kind of Simple I am no literally snob. For me the story is the most important aspect of any novel so i approached this with an open mind (after that horrible "People of the Book" recommendation). But as much as this was hyped, it was just good - certainly not great. I kind of thought a 14 year old could have written it. I also believe that when someone says a book is great (Oprah, Heather etc), a lot of people jump on the band wagon to agree whether it is accurate or not just to feel included. I will admit though that I notice that most if not all of the rave reviews come from women writing on this site so it could just be that maybe i didnt get it or couldnt relate to some aspect of it that was obvious to others being that i am a guy (i admit to being obtuse at times). OK but seriously Heather's Picks needs a major overhaul.
Date published: 2009-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from must must read I loved the style it was written with. The character introduction was absolutely fabulous. I recommend this book very highly. Other book I also recommend is "Birth House" and "Water for Elephants" and "Glass Castle".
Date published: 2009-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another 84 Charing Cross Road? I truly enjoyed this book - the writing was great, the characters were fully developed and interesting. I couldn't help but think of the book 84 Charing Cross Road while reading it though...the way the book was written using letters, the timeframe, the backdrop of the war. It was very similar. I still enjoyed the book and will recommend it for my bookclub.
Date published: 2009-10-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Surprisingly Enjoyable I picked this little book up several times before finally deciding to purchase and read. In the past, I haven't been a fan of stories told through letters (nor do I love short story anthologies, but I digress...). But, the unique title was intriguing, so I dove in. What a pleasant surprise. Once started it was difficult to put down. I became so engaged with the lives of the Characters. Ms. Shaffer has a very personal, informal style, and it is a real skill to tell such a story through the exchange of letters. I took one leaf off only because I had trouble remembering who everyone was. Pick it up!
Date published: 2009-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must-Read for everyone wanting a laugh or a cry in one book! I have just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Socierty and wished it had gone on and on. This is one of these books that draws you in and makes you feel like the characters are real. I found the story, written in letter form, to be a refreshing and thoroughly absorbing way of writing a novel. It makes me want to travel to Guernsey to take in the scenery that this book is written about. Do not miss this opportunity of reading a book that takes you away and draws you in to all the ups and down of island life in Guernsey.
Date published: 2009-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is a book that can't be missed. The characters in this book come alive through a series of letters to each other in 1946 after the German occupation of the island during WWII. While reading the book I felt like I knew them all intimately.
Date published: 2009-09-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wish I lived in Guernsey! I loved everything about this book. Even the recipe; I looked up for Potato Peel Pie. I decided that I would not try it unless I'm really desperate though! A tragedy that the author has passed away. Hope her niece keeps up with the Potato Peel Pie Society. Highly recommend this book to all you book lovers out there.
Date published: 2009-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Couldn't Put This Book Down We read this for my book club and I absolutely loved it. I didn't want it to end! It took a few chapters to get used to the fact that it's all written in letters, but in the end it seemed like such a brilliant way to involve the reader in the lives of so many different characters. I'm planning to pick up more copies to give away as Christmas gifts.
Date published: 2009-09-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Charming Read This was a very well-written and enjoyable book. I especially liked the diversity of the characters and how witty and charming they were. The bonus about the book is the history lesson you get on the German occupation of the island of Guernsey during WWII. Very touching and emotional in spots.
Date published: 2009-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from brilliant A suoper read I couldn't put it down. Was not sure at first if this style of writing would be enjoyable but boy was I wrong. Loved it. Has to be read to be enjoyed no review could do it justice.
Date published: 2009-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a surprise! I totally underestimated how enjoyable this book would be. I literally carried my newborn baby in one hand and the book in the other until I made it to the last page.
Date published: 2009-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Memorable, funny, heart-breaking I was not sure what to expect when I picked up Mary Anne Shafer's novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Probably a good read, if the recommendations I'd read meant anything. A good read? Good heavens, yes! I cannot remember being this profoundly affected by a novel since reading Atwood's The Blind Assassin. Shafer's novel, written as a series of letters and telegrams post World War II, is simply a work of genius. What begins as a discreet inquiry regarding a book from a Guernsey native, unfolds into delightful exchange which then reveals, in a deftly written manner, the tragedies, complexities and very human situations that occurred during Nazi occupation of the British island. I found myself spontaneously laughing, and then weeping with sorrow, as the lives of the characters were revealed with a delicate, subtle hand. From a writer's perspective, I am in awe of how Shafer has created such a tight plot and rich characterization through the distant and difficult format of correspondence. Excellent craftsmanship.
Date published: 2009-08-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from My expectations may have been too high 3.5 stars It is 1946. Juliet is an author, who starts receiving letters from various people who are part of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. She becomes good friends with them and decides to go visit them to learn more about the German Occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII, and to hear people’s stories in hopes of possibly turning those stories into a book. It was good, but I can’t rave about it as other people have. Maybe I suffered from too high expectations? I’m not sure. I enjoyed the second half more after Juliet moved to Guernsey. It was also interesting to hear stories of the German Occupation. I have been to St. Peter Port as well, so I could (sort of, with a time difference) picture it in my mind, which was a nice bonus.
Date published: 2009-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I did not know what to expect from this book, especially when I found out that the book was comprised of letters. I loved it! I couldn't help but to fall in love with the characters. Their adventures were hilarious, interesting and some of them heartbreaking. Although the book was comprised of letters I did not feel as though any thing was missing. This book made me smile, laugh and cry. It was beautiful, touching and funny. Thank you Heather for recommending this gem
Date published: 2009-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Don't be fooled by the odd title A great read.
