Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Juliet Ashton is an English writer who wrote a column under a pen name during the World War II, and as England works to recover, she finds herself looking for her next writing idea.

One day Juliet receives an unexpected letter from Dawsey Adams, a resident of Guernsey with a love of Charles Lamb, who finds himself in possession of a Lamb book previously owned by Juilet. Dawsey writes to Juilet (her name is inside the book) asking questions about Lamb and his other works. Within the letter he includes a passing line about Guernsey during the German Occupation and the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is from this initial correspondence that Juliet seeks to learn more about this Society, and ultimately life on Guernsey during the occupation.

Juliet not only strikes up a pen pal relationship with Dawsey, but soon is writing to and hearing from other residents on the island. Within a few months, Juliet is so drawn in that she finds her next writing subject, eventually moving to Guernsey to do her research, and become a primary part of the lives of many that she is interviewing.

From the very beginning of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I was drawn in to the stories of Guernsey and its residents (and of course guest resident Juliet). Within the first few pages I found myself laughing out loud, taken by surprise of something Juliet wrote (at least I think it was Juliet). It was moments like that which, to me, made the book so charming.

Having the book tell its story via the letters of correspondence to and from Juliet helped make the stories even more intimate. There is something about a letter that aids in hearing the voice of the writer and creates a stronger connection with that person and his or her story. From the beginning I felt like I knew each of the characters through their letters (or being written about in someone’s letter), and when I reached the end, I wanted them all to continue sharing their stories with me.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
ISBN: 978-0385341004
Published: May 5, 2009 (Trade Paperback)
Publisher: Dial Press
Pages: 290

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5 Responses

  1. Oh, how I loved this book! It made me long for the days of letter writing.

  2. I loved this book! When i finished I put my name in a few of my books. 🙂

  3. This was one of my favorite books last year.

  4. This is on one of my must-read lists this year 🙂 I have a copy just sitting on my shelf. Now I just have to decide when! So glad so many people liked it.

  5. I loved this book. It was one of my favorites from last year. Glad you enjoyed it, too! 🙂

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