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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  377,005 Ratings  ·  37,054 Reviews
“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native o ...more
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published July 29th 2008 by The Dial Press
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Katherine My bookshelves are colour coded by their spines, Allie, so I'm somewhat biased when I say, "NO! Organizing your books however you want is not bad, in…moreMy bookshelves are colour coded by their spines, Allie, so I'm somewhat biased when I say, "NO! Organizing your books however you want is not bad, in fact, it's wonderful!" To each their own, in my opinion. A haphazard collection of books is in no way superior to a collection organized along some theme. (less)
Meg You might like the Cecilia and Kate series by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede. If I recall correctly, it's two women in the Victorian era who…moreYou might like the Cecilia and Kate series by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede. If I recall correctly, it's two women in the Victorian era who get tangled up in magical derring-do.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Linda Sexauer
Jul 29, 2008 Linda Sexauer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008
Several years ago, I worked at an art gallery here in Anchorage. Though I loved the art, I wasn’t much good at selling it. More often than not, I just chatted up the customers, who were from all over the world.

One night, four elderly people wandered in. They told me they were from a tiny island off the coast of southern England called “Guernsey”. I’d never heard of it, so they proudly explained it was the only part of British soil that had been occupied by the Nazis during World War II. The isla
...more
Megha
Apr 09, 2009 Megha rated it did not like it
Recommended to Megha by: Wanda

Dear Mary Ann Shaffer,

I recently read your book 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'. It brought a few questions to my mind.
Juliet writes in one of her letters:
"Dear Sidney,
What an inspired present you sent kit - red satin tap shoes covered with sequins"

Didn't Sidney know what present he had sent?
If you had to resort to sentences like these to speak what you wanted to, didn't you realize that the letter format and your writing didn't go well together?

Learning from your bad exam
...more
Emma  Kaufmann
Sep 08, 2008 Emma Kaufmann rated it did not like it
Once again I find myself reading ten pages of a book which is meant to be 'great' and wondering why it is just rubbish. I was meant to read this for a book club but it was about as palatable as a potato peel pie so I spat it out uneaten.

Now, I'm sure there are American authors who can write in an authentic British voice (no one springs to mind, and Elizabeth George is terrible at it but at least her plot is not clunky) but Mary Ann Shaffer isn't one of them.

This book has an epistolary plot that
...more
Beth F.
Nov 26, 2008 Beth F. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: almost anyone - I covered the specifics in my review
Gush, gush, gush, gush, gush, gush, gush!!! GUSH!!!!! So yes, clearly I loved this book.

I think the only person I wouldn’t recommend this book to is one of those people who only read meaty tomes that might give regular people a brain embolism while they’re trying to make sense of the 17 different layers of subconscious meaning. I’d also hesitate from recommending this book to most men. However, if you have the ability to find joy and delight in the simple pleasures of a feel-good book, you too m
...more
Cayenne
Jul 27, 2011 Cayenne rated it it was amazing
This was one of the lovliest books I have ever read. I have read many books and seen many movies about World War II, but this one was the best. It was so real. I felt like I knew the characters and I wanted to run over to Guernsey to meet them in person. The stories about their experiences were so touching, not just because they were hard, but because the people were so brave. Horrible things happened to them, but I didn't feel traumatized reading about them. I felt uplifted at their endurance a ...more
Alisa
Dec 03, 2013 Alisa rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I'm in favor of:

-pig farmers as romantic leads
-parrots named Zenobia who eat cuckoo clocks
-women who do the asking

I'm not in favor of:

-strong silent types as romantic leads
-adorable children
-parrots getting more page time than goats
Ruth
Nov 17, 2008 Ruth rated it it was ok
I won an ARC of this book either from the NYer or from the publisher. I forget which, as it's been sitting around for a while.

This epistolary novel is something I should have loved. I generally like novels in letters, it’s almost like peering into lighted windows at night as you pass, sewing the bits of life seen there into a coherent whole.

It’s fun, this book, in its witty comments, sort of the way I wish I could talk all the time. Yet, about halfway through it began to pale. Everybody in the b
...more
Tatiana
Jan 14, 2011 Tatiana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
The words that immediately come to mind when I think of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society are nice, cute and, unfortunately, hokey(ish).

I certainly understand its popularity (#4 most popular book of 2007 on Goodreads!). There is a distinct air of wholesomeness, inoffensiveness about it, plus it is occasionally funny (in a cute, inoffensive way), with a bit of tragic war business thrown in.

But it got tiring for me very quickly. From the moment the main character, Juliet, a young
...more
La Petite Américaine
Dec 09, 2008 La Petite Américaine rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Bored Housewives
Shelves: sucked, rants
This book is boring, predictable, and pointless. Maybe the kind of thing that charms the sentimental. It's a series of letters in post WWII England between an author facing writers block and an island community who formed a book club during the German occupation. Eventually we meet the characters (who, oddly, have the same voice as the author in their letters) who come to describe one saintly, cliche, full of b.s. woman who held them all together during the occupation, while she manages to slap ...more
Kelly
Dec 24, 2008 Kelly rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura
Sep 25, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Jeslyn Rumbold
A friend gave this to me with the recommendation, “You’ll LOVE this – it sounds like you!” I assume she meant because the main character is a witty book lover, not because she’s a critical spinster. I don’t dare ask.

