The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows has one of those annoyingly long titles that is just too cute and quaint for its own good.  And that’s about my only complaint about this remarkable novel.  I didn’t want to like this as much as I did; I was so disappointed when it first began and I realized it was written in a series of letters.  But it was just too charming and poignant to resist, and I fell for its charm reluctantly.

I read this last summer, so again I will cheat and provide a summary from Amazon and Publisher’s Weekly:

The letters comprising this small charming novel begin in 1946, when single, 30-something author Juliet Ashton (nom de plume Izzy Bickerstaff) writes to her publisher to say she is tired of covering the sunny side of war and its aftermath. When Guernsey farmer Dawsey Adams finds Juliet’s name in a used book and invites articulate—and not-so-articulate—neighbors to write Juliet with their stories, the book’s epistolary circle widens, putting Juliet back in the path of war stories.

Juliet is so clever and relatable, and you root for her to find inspiration and happiness.  This is, fittingly enough, Juliet’s love story, but it is also the story of a love of books.  Each character has a story of their war to tell, and the novel shows that war is seen through millions of different lives, perspectives, and experiences.  Some have tragic stories to relate, other parts are funny and light.  But through their letters they all become interconnected, and it is wonderful to see Juliet learn from the inhabitants of Guernsey, and become one of them.


You may also like 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.

This entry was posted in Best Sellers, Book Reviews, General Fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

  1. eleanorbess says:

    I loved the title when I saw it in your FB. When I read it, I loved it even more. But I must admit that at some points it became boring, because of the letter-style… anyway I think Juliet is a very interesting character which reminded me of Katharine Hepburn.

    I’m actually planning a visit to Guernsey since I read the book. For what I’ve read in some sites, it is an island full of bookshops, cafeterias and hotels… The perfect place for a romantic-relaxing short trip!

  2. sadiejean says:

    I agree, stories-in-letters are one of my least favorite ways to read a story. But Juliet was so charming that is worked pretty well. And what a great vacation idea!

  3. Pingback: My Top Ten Books of 2009 « Sadie-Jean’s Book Blog

  4. K says:

    I loved this book! I actually really like letter style books. I think I heard about 84 Charing Cross Road from your blog, and TGLPPS reminded me of it. The book definitely made me want to visit the Channel Islands.

  5. Jeanne says:

    Just finished this. I too was a bit skeptical reading letters. I wasn’t sure if it could keep a good flow but it did. I really enjoyed Juliet’s simple way to feel happiness! One of my favorite paragraphs say’s “That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book,and another bit will lead you onto a third book.It’s goemetrically progressive-all with no end in sight, and for no other reason that sheer enjoyment!

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