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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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Home » Books » Fiction & Literature » Literary Collections

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

By Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

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Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Other Information: maps
Published In: United Kingdom, 07 June 2010
It's 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can't think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey - by chance, he's acquired a book that once belonged to her - and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it's not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.

Promotional Information

A New York Times bestseller, this has received a phenomenal response from the trade and public alike A new filmic jacket will inspire a new legion of fans to read this modern classic For readers of Maeve Binchy, Rosamund Pilcher, Joanne Harris and Mary Wesley - and fans of 84 Charing Cross Road

About the Author

MARY ANN SHAFFER was born in 1934 in Martinsburg, West Virginia. She worked as an editor, a librarian and in bookshops. She became interested in Guernsey while visiting London in 1976. On a whim, she decided to fly to Guernsey but became stranded there as a heavy fog descended and no boats or planes were permitted to leave the island. As she waited for the fog to clear, she came across a book called Jersey Under the Jack-Boot, and so her fascination with the Channel Isles began. Many years later, when goaded by her own literary club to write a book, Mary Ann naturally thought of Guernsey. Mary Ann died in February 2008. She knew that this, her only novel, was to be published in thirteen countries. Before she died she wrote, 'I must tender special thanks to my niece, Annie, who stepped in to finish this book after unexpected health issues interrupted my ability to work shortly after the manuscript was sold. Without blinking an eye, she put down the book she was writing, pushed up her sleeves, and set to work on my manuscript. It was my great good luck to have a writer like her in the family, and this book could not have been done without her.' ANNIE BARROWS is the author of the Ivy and Bean series for children, as well as The Magic Half.


'Charming ... one to lift even the most cynical of spirits' The Times 'Thronging with lovable people ... golden comedy' Guardian 'What a gorgeous book - very touching and funny' Joanna Lumley 'Delightfully spirited and quirky novel-of-letters ... You'd have to be pretty hard-hearted not to fall under its spell' Daily Mail Books of the Year

EAN: 9781408810262
ISBN: 1408810263
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 1.6 centimetres (0.17 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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8 review(s)
All Reviews
Sonia on
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! Great characterisation and a good insight into life at that time and place... Recommended!
Karen on
This is a very enjoyable read - good for in bed before you nod off. For those who like a bit of history it is set in the years following WWII and includes some details of how Guernsey fared during the war. Unusually a lot of the text is in the form of letters but don't let that put you off. It becomes very engaging and is definitely worth the read.
Kerry on
I have just finished reading my library copy (recommended by my librarian)
and have jumped online to purchase my very own copy because I absolutely
loved it. Not only that, but I took the advice of another reviewer and bought
lots of copies for my friends. It's one of the most beautiful books I've ever
read. Somehow the author's own story fits right in to those of her characters.
I even paid $2 more for this cover copy because it's so pretty and just seems
to fit the story even more. If you're dithering over this purchase, don't.
Buy it.
dorothy on
Loved this book.....Made me laugh & cry. Also learned a lot about Guernsey during the German Occupation. This book would be great for bookclub discussion.
Nicola on
I love nothing more than picking up a book and knowing from the first few pages that I don't want to put it down until it's finished. This was one of those books. I loved reading it and imagining life in those times.
I laughed out loud, I cried and I wished, along with the members of the Society...
I found the account of the events to be fascinating and I loved the power of reading that became something so very important for each member in very different ways.
I own this book and have purchased other copies as gifts for friends, pick it up - you'll struggle to put it down :)
Kerren on
I loved this book. When I first received it (as a gift), I was not keen on the idea of a story made up of letters but thought I'd give it a go. I'm really glad I did. Other reviewers have outlined the story. I just want to add that it is the kind of book that leaves you with a lovely warm feeling.
Erin on
I recently finished reading this book, after seeing it reviewed online quite a bit. I liked the idea of it being entirely based on letters, and that it was a book lovers book being about a Literary Society. I also liked the title.

The story begins in London after the war and is about an writer, Juliet Ashton who is trying to come up with an idea for her next project. She is short on ideas, but around the same time starts to correspond quite by accident with some residents of the English channel Island of Guernsey. Their correspondence forms the plot of the book, and through it we learn about the little known German occupation of these British territories for 5 years during WW2. We learn about the struggles and horrors of the occupation but also the friendships and endurance of the Islanders during those years.

Eventually Juliet Ashton goes to Guernsey to meet these Islanders whose stories she becomes fascinated with as they are revealed through their letters. Her visit to Guernsey changes her life.

A surprisingly light story given the subject, there is plenty of humour, quirky characters, and even love. I really enjoyed this book.
melissa on
This book is captivating, a unique novel written in letters, set shortly after World War II, it explores the many ways people come to terms with their experiences of the war, and pick up the pieces of their lives, and love again. As a self-confessed bookworm, I loved the way the characters were so passionate about the power of reading, and found the letters easy to slide through, even as they took the time to create perfectly-formed characters, with such distinctive voices. Would recommend probably for females, although most men would find nothing objectionable, probably all ages from high school up.

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