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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
14,5201051138 (4.15)1 / 1119
Recently added byrarm, wakegirl16, siok, private library, tommoz, ohtheinsandy, KaiyaSue, littleread, carolgauld
  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.
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    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
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    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
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    The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Limelite)
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    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
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(see all 39 recommendations)

To Read (14)

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English (1,023)  French (14)  Spanish (7)  Catalan (6)  Dutch (3)  Finnish (3)  German (3)  Norwegian (1)  All (1)  Danish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All (1,063)
Showing 1-5 of 1023 (next | show all)
The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society was an immediate success, becoming a world-wide bestseller. Ten years after its publication it is still going strong, especially with the release of the movie this summer. My book club, Page Turners, selected it for our May discussion. Well, due to traveling members and other obligations, our meeting had a sparse attendance. And the two others besides me that were there hadn’t yet finished the book. But that certainly didn’t keep me from talking about this excellent book. Told completely in letters, the novel unfolds the story of Guernsey, a little thought of island in the English Channel. I was fascinated by the background of the story and the setting. But it was the characters that emerged and their resilience and courage in the face of enemy occupation that captured my heart. The two others that attended our meeting found the epistolary style hard to connect with. I think that by listening to the audiobook, that obstacle was removed for me. I immediately connected with Juliet, Dawsey, Isola, Elizabeth, and the others that had their voices heard through their and others’ letters. The book has some wonderfully funny parts, but poignancy as well. I felt myself part of the Guernsey community as they faced privation and uncertainty, yet never lost hope that their release from the the German occupation would come. Besides being a wonderful look into a place and time unknown to me, I felt the book was relevant for my life today.

I highly recommend The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society. It quickly captured my imagination and has stayed with me long after the final page.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I bought the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.) ( )
  vintagebeckie | May 25, 2018 |
This is about a writer who travels to Guernsey just after the end of the Second World War and falls in love with the place and the courage of its islanders during the German occupation. Written in an epistolary form, it allows the writer to let the characters tell their own stories of the occupation.

Dawsey Adams owns a farm and likes the writings of Charles Lamb. This is a theme of the book that everyone has a favourite author. For Isola she talks to Juliet of her biography of Anne Bronte. Eben, a tombstone carver, likes Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Dickens. Clovis wants to learn poetry to impress a lady and looks to Catullus a Roman Poet and the war poetry of Wilfred Owen. John Brooker who takes on the persona of his employer Tobias Penn-Piers, reads the letters of Seneca. The founder of the society is Elizabeth, who we never see as she is captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp. Dawsey tells the reader how during the war the Germans confiscated all food provisions including any livestock. When Mrs Maugery calls him and tells him she has a pig and bring a butcher’s knife they gather the neighbour’s and have a feast. Coming home after curfew a little worse for wear they are caught by the Germans who demand to know where they have been. Elizabeth proclaims they have been at the inaugural meeting of the literary society. They had been reading Elizabeth and her German Garden, a book which I’m sure doesn’t exist, but placated the guards.

In part one Juliet remains in the UK and the letters are sent back and forth. She also gains an admirer in the form of Markham Reynolds, a suave, intelligent American who sends her flowers and takes her out to dinner. Their relationship reaches a crunch point when he asks her to marry him and she is not sure. When she travels to Guernsey we see his more controlling side. This is a beautiful contrast to the simplicity and unassuming nature of the islanders.

Each character has their own use of language and some are more opinionated than others. Adele Addison disapproves of Elizabeth due to her liaison with a German Officer, but Remy who resides in the detainment camp with her speaks of her courage. Isola speaks of men being more interesting in books than in real life and is dismayed someone has not introduced her to Jane Austen. Dawsey is portrayed as not very well educated, especially when contrasted with Juliet’s American suitor, but he still reads Charles Lamb.

Witty and engaging this is a beautiful easy read, celebrating the courage of an island through the eyes of its residents and the curiosity of a writer. What makes this more poignant is the fact that the author died before the final edit and it was her niece that completed the book. ( )
  TraceyMadeley | May 19, 2018 |
I had this one on my TBR for a long time. I’d heard good things about it and it was a recurrent selection for various book clubs hosted by our library system, so I knew I wanted to read it. When our book club realized that several of us had the book on our lists, AND that the movie version is set to be released later this summer, we decided to make it one of our 2018 book club selections..

Sadly, after that build-up I really didn’t enjoy the book much. One thing was the writing style, a epistolary novel written as a series of letters between the main character, Juliet, and other characters in the book. While I think this worked great as an introduction to the story, after a while it became tedious and made it difficult to discern between the characters.

That was another issue for me—keeping the characters straight. In particular, it was hard for me to distinguish between Eben and Dawsey for much of the book. There were just too many characters introduced too early for me to keep them straight.

Another problem for me was the slow pace of the story. Had it not been a selection for my book club, I’m sure I would have given up on it. As it was, I didn’t get finished before my book club meeting, but pushed myself to get to the second part of the book. At that point, the pace picked up, the story got more interesting, and I was able to finish that evening. Unfortunately, just when I finally felt like the story got started—it ended!

The book is classified as historical fiction, but it is not historical fiction at its best. I would classify it as ‘period fiction’; set in a particular period. I didn’t really learn much from the book (other than that Guernsey cows really originated in a place called Guernsey) and I wasn’t inspired to learn more about the period. Admittedly, that may be due to the fact that I read the ‘Deluxe Reading Group Addition’ that was well annotated, giving information about people, events and places mentioned in the book. I actually enjoyed the annotations more than the story! However, that probably slowed my reading and made the story appear more disjointed than it was. I’m not sure whether I’d recommend the annotated edition or not, so use your own judgement here!

One thing I did enjoy were some of the quotes about books that most readers will relate to. Here are a couple I liked.

About a visit to the local bookstore...
“always finding the one book I wanted—and then three more I hadn’t known I wanted”

“It was a sad wrench to part with the Selected Essays of Elia. I had two copies and a dire need of shelf-room, but I felt like a traitor selling it”About giving away a favorite book....

In fairness, I do have to mention that, as often happens, my book club rated the book much differently than I did. There were only four of us in attendance, and the ratings were 4, 4.5, and 5. After finishing the book yesterday, I give it a 2.5, for a book club average rating of 4. ( )
  Time2Read2 | May 13, 2018 |
What a sweet, beautiful story. ( )
  ppmarkgraf | May 5, 2018 |
Such a lovely story. I read this years ago and loved the way the story was told through correspondence. It was beautifully atmospheric and really showed the power of relationships. Very much enjoyed it and should go back and re-read (as I can't remember much about the storyline anymore but always find myself sighing a bit when I recommend it to others to read, remembering how comfortable this book was). ( )
  justagirlwithabook | May 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 1023 (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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(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.

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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