Date published: 2009-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing read!!! This book captured me from the first page. I inhaled it and before I knew it, it was over and I felt like I was missing my best friends! Being in letter format, it made it a very easy pick up and take anywhere kind of book and although an easy read, it has substance and a great story.
Date published: 2009-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Wonderful Surprise The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society takes place on the British Isles in the days following World War II when people are trying to rebuild there lives. Germany occupied the islands south of England for almost five years and they were completely cut off from England during that time. Now Guernsey contacts the mainland in a most unusual way. This was a book club pick and if not for it I would have never have picked it up. I was really surprised at the wonderful tale written here. A history lesson, a love story and a most unusual way of telling a story, this book was a nice easy read that would be perfect not only for the beach but also the bedside. This is a good choice as a read aloud book as well, since the whole thing is written in letter form with the odd telegram thrown in. In fact I read quite a bit of it to my husband who is a WWII buff and he enjoyed the letters.
Date published: 2009-07-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Charming/uplifting Hated the title of this book, but once I got past that I wasabsolutely charmed by the characters. Although this book may seem to be a bit of romantic fluff the horrors of WWII underline and deepen the importance of this novel. A tragedy that there will be no more from this author.
Date published: 2009-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! This has been one of my favourite books this year. I enjoyed Juliet's personality and perceptions. The characters were so charming, like many of Maeve Binchy's characters are. I wanted to move there and be a part of that community!
Date published: 2009-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT This book was fantastic! I just finished reading it and I am very sad that it is done, I want more! I fell in love with all of the characters and I thought it was brilliant how the book used the letters to tell the story. It makes me want to send my own dear friends hand written letters.
Date published: 2009-07-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read fun read...
Date published: 2009-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "Wonderful reading!" This is one of those books that you cannot put down. The format of using letters written back and forth between characters works very well and inspires the reader to check one's own letter box daily. It certainly remains high on my top ten list. Very well written!
Date published: 2009-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A nice surprise! I was hesitant when I picked up this book. I was quick to judge it because of its title, but delighted to find out how sweet and entertaining it was. I read it in one day. That's how hooked I was and that's what a good book it's supposed to do. Great combination: colourful characters and nice writing style. Not to sound cliché but, never judge a book by its cover or its title.
Date published: 2009-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books My bookclub chose this book, and it's now my favourite bookclub choice. It's a quick read, but so engaging. You might think a book in letters has been done, but the Guernsey Literary does it with such charm that it feels as though there's no other way the book could've possibly been told.
Date published: 2009-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful The best books I've read so far this year! The characters are quirky and likeable, and their stories are compelling. I've been recommending it to all sorts of different customers and haven't yet had anyone not absolutely love it.
Date published: 2009-06-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A treat to read! This book was a treat to read. The story is told through letters. The letters are so full of details and imagery that the reader becomes part of the story being told. This book is a light read and I highly recommend it for travel or summer reading.
Date published: 2009-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Wonderful Escape I don't think I Can say much more than what has already been said... but I just loved this book. My Grandparents were British, and I felt so emotional reading this because it reminded me so much of them.
Date published: 2009-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book club read This is the book choice for my book club for the month of May. It was an excellent choice. I am looking forward to our book club discussion. Good pick!
Date published: 2009-05-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from We read to know that we are not alone - C.S. Lewis Like many I was slightly put off by the title "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" . I decided to buy the book anyway (it was on sale) and from the first page I was captivated. For me it blended all the right ingredients; an interesting time in history, fascinating characters and a well paced story line. I have noticed that other reviews whether they like the book or not, make little mention of the galvanizing event in the book and that was the occupation of Guernsey by the Germans and what life was subsequently like for the island's occupants. Juliet the main character would have seemed amiss in any world other than the post-war England of 1946. The correspondence that she sets in motion could take you from charmed to horrified in the matter of a few sentences. There is nothing sensationalizing about how this is done and that is what makes the book a fascinating read. I will echo some reviews in saying that it had the bones of a modern day classic but there are some weak areas in the second half that takes it back into the ordinary. I have recently learnt that Mary Ann Shaffer died in February of 2008. Whether the introduction of the second author, Annie Barrows or Mary Ann's health had something to do with the shift in the writing style I could not say. The book does not rely on grandiose scenes or bombastic characters (except for Mark who does embody the impatience of the social changes to come) and that is why Hollywood should never touch it. I do see a Masterpiece Theatre style of production; one that would do justice to the book's core elements of healing, the beauty of individuality and the allure of the unpretentious. NB: While we are speaking of television productions that do credit to the original books be sure to catch HBO's #1 Ladies Detective Agency based on Alexander McCall Smith's books.
Date published: 2009-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful A novel like this with such rich, beautiful language does not come around very often.
Date published: 2009-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A pure literary delight! This was a pure delight to read from start to finish. The book is composed of mainly correspondence betwen the various characters. That might seem cumbersome but it's very effective in this case. I loved the characters, the humour, the descriptions, the historical background, the love of books and authors (it is about book club afterall). I'd love to belong to the community Shaffer has imagined up. Sadly, this is the authors only book as she passed away recently.
Date published: 2009-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! Without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read. There was nothing not to love. I BREATHED IT IN, laughed, cried and mourned when it was finished.
