2017: #14 – The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows)
Published by Dial Press Trade Paperback on May 5th 2009
Genres: hf - Post-WWII, historical fiction
“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.
This is one of those books that has languished on my TBR list for years, but I continued to read good things about it and see people recommend it. And they were all right!
What you find among all the letters is a pleasant story that taught me something I didn’t know about World War II. I had no idea that Guernsey was occupied by the Germans during the war, or that they occupied anywhere that wasn’t mainland Europe. There is definitely a tinge of sadness to what happened there, especially with no one knowing what happened to Elizabeth, who founded the Society. Despite that sadness, I think everyone ends up happier in the end.
- “This is without a doubt a very uplifting, delightful story with a lot of light and funny moments and quirky characters. But it never denies or hides the horrors of the Second World War either.” – The Book Smugglers
- “What impresses me most is that the Guernsey Islanders are so willing to open their hearts and lives to writer Juliet, an absolute stranger, mainly because of their common love of the written words.” – Ripple Effects
- “The letters they write are charming, full of truth, questions, flirtations, and the resilience of those who survived the occupation. I want to meet these people.” – Reading for Sanity
One thought on “2017: #14 – The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows)”
I love epistolary novels and thought this one was terrific.