At any rate, this is easily one of the most charming books I’ve read in a while. Our heroine, Juliet, spent the war writing light pieces for a women’s magazine, and now she yearns for more substantial material. When she receives a letter from a Guernsey man who has in his possession
...more
Amy
Dec 27, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing
I don't do this often, but I am commanding my fellow Good Read Sisters to stop what they are doing, order a pizza for the family and hide yourselves away with this book! You all deserve a treat and if I could I would come run your homes while you read - this book is that good. It's unique - all letters - but please don't be put off by that. On the contrary, Shaffer is able to add an edge of humor with this device...and is she also paying homage to Anne Bronte and the Tenant...? [if you read it y ...more
Will Byrnes
Nov 05, 2014 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it
The GL&PPPS tells of Nazi occupation of this Channel Island during WW II. The story is told via a series of letters exchanged between residents of the island and a writer attempting to learn about their experiences. We are offered a wide range of characters, some warm and charming, some extremist buffoons, some heroic, some not so heroic. The core of the story is Elizabeth, a particularly brave and wonderful individual. She is the emotional heart of the tale, as the many characters all have ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Sep 17, 2009 Shannon (Giraffe Days) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shannon (Giraffe Days) by: lots of friends on GR
The Second World War has ended and people across the world are picking up the pieces. It's 1946, January, and Juliet Ashton is on a book tour around England for her recently published collection of humorous columns that had been so popular during the war, Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War. She's not used to being a success and she does tend to throw things at people, but on the upside a very wealthy and attractive man keeps sending her flowers.

A surprise letter from a complete stranger from one of th
...more
☯Cathrine
Dec 20, 2015 ☯Cathrine rated it really liked it
4.25

A group of connected stories told via letters about "how [people] held on hard to [their] kindness and [their] courage."

Thirty-five of my GR friends have read this book, thirty-two of their ratings were 4 or 5 stars. I read all of their reviews but will not Like them for fear of causing a crash on the GR Home notification feed. Obviously a crowd favorite! It won several awards. So what can I add. It was delightful and charming, just wonderful. What a treat. A big thanks to those of you who r
...more
Chrissie
Wonderful book! Both light and amusing and serious, gripping and informative. This is a must-read for everyone; one of those books that is just so much fun to read.
Srividya
To,
The Art of Letter Writing,
Current Status: Lost
Address: Unknown

Dearest Friend,
I am sure you must be really surprised to receive this message from me after such a long time. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me for this long absence and absolute neglect or will any reason I give you for this absence be taken as naught but excuses? I have failed and I accept that but you should know that you were never forgotten. In fact, many a times, I thought of writing to you, just like in the old day
...more
Kim

Until I read this novel, my knowledge of the Channel Islands was limited to the breeds of dairy cattle which take their name from the Bailiwicks of Jersey and of Guernsey, the fact that the Islands are a tax haven and have a flower growing industry and my memories of the 1980s television series Bergerac. Thanks to the book, I now know more. In particular, I know that the Channel Islands were occupied by Germany during World War II. Given the geographical location of the Channel Islands, this doe
...more
Laura
Oct 07, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Laura by: Chicks on Lit group read
Shelves: owned, favorites, lent-out
I just can't say enough about this book. I don't usually like WWII fiction, but this book is making me re-think that. A book for book-lovers, a book for someone who has always wanted to write a book, a book for lovers, for friends, for the historical fiction lover, a book of connection, a book of everything. Just everything. Read this book. You won't be sorry.
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Mar 14, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Book Club
I came so close to giving this book a pass. I dislike short stories, this one looked even worse in that the entire book is written as a series of letters, Yuk! Dead wrong...20 pages in I got used to the format & was completely hooked. It just sweeps you along in a gentle tale of how folks on a small island bonded together to survive the absolutely harrowing German occupation during WW2. Hard-hitting subject? You bet; but it’s laugh out loud funny with dialog as clever as any I’ve read since ...more
PattyMacDotComma
5
I absolutely loved this. I think I’ve avoided it because of the cutesy title, but I’m glad I finally caved.

It’s a delightful story written in an exchange of letters between newspaper columnist Juliet and some residents of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, an island in the English Channel that is closer to France than Great Britain. They are an eccentric lot, to say the least.

During WW2, Juliet wrote a light-hearted newspaper column to keep up British spirits. Meanwhile, during WW2, the islanders were
...more
Katie
May 28, 2009 Katie rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Juliet
Jul 09, 2010 Juliet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love being caught up in a novel and drawn right into its world. It happens fairly rarely these days but with this book I was quickly captured (I haven't done any writing today as a result!)