Date published: 2009-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable! I found this book to be very enjoyable. I really liked the format - various letters and telegrams seemed to be more intimate than a regular story. I felt as if I knew each writer personally by the end. It actually made me want a pen-pal of my own! Great story and great characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves both.
Date published: 2009-04-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society I enjoyed this book immensely...I love books that bring tears to my eyes. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer did not make me weep, but the tears did well up a few times. It is a light-hearted story that occurs after World War II and it follows the letters of an authoress named Juliet Ashton and her correspondence with her editor, her best friend, her beau and the people from Guernsey. Juliet wants to write a book about the occupation of Guernsey by the Germans, so she corresponds with a group of people who had formed a book club or literary society during the war to explain away why they were out after curfew to the Germans. Their literary club stuck and the resultant continuing meetings changed many lives. Juliet eventually makes her way to Guernsey to meet the people she has been corresponding with and as a result new life long friendships and romances are established. This is definitely a book for book lovers and for fans of the Bronte sisters and of course Jane Eyre. There are hints of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy throughout the book, it kept me pleasantly entertained...I love "Pride and Prejudice” and I really enjoyed the subtle hints of it throughout this book.
Date published: 2009-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Lovely Read Such a nice sweet book - entirely predictable but with such endearing characters and really nice writing. It is manages to maintain lightness even when describing some pretty horrific things (the book is set directly after WWII) - something I would feel comfortable recommending to my grandmother or a friend.
Date published: 2009-04-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovely story I have said that this wasn't the best book I read in 2008, but it was the nicest book. It transports the reader to a different era, a difficult post war time. It is character driven and the characters are so real you want to adopt them as your own neighbours. In these recent turbulent times, readers will feel they have had a brief vacation after reading this book.
Date published: 2009-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and captivating. I felt happy that I'd spent the time reading it and look forward to reading other work by these authors.
Date published: 2009-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW!!! What a read and definitely worth all the hype!!!! Set in London in 1946 just after the German Occupation of WWII, Juliet Ashton, herself a writer, receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams who lives on the British Isle of Guernsey. He has located a book that once belonged to Juliet written by the author Charles Lamb. Dawsey's letter to Juliet is to inquire whether she knows where he can purchase more of this writers work. This sets the theme for the novel which is written entirely in the form of letters and telegrams. Soon other citizens of Guernsey begin to correspond with Juliet and one-by-one, we're introduced to an extraordinary cast of characters. During Juliet's correspondence with the Guernsey folk, she learns of their unique book club: "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society", created to stop members from being arrested by the Germans during the occupation. Juliet is so taken with these people and all she is learning about them through their letters and telegrams, she decides to visit the British Isle of Guernsey herself.'ll have to get the book to find out what happens because as much as I want to tell you, I can't spoil this amazing read for you! Trust need to read this novel!!!
Date published: 2009-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it!!!! This was an extraordinary book, very different and one that I enjoyed very much. It is about Juliet Ashton, a author, and a man from Guernsey, whom starts a correspondence with her. He had come across a book that had once belonged to her, by the author Charles Lamb. Others from Guernsey also start to write to her, so Juliet decides to visit Ghernsey herself and find out more about the people who live there. Here she finds a story, and it's up to you right NOW to read the book and find out why. I give it 5 stars.
Date published: 2009-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure about being able to get into a book that is written as letters but found that it really worked for character development. The book has a good pace and it's light and witty. A great read.
Date published: 2009-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a gorgeous book I am so in love with this book that it is not funny. Ever since getting it as a Christmas present, I had done nothing but read this book over and over again. It is such a gorgeous book that I fallen in love with it. The other books that I purchased are still waiting to be read. Haha!! I love Juliet and her hilarious anecdotes on life in Guernsey and in London after the Second World War when the continent is slowly rebuilding their towns, cities and their lives...this take us into a few months where a young woman communicates to her friends. All it takes is one letter asking about Charles Lamb to set things into motion and starts up a wonderful journey of self realization, pure joy and happiness that is something that can be elusive in people lives. The story through the genre of letter writing is absolutely beautiful, her communication with Sidney, Sophie and her new found friends on Guernsey so wonderful, joyous and dealing with everyday issues like her writings, her love life, her new admiration for certain people, and how one woman courage and love of life during the darkest days of the war tranforms the characters and bring them together plus her attempts in raising a four year old that she grows to love and nurture, one cannot help but be laugh, cry, hug and savor every word, every adventure. You really want to be part of the scene just to meet the different people in the story. I was sadden to read that Mary Ann Shaffer passed away shortly before the book was published and am eternally grateful that her niece picked up where she left. I know that her aunt would be most amazed at the success this book has and i am glad that this book is written.
Date published: 2009-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delightful! Heather's picks are always great and I know when I sit down to read that I will be swept away. Guernsey (to shorten the title) is a refreshing change from an ordinary novel; written in epistolary style it tells the story through a series of letters. It didn't take long to be completely wrapped up in the characters and the story. My book club had just read Pamela (Samuel Richarson) which was written in series of letters and we had discussed how WAY back when letters were main way of communicating (before internet, phones, text messaging). It is amazing how much depth can come from reading letters. Enjoy - this book will not disappoint!
Date published: 2009-02-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from This book is terrible! Everyone seems to like this book so maybe it's just me, but I really did not like it. I didn't like the format of the story being told through a series of letters. Greatly disappointed!
