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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by and

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Cover

 

Staff Pick

Perfect for book groups, a charming series of letters make up this short novel set in post-WWII Europe. The correspondents, drawn together by their love of books and affection for each other, collectively tell a moving tale of endurance and friendship in the shadow of war.
Recommended by Danielle, Powells.com

Written in letter form, this enchanting novel will completely win you over. Set in 1946, Guernsey's characters are utterly charming as they try to navigate the occupation of their island by the Germans. So vivid, so sweet, so irresistible; you will want to move to Guernsey like I did! You will love this book!
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"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.

Review:

Though it deals with a dark period in history, this first novel is an essentially sunny work. It affirms the power of books to nourish people enduring hard times — not so surprising, since Mary Ann Shaffer, who died earlier this year, had a long career as a librarian, bookseller and editor. Her niece Annie Barrows, a children's author, finished the manuscript after Shaffer fell ill; between them,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"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

Review:

"Elizabeth and Juliet are appealingly reminiscent of game but gutsy '40s movie heroines. The engrossing subject matter and lively writing make this a sure winner, perhaps fodder for a TV series." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Reminiscent of Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road, this is a warm, funny, tender, and thoroughly entertaining celebration of the power of the written word. This marvelous debut novel, sure to have book club appeal, is highly recommended." Library Journal (Starred Review)

Review:

"Written in the form of letters (a lost art), this novel by an aunt-and-niece team has loads of charm, especially as long as Juliet is still in London corresponding with the society members." Booklist

Review:

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

Review:

"I've never wanted to join a club so desperately as I did while reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. [The novel] is a labor of love and it shows on almost every page." Christian Science Monitor

Synopsis:

As London is emerging from the shadow of World War II, writer Juliet Ashton discovers her next subject in a book club on Guernsey — a club born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi after its members are discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island.

Synopsis:

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

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About the Author

Mary Ann Shaffer worked as an editor, a librarian, and in bookshops. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel.

Her niece, Annie Barrows, is the author of the children's series Ivy and Bean, as well as The Magic Half.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 62 comments:

Anna Hansen, February 11, 2014 (view all comments by Anna Hansen)
I loved this book so much that when I finished the last page, I flipped it over and read the whole thing again! I loved the characters, the stories, the wit, the letter style, the setting...I loved it all. Thank you to Ms. Shaffer and Ms. Barrows for creating such a joy of a book!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Julie Matthies, May 20, 2013 (view all comments by Julie Matthies)
Why did I wait so long to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? A book about books, a book club and readers set on an island right after WWII. All favorites for me and surprise! this book has made it on to my favorites list. The writing is witty, the story charming and characters so lovable. I have a feeling I'm one of the only who hadn't read this book until now, but if you haven't, read it. It'll take you into a delightful world you won't want to leave.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Bibliophile810, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Bibliophile810)
This novel consists of letters written back and forth between a newspaper columnist, her editor, and a group of quirky characters on a lonely island during WWII. The story unfolds with humor and charm as we discover the unique residents on the island and how they endure the German occupation. Their individual memories weave a story that concenters around a brave young woman eventually sent to a concentration camp. Although a work of fiction, I found the characters believable and their lives a reflection of the indomitability of the human spirit.
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View all 62 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385341004
Author:
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Publisher:
Dial Press
Author:
Shaffer, Mary Ann
Author:
Barrows, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie
Author:
Barrows, Annie
Author:
Various
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
England
Subject:
Women Authors
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
fiction;wwii;historical fiction;england;guernsey;letters;epistolary;channel islands;romance;german occupation;historical;friendship;war;novel;history;literature;occupation;books about books;love;british;epistolary novel;london;writers;1940s;correspondence
Subject:
fiction;wwii;historical fiction;england;guernsey;letters;epistolary;channel islands;romance;german occupation;historical;friendship;war;novel;history;literature;occupation;books about books;love;british;epistolary novel;london;writers;1940s;correspondence
Subject:
fiction;wwii;historical fiction;england;guernsey;letters;epistolary;channel islands;romance;german occupation;historical;friendship;war;novel;history;literature;occupation;love;books about books;british;epistolary novel;london;writers;1940s;correspondence
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Random House Reader's Circle
Publication Date:
20090531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
12 x 9 x 5 in 9.7413 lb

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Related Subjects


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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Dial Press - English 9780385341004 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Perfect for book groups, a charming series of letters make up this short novel set in post-WWII Europe. The correspondents, drawn together by their love of books and affection for each other, collectively tell a moving tale of endurance and friendship in the shadow of war.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Written in letter form, this enchanting novel will completely win you over. Set in 1946, Guernsey's characters are utterly charming as they try to navigate the occupation of their island by the Germans. So vivid, so sweet, so irresistible; you will want to move to Guernsey like I did! You will love this book!

"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Elizabeth and Juliet are appealingly reminiscent of game but gutsy '40s movie heroines. The engrossing subject matter and lively writing make this a sure winner, perhaps fodder for a TV series."
"Review" by , "Reminiscent of Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road, this is a warm, funny, tender, and thoroughly entertaining celebration of the power of the written word. This marvelous debut novel, sure to have book club appeal, is highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Written in the form of letters (a lost art), this novel by an aunt-and-niece team has loads of charm, especially as long as Juliet is still in London corresponding with the society members."
"Review" by , "A book-lover's delight, an implicit and sometimes explicit paean to all things literary."
"Review" by , "I've never wanted to join a club so desperately as I did while reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. [The novel] is a labor of love and it shows on almost every page."
"Synopsis" by , As London is emerging from the shadow of World War II, writer Juliet Ashton discovers her next subject in a book club on Guernsey — a club born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi after its members are discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island.
"Synopsis" by , January 1946: writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.
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