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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie…

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
14,6061059137 (4.15)1 / 1123
Recently added byprivate library, CSKteach, Autumntyner, Erina39, mbmackay, Kditoro, LiteraryChaos17, Psmith1393
  1. 480
    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. 140
    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. 131
    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
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  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. 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.
  9. 71
    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.
  10. 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)
  11. 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.
  12. 40
    Miss Buncle by D. E. Stevenson (wandering_star)
  13. 40
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  14. 51
    Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole (rosylibrarian)
  15. 73
    The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Limelite)
    Limelite: Also an epistolary novel. Also about how community can triumph over debilitating circumstance.
  16. 40
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  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
    My Dear Bessie: A Love Story in Letters by Chris Barker (carriehh)
  20. 21
    The German Occupation of Jersey, 1940 - 1945 - Notes on the General Conditions. How the Population Fared by Ralph Mollet (KayCliff)

(see all 39 recommendations)

To Read (14)

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English (1,032)  French (14)  Spanish (7)  Catalan (6)  Finnish (3)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  All (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  All (1,071)
Showing 1-5 of 1032 (next | show all)
Ahhh! There we go. Different format for this book. The book was entirely constituted of "letters" between the characters. I loved the characters. The premise is that the main character, Juliet, is working on articles post WW2 about the effect books/reading has on people's lives. By a grand coincidence, she connects with The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, which was a book club of sorts formed during the war on the German-occupied island of Guernsey. I absolutely LOVED the characters. Juliet is a true bibliophile, who runs into a burning library to try to rescue books. She also leaves her fiance when she finds him boxing up her books to clear room for his things. I sooo recommend this book. ( )
  CSKteach | Jul 20, 2018 |
Delightful light reading about ordinary people in Guernsey who survived the German occupation during World War 2. And, in addition to the beautiful writing, there is the back-story of the author publishing her first book in her late 60's and dying before seeing its enormous success. ( )
  mbmackay | Jul 19, 2018 |
I won't rate this one as I bailed on it after 23 pages. Perhaps I should have given it more, but I just couldn't.
  Michael.Rimmer | Jul 17, 2018 |
‘’Real dyed-in-the-wool readers can’t lie. Our faces always give us away. A raised brow or a curled lip means that it’s a poor excuse for a book, and the clever customers ask for recommendation instead, whereupon we frog-march them over to a particular volume and command them to read it.’’

Following an exciting April, I chose to start May with a focus on more contemporary, approachable reads that are simple but rich in themes focusing on the relationships within a family, within the members of small communities. One of these choices was a a book with the striking title The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Now, this work and yours truly have been through a stormy relationship. Ever since it came out, I’ve included it in my list only to dismiss it again and again. It just didn’t look like something I’d choose to read. However, I recently watched a documentary about the Channel Islands and I took it as a sign. And I am very happy to tell you that it is a delightful, meaningful novel.

Even though I’m not an admirer of novels written in the epistolary form, this is the kind of book that benefits from the style. It protects the reader from awkward dialogue and repetition. So. The story in a nutshell. Juliet is a rather successful writer who desires to finally write something that will be fulfilling to her aspirations. A letter of chance by Dawsey, a resident of Guernsey, brings the literary society with the astonishing name and the special background to her attention and what was meant to be a simple research becomes a journey of self-discovery.

I love the way the setting and the era come alive through the pages of this book. We are in 1946 and the island is trying to recover from the consequences of the German occupation. Juliet is going through a similar situation. She fights against dark memories, against prejudices and discriminations and bossy men who think she is incapable of producing a serious work just because she is a woman.The islanders want to be taken seriously. They’re not there to be laughed at or to be pitied. So, Juliet and Guernsey have much in common. Their thoughts and feelings are vividly shown and the reader has the chance to feel a part of both stories.

‘’The bright day is done and we are for the dark’’
Anthony and Cleopatra, William Shakespeare

I appreciated the way Shaffer chose to focus on human relationships. People so different and yet so similar, brought together by the primal need to survive and the unique love for reading. A society that starts as an excuse to fool the Kommandantur becomes a haven, a shelter for the islanders who derive strength from heroes and heroines of tales. Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden, The Bronte sisters, Dickens, Wilkie Collins, the Bell siblings and, naturally, the One, the Greatest of the greats. William Shakespeare. The process of how people who had little to no association with books become dedicated readers was a joy to witness. And the fights, the antagonist, the passions that are inevitable in a small community where tensions have amounted for too long are always exciting…

I didn’t believe that in an epistolary novel there would be space enough for the characters to develop but I was wrong. We have the sympathetic ones and those who suffocate the others because of their beliefs and their ego. And, of course, we have Juliet who is such a fascinating heroine, full of life and endless determination. I loved her from the very first letter. So, if character development is one of your concerns regarding this novel, fear not. You will come to know quite a few exciting people, you will love them while others will give you some trouble. Just as in real life.

I didn’t come to think of this novel as a ‘’feel-good’’ story. What is this term, anyway? For me, there aren’t ‘’feel good’’ or ‘’feel bad’’ stories. There are well-written stories and badly written ones and many times, the most poignant tales are the ones that spring from togetherness and coincidences. They are told in a simple manner, in beautiful, quirky and sometimes sad prose. What could be more memorable than that? No pseudo-philosophical gimmicks or cheap sentimentalism but reality.

...plus there’s a plethora of references to Wuthering Heights and yes, I’m completely biased..

‘’I didn’t like Wuthering Heights at first, but the minute that spectre Cathy scratched her bony fingers on the windowpane- I was grasped by the throat and not let go. With that Emily I could hear Heathcliff's pitiful cries upon the moors.’’ ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Jul 15, 2018 |
I picked this up at a used bookstore because the title piqued my interest. (I needed to know how to make said pie; it sounded quite interesting.) What I found inside the covers was a quick, delightful read.

I have read several books written in the style of letters sent between characters, but this had to be the best. It never skipped a beat. In fact, it skipped over all the superfluous fluff and focused on the essential pieces of the story.

The characters were individualistic while still meshing together well. It reminded me of my days in Art School with all the weirdos living in our own, creative community with a few snotty fashion/interior designers thrown in (all of whom we ignored because this was our turf!).

Juliet Ashton was, hands-down, my favorite character. She was funny and facetious in many of her letters, but genuine and good-hearted.

I also enjoyed the mystery of Elizabeth McKenna and how she was kept throughout the story without actually being in it. I was saddened when they discovered what happened to her, yet pleased at the same time (not about what happened, but the fact that it wasn't one of those everything-is-great-in-the-end stories...although it kind of was anyway, now that I think of it.)

If I had to choose something to complain about it would be the quick romance that seemed a little tossed in at the end. But I can't complain too much because I'm not one for a lot of romance, so saving it for the end was perfect. Again, it avoided all that fluff of will-they, won't-they that always frustrates me. (Just kiss already and be done with it! Yeesh!)

Overall, I loved this little book and want to start my own Literary Society. Perhaps even move to Guernsey.

Oh, and if you're wondering, there isn't an actual recipe for the pie in the book, although the ingredients are mentioned. ( )
  bleached | Jul 7, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 1032 (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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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

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.
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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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.

This book may not have the most literary value bu there were so many allusions to books that I couldn't keep track. It made me realize that I had really not read that many books. It also was a book that made me want to learn more about people and not just be content with what's on the surface. The people in Guernsey were just so interesting.
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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 6 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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