Date published: 2009-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Characters are so real I thought I actually knew them. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows A fascinating look at an island few know much about. Beginning in 1946, just after the war, this story is told mostly through letters, so well-written it is difficult to realize it is a novel. It soon encompasses the reader to such a point that the characters become friends. Mary Ann Shaffer has obviously done a great deal of research to capture the essence so completely. By a fortunate chance a farmer in Guernsey, Dawsey Adams, has written a letter to Juliet Ashton in London asking where he might obtain writings of Charles Lamb. He has contacted Juliet because he had an old book that had her name written inside. Juliet in the meantime has become an author in her in her own right. From this point on, communications are sent back and forth between Juliet and several people in Guernsey. Guernsey was Occupied by the Germans during WWII and through the letters we learn how the Occupation affected the people of the island. The underlying thread is that the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society came into existence on the spur of the moment, when a group of friends who had gathered for an illicit dinner, were caught out after curfew. Quick-thinking Elizabeth tells them they were at a meeting of the Guernsey Literary Society discussing “Elizabeth and Her German Garden” and enjoying it so much they lost track of time. This apparently appeased the patrol officer, and the Society was henceforth born, but now actually as to read and discuss books. You will laugh over the roast pig incident and learn that a few Occupiers were even compassionate. Guernsey was totally cut off from the rest of the world during the Occupation, which lasted 5 years, and knew nothing of what was happening in England. They were able to see some of the attacks on France from the island. Now, in 1946, they are trying to return to normal living. The correspondence with Juliet brought them to a point where the members of the Society indicated they would love to have her visit, so visit she did. The island and the people won her over and Juliet is no longer sure she wants to return to London. This is a warm, friendly, funny and compassionate story, a war story, and a love story. I found myself feeling as though I personally knew these people and their island personally. In fact immediately after finishing the book I went to the computer and looked up Guernsey to see this island that captured her so. Although the final work on the book was taken over by the author’s niece due to the author’s health, whatever was done by Annie Barrows fits smoothly into the whole. I loved the book beginning to end. It is very sad to realize that there can be no more stories by Mary Ann Shaffer, as this shining light has been snuffed far too soon by her death earlier this year.
Date published: 2008-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Original and Captivating It took me a few pages to get into this book - the format was different (it's written as a series of letters exchanged between friends/family & strangers) and I was skeptical that the authors would be able to sufficently develop the characters. Once I decided to give it a chance I found myself totally sucked into the story and the lives of these interesting and dynamic people. This book has everything - history, friendship, love, loss... I rank it among my favorites for 2008.
Date published: 2008-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from engaging Though the format is a series of letters, it was not long before I was caught in the lives, humour, and experiences of the characters. It was as though I had received word (letter writing being a dying art) from old friends who write in breezy conversational styles. It is not often that a book makes someone laugh out loud and leaves a feeling of knowing characters with whom we can draw parallels in our present day lives. Though humour abounds, it must be noted that the events detailed (war and occupation) are never taken lightly and are written with a sensitive hand. While reading, I found myself drawn into the characters' lives and was deeply moved in particular by Elizabeth's conviction and bravery. So thoroughly enjoyable, I was sorry when the letters ended.
Date published: 2008-12-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A different and yet wonderful book When I first started reading "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" I questioned whether or not it would be able to capture me. Instead of chapters there are just single letters compiled into a book. I thought that this might hinder a reader from getting to know the characters well enough to be drawn in. This book has proven my initial thoughts wrong. By creating the book in this manner it is almost as if you are getting a more personal view of the characters and you are able to relate to them on a more humane level. Juliet Ashton was a great main character for this book, exuding strength, intelligence and femininity all at once. You hope that she finds love and the enlightenment that she needs to create her future novel. Both authors have managed to show post WW2 life as quite optimistic while also letting you in on certain horrors. A lovely book that everyone will enjoy reading.
Date published: 2008-12-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from that title's a mouthful, isn't it? This book has had a lot of buzz- perhaps because of its title…which is almost impossible to remember: 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'. The novel tells the story of writer Juliet Ashton, who is something of a minor celebrity in post World War Two. A chance letter from the British Island of Guernsey changes her life. The novel consists entirely of letters and cables sent back and forth between various characters: Juliet and her publisher, Sidney; Juliet and her best friend (and Sidney’s sister) Sophie and then Juliet and various members of this oddly named literary society. The second part of the novel finds Juliet on the island meeting with the people who will ultimately change her life. 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' is a simple, pleasant novel- the perfect book to curl up with on a cold winter afternoon, cup of tea in hand. That said, it lacked a certain something. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the book wasn’t finished by the person who started it: Mary Ann Shaffer passed away before the novel’s completion and was finished by her niece Annie Barrows (writer of the children’s series 'Ivy and Bean'. I felt somehow let down by the novel’s denouement- it felt rushed and one section, so-called “Detection Notes”, takes the place of the back and forth correspondence between the characters. It felt a bit like a cheat to me, especially as it reveals too much about two characters, thus allowing everything to be tied up in a neat bow. The most compelling bits of the story, for me, were about the Nazi occupation on Guernsey and I was aching to know more about Elizabeth; she was, by far, the most compelling character. Still, you could do a lot worse than this book.
Date published: 2008-12-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! A great romp of a read. Enjoyed the approach and the different voices. Lots of detailed info about the occupation of Guernsey during WWII, painlessly wrapped up in the character play. Well written. Intelligent. Easy to read.
