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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie…
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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2008)

by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,8591081219 (4.15)1 / 1137
  1. 490
    84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (khuggard, DetailMuse, Cecilturtle, helgagrace, Sodapop, BasilBlue, kraaivrouw)
    khuggard: Another tale about book lovers who come together through letters, with the same post-war England setting.
    Sodapop: A Non-fiction story about book lovers told via their letters.
    BasilBlue: A book about books and booklovers for booklovers that incidentally has a real flavor of the late 40s and early 50s.
    kraaivrouw: Another book about people who connect via their love of books and reading.
  2. 341
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (writemeg)
    writemeg: Another deeply affecting, beautiful and heartbreaking story of books, love, small kindness and resilience during World War II.
  3. 150
    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Both stories are bittersweet - tales of hardship, prejudice and hope although they are set in very different places and very different times. Fried Green Tomatoes jumps around but describes life, race relations and murder in a small Southern town during the Great Depression. Shaffer's novel deals with the occupation (and its aftermath) of the small Channel Island of Guernsey during WWII.… (more)
  4. 141
    The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (Anonymous user, mysterymax)
    Anonymous user: Both novels reflect on World War II from small, seaside towns, one an island in Europe, the other a small town in Cape Cod. The female leads are unique and interesting and are surrounded by great small town people.
  5. 164
    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (cransell)
  6. 102
    The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher (MyriadBooks)
  7. 80
    The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Going in to the bookmobile to apologize for the disturbance created by one of her corgis, Queen Elizabeth II feels it would only be polite to check out a book. When she returns it, she checks out another . . . and then another. One of her pages becomes her abettor in the matter of securing books and reading them. Thus begins an amusing but also thought-provoking saga of how reading can change a person's habits and even outlook.… (more)
  8. 81
    Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (vulgarboatman)
    vulgarboatman: Similar themes of a journalist discovering the layers of secrets around a mystery from WWII, along with an exploration of the effect of these events on the survivors, their families, and ultimately on the journalist herself.
  9. 103
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Voracious_Reader)
    Voracious_Reader: The writing styles and the authors' love for the written word connect both period pieces in my mind even though their plots are extremely different.
  10. 50
    The Book of Ebenezer Le Page by G. B. Edwards (jill123, BasilBlue)
    jill123: Though they are different in style and tone, both books are set in the Channel Islands during the Nazi Occupation. I enjoyed the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but I found Ebenezer Le Page to be an absolutely wonderful book. More complex and interesting than the Potato Peel Society.… (more)
    BasilBlue: Although written in a more elegantly sparse style, this book covers much the same territory, geographically and emotionally.
  11. 50
    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (bell7, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    bell7: Though one is set in contemporary times on a fictional island of the coast of Massachusetts and the other in post World War II England, both books show the importance of story and have an optimistic tone while dealing with some of life's challenges.
    BookshelfMonstrosity: A love of literature helps protagonists form unlikely but rewarding new relationships in these tender stories of personal redemption. The vibrant characterization, gently humorous tone, and whimsical, heartwarming narratives shine in compelling novels that illustrate the power of reading.… (more)
  12. 40
    Miss Buncle by D. E. Stevenson (wandering_star)
  13. 51
    Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole (rosylibrarian)
  14. 73
    The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Limelite)
    Limelite: Also an epistolary novel. Also about how community can triumph over debilitating circumstance.
  15. 40
    Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (nancyewhite)
  16. 40
    The Dig by John Preston (catherinestead)
  17. 31
    A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper (betsytacy)
    betsytacy: This YA novel, set in 1936, features 16-year-old Sophie, a royal orphan growing up with her siblings and cousin in a shabby castle on island kingdom of Montmaray, somewhere off the coast of England. The island's strategic location draws the interest of the Nazis.… (more)
  18. 42
    A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books deal with the occupation of Guernsey by the Nazis.
  19. 10
    The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Very different books, but both are set on Guernsey and have a strong sense of place. Both books also cover the WWII occupation of the island. And finally, both books are compelling, quick reads.
  20. 10
    Plenty by David Hare (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Both capture the desperation of post-war England in their own unique ways.

(see all 40 recommendations)

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English (1,053)  French (14)  Spanish (7)  Catalan (6)  Finnish (3)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (1,092)
Showing 1-5 of 1053 (next | show all)
4.5 stars

A couple of years ago, upon a friend's relentless persuasion, I grabbed a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society at a used-books store. Since then, it has been steadily gathering dust on my bookshelf. This past weekend, I decided I wouldn't let other books distract me, and now I've come to know why everyone kept recommending The Guernsey Literary Society.