Set in 1946 in London and on the Channel Island of Guernsey, which was occupied by the Germans in World War II, the book is constructed entirely of letters, and develops the story of Juliet Ashton, a writer saddened and disillusioned by the war (during which she wrote humorous newspaper columns to keep reade
...more
Kathryn
Oct 28, 2008 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathryn by: read an article about it in the Mill Valley Times
A sweet, charming and beautiful story about friendship, humanity, heart-full-ness and courage. And I have such a special place in my heart for letters-between-friends; and have made some good friends through letter-writing, so the premise of the story is just too-too perfect! The historical aspect was also very interesting; the island of Guernsey was the only place on British soil occupied by the Germans during WWII. Mercifully (to me, anyway) only a few of the letters dealt with some of the mor ...more
Mona
Jan 30, 2016 Mona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review of "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"

Book Lovers on a Bucolic Island



This novel has some things in common with Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

(Here's my review of that book: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... )

It's a sweet story about eccentric and loveable book lovers on a pretty, isolated island where time has stopped and people are nicer, more civilized, and more neighborly than they are in today's world. It's also about ordinary people who fall
...more
Mark
Feb 22, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really clever gradual unfolding of friendship and the suffering undergone by the captive population of Guernsey during the occupation of the Third Reich during the early 1940's. Its all recounted by letters and as a result of this I have seen it compared favourably and unfavourably to ' 84 Charing Cross Road ' and its letter technique but this is surely an unfair comparison as the latter is not a novel recounting an imagined story and imagined love and friendship which can always have ...more
Annalisa
May 11, 2009 Annalisa rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book more. It's set in post-Nazi-occupation and everyone seems to love it so it seemed a sure thing to me. It started off very promising with fun charming characters and enticing writing. I just loved Juliet's passionate fervor for life and found myself often smiling at her antics. And I loved Adelaide Addison's uppity nose in everything. I was sure I was going to love this.

But then Juliet set off the Guernsey to meet a whole society of quirky individuals who at firs
...more
Barbara
Jan 28, 2011 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Maria
Recommended to Barbara by: Elizabeth, Susan & Rose
Shelves: holocaust-ww-2
Initially I hesitated whether to read this book. Everyone knows that you should not judge a book by its cover, but that warning should also include "or its title". As I started this work, I viewed the format, correspondence, with suspicion. It did not take much time for me to become spellbound by the unwinding story contained in these wonderful letters!

Rather than dwell on recounting this story, it would be important to state that the authors have adeptly and lovingly developed their characters.
...more
Prashant
Mar 15, 2012 Prashant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ABOUT ME AND THE BOOK


I started this book about 3 months back and just couldn’t feel the compulsion to read it since. It remained in my to-read shelf for too long and I started it again just to clear it from my shelf.

So, how can I eventually love a book so much to give a 5-star rating which I very brutally abandoned after reading the first 30 or so pages.

Well, for starters let me confess that the name of the book is very confusing and it doesn’t give anything away about the story or even the gen
...more
Michael
Overall, the story of how the community on the channel island Guernsey copes with five years of German occupation during World War 2 was often uplifting and charming and sometimes quite moving. But it was too fluffy in its sentimentality in many places, and its focus kept changing, with the effect of losing its integration. The true theme was how a London journalist Juliet becomes intrigued with residents of the island from correspondence with them in 1946, and upon visiting there falls in love ...more
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If I loved… what should I read next? 5 59 12 hours, 8 min ago  
Nerds for Words: Just for starters... 4 8 Mar 27, 2016 03:02PM  
Nerds for Words: Favorite quotes 1 3 Mar 08, 2016 07:18PM  
Around the Year i...: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer 11 49 Feb 07, 2016 07:09AM  
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia de Luce, #2)
  • Cutting for Stone
  • These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901
  • Remarkable Creatures
  • A Guide to the Birds of East Africa
  • The Forgotten Garden
  • Crow Lake
  • When We Meet Again (Children of the Promise, #4)
  • 84, Charing Cross Road
  • The FitzOsbornes at War (The Montmaray Journals, #3)
  • Year of Wonders
  • The Last Great Dance on Earth (Josephine Bonaparte, #3)
  • I'll Be Seeing You
  • Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society
  • My Name is Mary Sutter
  • Prayers for Sale
  • Beneath a Marble Sky
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Mary Ann Shaffer worked as an editor, a librarian, and in bookshops. Her life-long dream was to someday write her own book and publish it. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel. Unfortunately, she became very ill with cancer and so she asked her niece, Annie Barrows, the author of the children’s series Ivy and Bean, as well as The Magic Half, to help her finish the ...more
More about Mary Ann Shaffer...

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“I don't want to be married just to be married. 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.” 1688 likes
“That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive - all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.” 1141 likes
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