Date published: 2008-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Remarkable Mary Ann Shaffer has created a masterpiece - hilarious, informative, smart, heartbreaking, surprising and romantic, all under the auspices of an odd title! Told entirely through letters and telegrams, Shaffer tells of Guernsey and their experiences with the German Occupation during WWII, through the unique friendship forged between a writer living in London. On the flyleaf of the hardcover edition, it states that Mary Ann Shaffer has worked in bookshops and as both a librarian and an editor; it seems as though she put every ounce of her experiences into creating this work and wrote a book she herself always wanted to read. Thank you Ms. Shaffer!
Date published: 2008-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A delightful read! This is the delightful story of Juliet, an author from London, who engages in an extraordinary and unexpected correspondence with a group of residents of Guernsey, Channel Islands. Set in 1946, immediately following the second world war, it is the story of how the residents survived the German occupation of their island. It is also the story of how Juliet, who is looking for inspiration for her next book, attempts to capture their stories with both accuracy and respect. Told entirely through letters, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is told with enough humour to keep it superficially light, and enough honesty to capture the anguishes of war. Ultimately this is a tale of survival and self-discovery.
Date published: 2008-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society This was a delightful read. I couldn't wait to meet up with the charachters at every opportunity. I would set dinner to cook and slip away to a quiet corner to learn how things were going in Guernsey ( with 3 children in the house not always an easy thing to do!) I never knew the history of the Guernsey nor of the occupation by German Troops. I think it must be a difficult thing to write a novel that makes the reader smile with enjoyment, After so many "dark books" good books, but "dark". It is a joy to read this novel...I hope the authors create more books with this cast of charachters, It is a warm cuppa on a cold night...perfect.
Date published: 2008-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a uniquely charming novel with a distinctive voice. Juliet Ashton is living in an England emerging from the aftermath of World War II. During the war Juliet wrote a humorous column called Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War, which was subsequently bound into a collection because of its popularity. We meet Juliet at the end of her promotional tour for the book and, although proud of the accomplishment of Izzy, she is determined next to write a not so humorous narrative of…something. Not sure of what her future holds or what she will do next, a telegram arrives for Juliet from a Guernsey Island native who happens to possess a book by Charles Lamb that was once hers, and he requests her help in knowing more about the author. A correspondence is struck and Juliet becomes ever more interested in the man, his friends and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society that they formed during the German occupation of the Island during the war. As the Society members write to her she becomes more and more interested in their lives until finally she decides to set sail for Guernsey Island and determine her future. The uniqueness of the novel is that all of the writing is in letter format. Like others who have read this novel I was drawn into the evermore-interesting details of the Society members and the intertwining relationships of the characters. I fell in love with Juliet and all of her new friends on Guernsey and was sad to say goodbye.
Date published: 2008-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Gem of a Book! The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie was a real gem to read! Not a book I normally would have picked up, I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this book from other readers. The story is told entirely through letters – again, not something that I would think would work all that well. But the story was wonderful and it rolled out wonderfully from the letters. Steeped in history, I learned a great deal from this book and enjoyed reading about a group of readers. There were parts of the book that were very sad but the dry humour in the book really appealed to me. This is a terrific book that I recommend to all people who love to read!
Date published: 2008-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everything You Hear is True First, I have to thank Colleen for recommending this to me. I'm sure I never would have given it a second look without her. This is basically a story of the German Occupation of the island of Guernsey during WWII. I had never heard of this place. Now, I want to live there. Well, if these were real people, I would. They seem so real. The story is told through a collection of letters that a British authour writes and receives while she is searching for an idea for a new book. Her name is Juliet and I adore her. In fact, I want to be her. With these letter you will experience humour, bravery, love, death, joy, grief, outrage and peace. You will meet Elizabeth and you will love her. You may see that some of the Nazi soldiers were human, contrary to popular belief. You will come to know a small group of people (and one small island) that, real or not, will give you faith in humanity. I would definitely classify this as a "can't put down" book.
Date published: 2008-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best novel I've read in a long time! This novel is exceptionally original, innovative, charming, clever and creative. I was devastated when I reached the final page! At times hilarious and at others sharply perceptive- it managed to make me both laugh and cry. The author creates such vibrant mental images- and the characters are absolutely fantastic- I loved them. I recommend this book to everyone who hasn't read it yet! I agreed with the above post that it made me think of Richard Wright's Clara Callan- which was a delight. I read the whole thing in one sitting which is always a good sign!
Date published: 2008-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stunning This is probably one of my favorite books of the year. 1946, and writer Juliet is trying to find something to write about. the war is over, and everyone is just trying to get by. She finds a little community, and the fascinating way they survived the war. funny, sad, romantic and touching this book delivers. Trust me, go out and read this book.