The book follows correspondence between Juliet Ashton, a London-based writer, and the residents of Guernsey island. During the German occupation of the island, some residents are caught breaking the curfew, and come up with a spur-of-the-moment coverup. They claim they are members of a literary society, and to furnish the lie with some truth, some of the residents drum up a book club of sorts. But what begins as a lie soon shapes into a dynamic literary society, with each member finding books/authors/genres that interest them.

Juliet, in search for her next book's subject, finds the accounts she receives from Guernsey very alluring. Through her, the readers too discover a charming community that survived the war with their courage, humour, empathy, compassion and their love for each other.

What I particularly loved about the book is how the format of letters to and from Juliet end up creating a very vivid picture of her and the other characters, without making it seem too obvious. It also does much justice to the lived experience of having been through a war. The book doesn't generalize the experience or the emotions that may come from it.

This book turned out to be a perfect weekend getaway for me, and the only issue I had with the book was the added romance between the lead characters. It didn't seem necessary to the plot, and the story of Guernsey would have been perfectly fine without it.



( )
  AceFeminist | Dec 7, 2018 |
Aww... very sweet. I enjoyed the letter-writing storytelling style and learned a lot about Guernsey, too. ( )
  KristinaSimon | Nov 24, 2018 |
The tale of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society really begins when Juliet Ashton, from London, receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams who is from Guernsey, one of the English Channel Islands. A book by Charles Lamb that was inscribed with her name came into his possession. This letter begins a series of letters between him and Juliet and then soon includes letters from many other islanders to Juliet. The islanders begin to tell her of how their literary society came about and then continue to tell about their lives during the time when their island was occupied during World War II. Juliet eventually goes to the island and falls in love with the island and the people.

It is a heartwarming novel even though it includes some reports of war tragedies and atrocities. The inclusion of the letters to and from Juliet gives the story a personal feel. By the time the book ended, I felt like I was well acquainted with many of the people from Guernsey and I could understand how Juliet would not want to leave the island and its people. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
So. Very. Charming.
I am sad it is over. ( )
  Katie80 | Oct 8, 2018 |
Loved the epistolary style, loved the townspeople, loved the most improbable of plot points. ( )
  akaGingerK | Sep 30, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 1053 (next | show all)
"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society," written by the late Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece, children's author Annie Barrows, stays within modest bounds, but is successful in ways many novels are not. This book won't change your life, but it will probably enchant you. And sometimes that's precisely what makes fiction worthwhile.
 
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society commemorates beautiful spirits who pass through our midst and hunker undercover through brutal times. Shaffer's Guernsey characters step from the past radiant with eccentricity and kindly humour, a comic version of the state of grace. They are innocents who have seen and suffered, without allowing evil to penetrate the rind of decency that guards their humanity.
 
You could be skeptical about the novel's improbabilities and its sanitized portrait of book clubs (doesn't anyone read trashy thrillers?), but you'd be missing the point. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a sweet, sentimental paean to books and those who love them.
 

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shaffer, Mary AnnAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barrows, AnnieAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Boehmer, PaulNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duerden, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kapari-Jatta, JaanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landor, RosalynNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mills, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norey, VirginiaBook Designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norfolk, CharlieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridelberg, HelenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, GeorgeMapsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
Lovingly dedicated to my mother, Edna Fiery Morgan,
and to my dear friend Julia Poppy

—M. A. S.
And to my mother, Cynthia Fiery Barrows
—A. B.
First words
8th January, 1946

Mr. Sidney Stark, Publisher
Stephens & Stark Ltd.
21 St. James's Place
London S.W.1
England

Dear 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.
Quotations
Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books. - Isola Pribby
Men are more interesting in books than they are in real life. - Isola Pribby
Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true. - Juliet
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. - Juliet
I think you learn more if you're laughing at the same time. - John Booker
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Beginning at the end of WW2, this book is told through the form of letter between writer Juliet Ashton and her friends. Juliet initially receives a letter from a man on the island of Guernsey asking for more books. She becomes so in love with stories and descriptions of life in Guernsey that she decides to go herself. Through the letters she sends home and the letters from her new friends the stories of people's lives are revealed. This book points out that the lives of people were more important than the formality of the writing.
Haiku summary
In post-war Britain
friendships are forged through a shared
love of literature.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385341008, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:42 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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.… (more)

» see all 12 descriptions

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