Cheri's Reviews > The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
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it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction, world-war-ll-era, channel-islands, 2018, library-book

4.5 Stars

”We'll meet again
Don't know where
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
'Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away”

-- We’ll Meet Again,Vera Lynn / Frank Sinatra, Songwriters: Hughie Charles / Ross Parker

Published posthumously in August of 2008, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society recalls the occupation of the Western European Channel Islands during WWII through letters and telegrams, which sounds very basic and to the point, and leaves out all the charm and emotions involved. Relaying the thoughts of a host of those who lived on these islands during the days of occupation, the struggles to survive, this is - at its heart - filled with a charm that borders on quirky, but with a charm that brings the 1940s era to life. And yes, the occupation creates much hardship, and life is not always charming, but it never veers so far or so long, but serves more as a shadow that fades in the light from these characters.

”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.”

I loved the back and forth, the epistolary nature of this novel, with the slow revealing of secrets, the day in and day out of life on these islands, the nature of busybodies to inject themselves to make sure the “truth” is heard, all of the life stories, and the love of literature, itself.

This story more or less begins with a letter sent from Dawsey Adams, in Guernsey, to Juliet, in London. He has a book that once belonged to her, her name and address written on the inside cover, and is hoping she can help him locate a bookshop in London that might have more by this author, Charles Lamb.

”The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society came into being because of a roast pig we had to keep secret from the German soldiers, so I feel a kinship to Mr. Lamb.”

In her response to him, she writes:

”Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.”

Which is exactly how I felt when I was reading this - it had found me at a perfect time.

”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 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.”

And that’s what this was for me. Sheer enjoyment.


Many thanks to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book!
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Reading Progress

August 13, 2018 – Shelved
August 28, 2018 – Started Reading
August 28, 2018 –
August 29, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-38 of 38 (38 new)

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Lindsay - Traveling Sister Hope you are loving this Cheri!

Cheri I hardly had any reading time today, Lindsay, I was hoping to get to the halfway point, but I was really enjoying this while I had the little time I did to read! I have a feeling this one is going to be one I love!

Lindsay - Traveling Sister I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying it Cheri! It sounds wonderful! I look forward to your review!! 😊

Cheri Thank you, Lindsay! I assumed everyone but me had read this already!

message 5: by Ann (new)

Ann L. The movie is so good! I really enjoyed it.

Cheri Ann, I'm going to wait until at least tonight before I watch the movie, but I might wait a bit longer... just loved the book so much I want to hold onto it a bit longer, but I am so glad to know the movie is good, too!

Antoinette Excellent review, Cheri! I loved this book as well. I read it in 2008, so I loved the movie cause I couldn’t remember it well enough to compare. Look forward to hear what you think about it.

Cheri Thank you, Antoinette, I'm so glad to hear that you loved the movie, and also loved the book! This was such a joy to read!

message 9: by Ann (new)

Ann L. Cheri wrote: "Ann, I'm going to wait until at least tonight before I watch the movie, but I might wait a bit longer... just loved the book so much I want to hold onto it a bit longer, but I am so glad to know th..." Yes, I recommend it! (when you're ready).

Tammy Terrific review, Cheri! I, too, loved this. I found the movie to be enjoyable but, as is usually the case, no where near as an engaging as the book

Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader Beautiful review, Cheri! It has me wanting to give this book another chance- I know I should. Years ago, I picked it up, and it did not grab me.

Cheri Tammy, I was really surprised by this one, I hadn't expected to be so charmed into this story, I really didn't want to put it down. I expect I'll watch the movie sometime soon, but am not in a rush to do so, I enjoyed the book too much!

message 13: by Kaceey (new)

Kaceey Wonderful review Cheri!

message 14: by Rae (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rae Great review, Cheri! I enjoyed this one too. "Charmed" by the story is the perfect way to describe this one.

Cheri Thanks so much, Jennifer, years ago I wasn't remotely interested in reading this, it sounded like it would be too "women's fictiony," so I am not even sure if I read any reviews of it. But, I loved it! I wouldn't discourage you from giving it another try, since I think you would enjoy this one if you were to give it another chance!

Cheri Thank you, Kaceey! I thought I was the only one who had never read this!

Cheri Thank you so much, Rae! It was such a wonderfully told story!

message 18: by Robert (new)

Robert Blumenthal I haven't read the book, but I have heard very good things about it. I did catch the Netflix movie (with a slew of Downton Abbey alums) and enjoyed it immensely.

Cheri The fact that you included the mention of the movie in the same sentence as Downton Abbey makes me want to watch it that much sooner! Thank you, Robert!

message 20: by Ilse (new) - added it

Ilse Lovely review, Cheri! Which is the book by Charles Lamb that sets off the letter exchanging?

Cheri Thank you, Ilse, the book that he (Dawsey Adams) has in his possession is her copy of Lamb's "Selected Essays of Elia," what he is searching for is "more of" Lamb's writings, and also to see if anyone had ever written his life story (and if, so, etc.). He closes the note by saying "I am sorry to bother you, but I would be sorrier still not to know about him, as his writings have made me his friend."

message 22: by Ilse (new) - added it

Ilse How interesting, thank you for elucidating, Cheri! Long ago I read his 'Tales from Shakespeare' he wrote together with his sister Mary for children, this epistolary novel with a book of him as a premise sounds quite appealing to me :-).

message 23: by Melissa (new) - added it

Melissa Crytzer Fry I STILL haven't read this! We almost picked it for book club YEARS ago. Glad to see its revival with the movie coming out. Lovely review, Cheri.

Angela M Fabulous review , Cheri! I loved this book . Enjoyed the movie, zoo.

message 25: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen Great review, Cheri! Glad you enjoyed it too :)

Cheri Ilse, I haven't read anything by him - yet - but admit to being more than a little curious, even more so now that I know you have read him.

Cheri Thanks so much, Melissa, this was a sweet, fun read for me, I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would!

Cheri Thanks so much, Angela, I figured almost everyone had read this one but me! Glad to know you enjoyed the movie, too!

Cheri Thank you, Jen! I don't know why I waited so long!

message 30: by Candi (new) - added it

Candi A beautiful review, Cheri! I hope I am not too far behind you on reading this one. It sounds like my cup of tea and has been on my list for a long time :)

Norma * Traveling Sister ~ Semi-hiatus for now until I fully get my reading/reviewing hat on! 😂 I’m almost there! 💕 Oh I have to read this one and thank you so much for your wonderful review! I’m going to pull it out of my bookshelf right now! ☺️

Cheri Thank you Candi, this reminded me a bit of visiting my favourite aunt, just the conversational tone of it being told all through these letters that were just lovely. I think you should reward yourself with this simply charming read!

Cheri Norma, that's wonderful that you already have this one on your bookshelf, I think you will love this!

message 34: by Jaline (new) - added it

Jaline Wonderful review, Cheri! I have this one and need to bump it up on my reading list!

Amanda Fabulous review, Cheri! Beautiful story and educated me about the Channel Islands during the War. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the epistolary style at first, but it really worked for slowly revealing everyone’s story and secrets.

Arwen ❤️

message 37: by Kimber (new)

Kimber Silver Such a delightful review, Cheri! This one has been on my radar for a while. I'm glad you loved this! :-)

Glenn Sumi Cheri: Lovely review! Those really are beautiful passages you've quoted, and they resonated with me. Thank you for singling them out!

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