Date published: 2008-09-15

Read from the Book

Part One8th January, 1946Mr. Sidney Stark, PublisherStephens & Stark Ltd.21 St. James's PlaceLondon S.W.1EnglandDear Sidney,Susan Scott is a wonder. We sold over forty copies of the book, which was very pleasant, but much more thrilling from my standpoint was the food. Susan managed to procure ration coupons for icing sugar and real eggs for the meringue. If all her literary luncheons are going to achieve these heights, I won't mind touring about the country. Do you suppose that a lavish bonus could spur her on to butter? Let's try it—you may deduct the money from my royalties.Now for my grim news. You asked me how work on my new book is progressing. Sidney, it isn't.English Foibles seemed so promising at first. After all, one should be able to write reams about the Society to Protest the Glorification of the English Bunny. I unearthed a photograph of the Vermin Exterminators' Trade Union, marching down an Oxford street with placards screaming "Down with Beatrix Potter!" But what is there to write about after a caption? Nothing, that's what.I no longer want to write this book—my head and my heart just aren't in it. Dear as Izzy Bickerstaff is—and was—to me, I don't want to write anything else under that name. I don't want to be considered a light-hearted journalist anymore. I do acknowledge that making readers laugh—or at least chuckle—during the war was no mean feat, but I don't want to do it anymore. I can't seem to dredge up any sense of proportion or balance these days, and God knows one cannot write humor without them.In the meantime, I am very happy Stephens & Stark is making money on Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War. It relieves my conscience over the debacle of my Anne Bront biography.My thanks for everything and love,JulietP.S. I am reading the collected correspondence of Mrs. Montagu. Do you know what that dismal woman wrote to Jane Carlyle? "My dear little Jane, everybody is born with a vocation, and yours is to write charming little notes." I hope Jane spat on her.From Sidney to Juliet10th January, 1946Miss Juliet Ashton23 Glebe PlaceChelseaLondon S.W. 3Dear Juliet:Congratulations! Susan Scott said you took to the audience at the luncheon like a drunkard to rum—and they to you—so please stop worrying about your tour next week. I haven't a doubt of your success. Having witnessed your electrifying performance of "The Shepherd Boy Sings in the Valley of Humiliation" eighteen years ago, I know you will have every listener coiled around your little finger within moments. A hint: perhaps in this case, you should refrain from throwing the book at the audience when you finish. Susan is looking forward to ushering you through bookshops from Bath to Yorkshire. And of course, Sophie is agitating for an extension of the tour into Scotland. I've told her in my most infuriating older-brother manner that It Remains To Be Seen. She misses you terribly, I know, but Stephens & Stark must be impervious to such considerations.I've just received Izzy's sales figures from London and the Home Counties—they are excellent. Again, congratulations! Don't fret about English Foibles; better that your enthusiasm died now than after six months spent writing about bunnies. The crass commercial possibilities of the idea were attractive, but I agree that the topic would soon grow horribly fey. Another subject—one you'll like—will occur to you.Dinner one evening before you go? Say when.Love,SidneyP.S. You write charming little notes.From Juliet to Sidney11th January, 1946Dear Sidney,Yes, lovely—can it be somewhere on the river? I want oysters and champagne and roast beef, if obtainable; if not, a chicken will do. I am very happy that Izzy's sales are good. Are they good enough that I don't have to pack a bag and leave London?Since you and S&S have turned me into a moderately successful author, dinner must be my treat.Love,JulietP.S. I did not throw "The Shepherd Boy Sings in the Valley of Humiliation" at the audience. I threw it at the elocution mistress. I meant to cast it at her feet, but I missed.From Juliet to Sophie Strachan12th January, 1946Mrs. Alexander StrachanFeochan Farmby Oban ArgyllDear Sophie,Of course I'd adore to see you, but I am a soul-less, will-less automaton. I have been ordered by Sidney to Bath, Colchester, Leeds, and several other garden spots I can't recall at the moment, and I can't just slither off to Scotland instead. Sidney's brow would lower—his eyes would narrow—he would stalk. You know how nerve-racking it is when Sidney stalks. I wish I could sneak away to your farm and have you coddle me. You'd let me put my feet on the sofa, wouldn't you? And then you'd tuck blankets around me and bring me tea? Would Alexander mind a permanent resident on his sofa? You've told me he is a patient man, but perhaps he would find it annoying. Why am I so melancholy? I should be delighted at the prospect of reading Izzy to an entranced audience. You know how I love talking about books, and you know how I adore receiving compliments. I should be thrilled. But the truth is that I'm gloomy—gloomier than I ever was during the war. Everything is so broken, Sophie: the roads, the buildings, the people. Especially the people. This is probably the aftereffect of a horrid dinner party I went to last night. The food was ghastly, but that was to be expected. It was the guests who unnerved me—they were the most demoralizing collection of individuals I've ever encountered. The talk was of bombs and starvation. Do you remember Sarah Morecroft? She was there, all bones and gooseflesh and bloody lipstick. Didn't she use to be pretty? Wasn't she mad for that horse-riding fellow who went up to Cambridge? He was nowhere in evidence; she's married to a doctor with grey skin who clicks his tongue before he speaks. And he was a figure of wild romance compared to my dinner partner, who just happened to be a single man, presumably the last one on earth—oh Lord, how miserably mean-spirited I sound!I swear, Sophie, I think there's something wrong with me. Every man I meet is intolerable. Perhaps I should set my sights lower—not so low as the grey doctor who clicks, but a bit lower. I can't even blame it on the war—I was never very good at men, was I? Do you suppose the St. Swithin's furnace-man was my one true love? Since I never spoke to him, it seems unlikely, but at least it was a passion unscathed by disappointment. And he had that beautiful black hair. After that, you remember, came the Year of Poets. Sidney's quite snarky about those poets, though I don't see why, since he introduced me to them. Then poor Adrian. Oh, there's no need to recite the dread rolls to you, but Sophie—what is the matter with me? Am I too particular? I don't want to be married just to be married. I can't think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can't talk to, or worse, someone I can't be silent with.What a