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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie…

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,220910207 (4.16)1 / 971
Title:The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Authors:Mary Ann Shaffer
Other authors:Annie Barrows
Info:New York, N.Y. : Dial Press Trade Paperbacks, 2009.
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:Historical Fiction

Work details

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (2008)

  1. 440
    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. 272
    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. 110
    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. 91
    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. 124
    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (cransell)
  6. 70
    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)
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 50
    Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole (rosylibrarian)
  10. 62
    The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher (MyriadBooks)
  11. 30
    Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (nancyewhite)
  12. 30
    Miss Buncle by D. E. Stevenson (wandering_star)
  13. 41
    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.
  14. 30
    The Dig by John Preston (CatyM)
  15. 52
    The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Limelite)
    Limelite: Also an epistolary novel. Also about how community can triumph over debilitating circumstance.
  16. 42
    A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books deal with the occupation of Guernsey by the Nazis.
  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. 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.
  19. 10
    The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (bell7)
    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.
  20. 10
    War on the Margins by Libby Cone (betsytacy)
    betsytacy: This novel also covers the effects of the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.

(see all 38 recommendations)


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English (882)  French (13)  Spanish (5)  Catalan (4)  German (3)  Finnish (3)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (916)
Showing 1-5 of 882 (next | show all)
One of my new favorites! Review to follow on the blog soon. ( )
  What_Katie_Read | Dec 1, 2014 |
This delightful book was sprung upon me by my book club and I don’t regret it for one minute! I probably would have picked it up if I’d read the blurb on the back cover – but I might not have picked it up thinking the cover was too ‘romance’. It is slightly romantic, but only in a ‘life’ way.

Juliet Ashton is an author. Immediate sympathies go out to her. She is struggling to find her next book. Double the sympathies. Her book based on the wartime column she wrote as Izzy Bickerstaff has thrust her into an unwanted limelight – through book tours and interviews, and a good deal of muckraking by a jealous editor. Way outside my experiences then ;) But I’ve already warmed to her, and nothing she does during this delightful and occasionally harrowing tale, unfolded through correspondence with friends, a would-be lover, editors, and the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, changes my affection for her. Full of human weaknesses. She does the sort of thing you’d do. Ok, I’d do them too, if I had the chance.

My experience of stories told through the medium of letters has, so far, been a 100% thumbs-up. [b:84, Charing Cross Road|368916|84, Charing Cross Road|Helene Hanff|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1287338794s/368916.jpg|938626] is a rare case of a film perfectly delivering the printed page. My friend Sue did a delightful book of letters from the works supervisor of the pyramid building company to the Pharaoh, lamenting the working practices and failure of contractors. [a:Stanley and Katrina|6880725|Stanley and Katrina|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1380734565p2/6880725.jpg] unveil life for the family pet from a whole new viewpoint. I think I delight in a story told through complaints and perspective that can be unfolded in a letter to a specific person, even more than a prose work told to the generic reader. But letters show you so much, not only of the writer’s problem, but the writer’s perspective too. What Ms Shaffer and Ms Barrows do in this book is to give us multiple perspectives of postwar Britain (and a little of France) and especially of life in Guernsey during the German Occupation, through the correspondence with said Literary Society (a book club), with its huge diversity of members. Small town life at its best – and worst!

I read the first quarter on a Friday train, and finished the rest off on Sunday afternoon and evening. I was desperate to get back to it. Reading the after-words, I found that Ms Shaffer was unable to complete the book and the task passed to a relative, Ms Barrows. If that is the basis of the last section, the journal of a would-be Miss Marple then I applaud all concerned as it is a masterful winding up, and deals nicely with any differences in style between the two authors. Praise all round.

I read a library copy of this book as part of my book club list. I might go and buy my own copy for a re-read. ( )
  Jemima_Pett | Nov 11, 2014 |
I found this book disappointing and mostly quite tedious, against my expectations, and have given up half way through (though it's only 250 odd pages long). While there are a few interesting revelations by some of the fictional letter writers about conditions under the German occupation, and a handful of amusing reflections on book reading, these were buried by much longer passages of witterings, all delivered in a voice that sounded very similar, whichever letter writer it was. ( )
  john257hopper | Nov 9, 2014 |
This was quite a delight. It's an epistolary novel with strong echoes of [b:84, Charing Cross Road|368916|84, Charing Cross Road|Helene Hanff|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1287338794s/368916.jpg|938626] and [b:Dear Enemy|67243|Dear Enemy (Daddy-Long-Legs, #2)|Jean Webster|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1343320830s/67243.jpg|1306914]. I had a little trouble tracking the many different characters at first, but the important ones came clear soon enough. It's set in the aftermath of World War II and slowly uncovers some of the horrors various people went through during the German occupation of Guernsey, a story I had not known anything about. The warmth I came to feel for the characters made these incidents more poignant than what I've read of straight history. It's all leavened with love of literature and beauty and romance and...well, I'm sorry it took me so long to get around to reading it. ( )
1 vote AmphipodGirl | Oct 14, 2014 |
Totally enjoyed this book and all the characters found within. Set in London and on the island of Guernsey after the end of the war it begins with an author on tour looking for something a bit more serious to write about and an islander who comes into ownership of a book she wrote on one of the Bronte sisters. From there the story builds and you don't want to put the book down because you want to find out what happens next! Though there are worse things that could keep you up at night. ( )
  lisa.schureman | Sep 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 882 (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.
he 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 (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Ann Shafferprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barrows, Anniemain 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
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 Barrows, Fiery Cynthia mother
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:58 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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