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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  421,730 Ratings  ·  39,714 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, 277 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)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Linda Sexauer
Jul 21, 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
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Megha
Mar 08, 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
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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
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Beth F.
Oct 06, 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 30, 2008 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
Feb 17, 2009 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
Aug 19, 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
Aug 19, 2010 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
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La Petite Américaine
Sep 28, 2008 La Petite Américaine rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Bored Housewives
Shelves: sucked, rants
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
Kelly
Dec 22, 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.
Will Byrnes
May 17, 2009 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
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
Dem
May 24, 2011 Dem rated it it was amazing
Have to admit when this book was recommended to me I was a little worried as for one I found the title strange and two I did not find the blurb very enticing. I am not going to try and sumarize the story as I feel I could not do it justice. I found this novel wounderful and I was lucky to be able to curl up on my couch while the wind and rain howled outside(end of May!!) and finish the last 150 pages of this book and enjoy it I did. The story of the occupation of Guernsey is facinating and reall ...more
Ij
This book is a fictional collection of letters, telegrams, and notes centered on an author, Juliet Ashton, who connects with the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Society). The letters are primarily about residences of Guernsey during the occupation by the Germany Army, during WWII.

The Society came about due to friends being caught out, by the Army, after curfew. These friends had just enjoyed a meal of roasted pig, which was a novelty after the occupation. Not wanting to give the r
...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
May 20, 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
Jean
Apr 11, 2013 Jean rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-authors-q-t
Don't let the title put you off. Or the fact that it has two authors (the second recruited apparently when the first, her aunt, sadly became too ill to complete it.) Or the fact that it is a series of letters, or what literary types call an "epistolary novel". Or the whispering on the grapevine that it's a cosy piece, mostly read by women. All these tended to make me hesitate. But I'm so glad I persevered.

The book has a post-war setting, but much of the action refers to the Nazi Occupation of Gu
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Cathrine ☯️
May 30, 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
...more
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Margitte
The more I read about the Second World War, the more I am so thankful that it was over and can only hope and pray it will never be repeated anywhere ever again on that scale! I never liked watching war movies, neither reading the graphic detail, still don't, since the cruelty, suffering, hardships and horror are way too much to handle for me personally. So many millions of books were written about it that the actual message gets lost in the apathy resulting from too much information over a too l ...more
PattyMacDotComma
Oct 21, 2015 PattyMacDotComma rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of 84, Charing Cross Road
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 wer
...more
Cait • A Page with a View
Dec 26, 2016 Cait • A Page with a View rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
3.5 stars. It's all very wholesome and heartwarming, but also a bit dull since every character's letters have the SAME tone. They easily could have been more developed & complex people.

The idea of the whole story being told through letters and telegraphs is fun. And I love anything British. So I did enjoy this book, but still feel like it's a bit overhyped.
W Perry
Apr 13, 2017 W Perry rated it liked it
Shelves: revring
My line of read, but unreviewed, books is now about as long as the English Channel is wide, I say tongue-in-cheek. I think I'll not move this relatively short epistolary novel up in line. Instead, I'll simply say:

I enjoyed this novel, though not as much as expectations allowed. I found it clever, yet facile and somewhat cloying.
Juliet
Jul 06, 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
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jul 20, 2012 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
Mona
Jan 31, 2015 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
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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.” 1802 likes
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