dreadful, complaining letter. You see? I've succeeded in making you feel relieved that I won't be stopping in Scotland. But then again, I may—my fate rests with Sidney. Kiss Dominic for me and tell him I saw a rat the size of a terrier the other day.Love to Alexander and even more to you,JulietFrom Dawsey Adams, Guernsey, Channel Islands, to Juliet12th January, 1946Miss Juliet Ashton81 Oakley StreetChelseaLondon S.W. 3Dear Miss Ashton,My name is Dawsey Adams, and I live on my farm in St. Martin's Parish on Guernsey. I know of you because I have an old book that once belonged to you—the Selected Essays of Elia, by an author whose name in real life was Charles Lamb. Your name and address were written inside the front cover.I will speak plain—I love Charles Lamb. My own book says Selected, so I wondered if that meant he had written other things to choose from? These are the pieces I want to read, and though the Germans are gone now, there aren't any bookshops left on Guernsey. I want to ask a kindness of you. Could you send me the name and address of a bookshop in London? I would like to order more of Charles Lamb's writings by post. I would also like to ask if anyone has ever written his life story, and if they have, could a copy be found for me? For all his bright and turning mind, I think Mr. Lamb must have had a great sadness in his life.Charles Lamb made me laugh during the German Occupation, especially when he wrote about the roast pig. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society came into being because of a roast pig we had to keep secret from the German soldiers, so I feel a kinship to Mr. Lamb.I am sorry to bother you, but I would be sorrier still not to know about him, as his writings have made me his friend.Hoping not to trouble you,Dawsey AdamsP.S. My friend Mrs. Maugery bought a pamphlet that once belonged to you, too. It is called Was There a Burning Bush? A Defense of Moses and the Ten Commandments. She liked your margin note, "Word of God or crowd control???" Did you ever decide which?From Juliet to Dawsey15th January, 1946Mr. Dawsey AdamsLes VauxlarensLa BoureeSt. Martin's, GuernseyDear Mr. Adams,I no longer live on Oakley Street, but I'm so glad that your letter found me and that my book found you. It was a sad wrench to part with the Selected Essays of Elia. I had two copies and a dire need of shelf-room, but I felt like a traitor selling it. You have soothed my conscience. 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.Because there is nothing I would rather do than rummage through bookshops, I went at once to Hastings & Sons upon receiving your letter. I have gone to them for years, always finding the one book I wanted—and then three more I hadn't known I wanted. I told Mr. Hastings you would like a good, clean copy (and not a rare edition) of More Essays of Elia. He will send it to you by separate post (invoice enclosed) and was delighted to know you are also a lover of Charles Lamb. He said the best biography of Lamb was by E. V. Lucas, and he would hunt out a copy for you, though it may take a while. In the meantime, will you accept this small gift from me? It is his Selected Letters. I think it will tell you more about him than any biography ever could. E. V. Lucas sounds too stately to include my favorite passage from Lamb: "Buz, buz, buz, bum, bum, bum, wheeze, wheeze, wheeze, fen, fen, fen, tinky, tinky, tinky, cr'annch! I shall certainly come to be condemned at last. I have been drinking too much for two days running. I find my moral sense in the last stage of a consumption and my religion getting faint." You'll find that in the Letters (it's on page 244). They were the first Lamb I ever read, and I'm ashamed to say I only bought the book because I'd read elsewhere that a man named Lamb had visited his friend Leigh Hunt, in prison for libeling the Prince of Wales. While there, Lamb helped Hunt paint the ceiling of his cell sky blue with white clouds. Next they painted a rose trellis up one wall. Then, I further discovered, Lamb offered money to help Hunt's family outside the prison—though he himself was as poor as a man could be. Lamb also taught Hunt's youngest daughter to say the Lord's Prayer backward. You naturally want to learn everything you can about a man like that. 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. The red stain on the cover that looks like blood—is blood. I got careless with my paper knife. The enclosed postcard is a reproduction of a painting of Lamb by his friend William Hazlitt. If you have time to correspond with me, could you answer several questions? Three, in fact. Why did a roast pig dinner have to be kept a secret? How could a pig cause you to begin a literary society? And, most pressing of all, what is a potato peel pie—and why is it included in your society's name?I have sub-let a flat at 23 Glebe Place, Chelsea, London S.W.3. My Oakley Street flat was bombed in 1945 and I still miss it. Oakley Street was wonderful—I could see the Thames out of three of my windows. I know that I am fortunate to have any place at all to live in London, but I much prefer whining to counting my blessings. I am glad you thought of me to do your Elia hunting.Yours sincerely,Juliet AshtonP.S. I never could make up my mind about Moses—it still bothers me.From Juliet to Sidney18th January, 1946Dear Sidney,This isn't a letter: it's an apology. Please forgive my moaning about the teas and luncheons you set up for Izzy. Did I call you a tyrant? I take it all back—I love Stephens & Stark for sending me out of London. Bath is a glorious town: lovely crescents of white, upstanding houses instead of London's black, gloomy buildings or—worse still—piles of rubble that were once buildings. It is bliss to breathe in clean, fresh air with no coal smoke and no dust. The weather is cold, but it isn't London's dank chill. Even the people on the street look different—upstanding, like their houses, not grey and hunched like Londoners. Susan said the guests at Abbot's book tea enjoyed themselves immensely—and I know I did. I was able to un-stick my tongue from the roof of my mouth after the first two minutes and began to have quite a good time. Susan and I are off tomorrow for bookshops in Colchester, Norwich, King's Lynn, Bradford, and Leeds.Love and thanks,JulietFrom Juliet to Sidney21st January, 1946Dear Sidney,Night-time train travel is wonderful again! No standing in the corridors for hours, no being shunted off for a troop train to pass, and above all, no black-out curtains. All the windows we passed were lighted, and I could snoop once more. I missed it so terribly during the war. I felt as if we had all turned into moles scuttling along in our separate tunnels. I don't consider myself a real peeper—they go in for bedrooms, but it's families in sitting rooms or kitchens that thrill me. I can imagine their entire lives from a glimpse of bookshelves, or desks, or lit candles, or bright sofa cushions.

Bookclub Guide

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A NETFLIX FILM • A remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name. “Treat yourself to this book, please—I can’t recommend it highly enough.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love “I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” 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. 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.Praise for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society“A jewel . . . Poignant and keenly observed, Guernsey is a small masterpiece about love, war, and the immeasurable sustenance to be found in good books and good friends.”—People “A book-lover’s delight, an implicit and sometimes explicit paean to all things literary.”—Chicago Sun-Times “A sparkling epistolary novel radiating wit, lightly worn erudition and written with great assurance and aplomb.”—The Sunday Times (London) “Cooked perfectly à point: subtle and elegant in flavour, yet emotionally satisfying to the finish.”—The Times (London)1. What was it like to read a novel composed entirely of letters? What do letters offer that no other form of writing (not even emails) can convey?2. What makes Sidney and Sophie ideal friends for Juliet? What common ground do they share? Who has been a similar advocate in your life?3. Dawsey first wrote to Juliet because books, on Charles Lamb or otherwise, were so difficult to obtain on Guernsey in the aftermath of the war. What differences did you note between bookselling in the novel and bookselling in your world? What makes book lovers unique, across all generations?4. What were your first impressions of Dawsey? How was he different from the other men Juliet had known?5. Discuss the poets, novelists, biographers, and other writers who capture the hearts of the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. What does a reader’s taste in books say about his or her personality? Whose lives were changed the most by membership in the society?6. Juliet occasionally receives mean-spirited correspondence from strangers, accusing both Elizabeth and Juliet of being immoral. What accounts for their judgmental ways?7. In what ways were Juliet and Elizabeth kindred spirits? What did Elizabeth’s spontaneous invention of the society, as well as her brave final act, say about her approach to life?8. Numerous Guernsey residents give Juliet access to their private memories of the occupation. Which voices were most memorable for you? What was the effect of reading a variety of responses to a shared tragedy?9. Kit and Juliet complete each other in many ways. What did they need from each other? What qualities make Juliet an unconventional, excellent mother?10. How did Remy’s presence enhance the lives of those on Guernsey? Through her survival, what recollections, hopes, and lessons also survived?11. Juliet rejects marriage proposals from a man who is a stereotypical “great catch.” How would you have handled Juliet’s romantic entanglement? What truly makes someone a “great catch”?12. What was the effect of reading a novel about an author’s experiences with writing, editing, and getting published? Did this enhance the book’s realism, though Juliet’s experience is a bit different from that of debut novelist Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece, children’s book author Annie Barrows?13. What historical facts about life in England during World War II were you especially surprised to discover? What traits, such as remarkable stamina, are captured in a detail such as potato peel pie? In what ways does fiction provide a means for more fully understanding a non-fiction truth?14. Which of the members of the Society is your favorite? Whose literary opinions are most like your own?15. Do you agree with Isola that “reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones”?

Editorial Reviews

“I can’t remember the last time I discovered a novel as smart and delightful as this one, a world so vivid that I kept forgetting this was a work of fiction populated with characters so utterly wonderful that I kept forgetting they weren’t my actual friends and neighbors. Treat yourself to this book please—I can’t recommend it highly enough.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love“Traditional without seeming stale, and romantic without being naive . . . It’s tempting to throw around terms like ‘gem’ when reading a book like this. But Guernsey is not precious. . . . This is a book for firesides or long train rides. It’s as charming and timeless as the novels for which its characters profess their love.”—San Francisco Chronicle Book Review“[The] characters step from the past radiant with eccentricity and kindly humour. [The] writing, with its delicately offbeat, self-deprecating stylishness, is exquisitely turned.”—The Guardian (U.K.)“I’ve never wanted to join a club so desperately as I did while reading Guernsey. . . . [The novel] is a labor of love and it shows on almost every page.”—The Christian Science Monitor“I could not put the book down. I have recommended it to all my friends.”—Newsday“A jewel . . . Poignant and keenly observed, Guernsey is a small masterpiece about love, war, and the immeasurable sustenance to be found in good books and good friends.”—People“A book-lover's delight, an implicit and sometimes explicit paean to all things literary.”—Chicago Sun-Times“A sparkling epistolary novel radiating wit, lightly worn erudition and written with great assurance and aplomb.”—The Sunday Times (London)“Cooked perfectly à point: subtle and elegant in flavour, yet emotionally satisfying to the finish.”—The Times (London)“A sweet, sentimental paean to books and those who love them. . . . It affirms the power of books to nourish people enduring hard times.”—The Washington Post Book World“[A] marvelous debut . . . This is a warm, funny, tender, and thoroughly entertaining celebration of the power of the written word.”—Library Journal“A poignant, funny novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. . . . A treat.”—The Boston Globe“A sure winner.”—Kirkus Reviews“Delightful . . . One of those joyful books that celebrates how reading brings people together.”—New Orleans Times-Picayune“Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows have written a wondrous, delightful, poignant book— part Jane Austen, part history lesson. The letters aren't addressed to you, but they are meant for you. It's a book everyone should read. An absolute treasure.”—Sarah Addison Allen, author of Garden Spells