The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer – Book Review

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rating: 4/5
First Release: October 2008
Genre: Historical Fiction

Literary Awards 

Times Paperback of the Year
Indies Choice Book Award for Best Indie Buzz Book (Fiction) (2009) 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is the 40th book for my Goodreads Challenge of reading 50 books in 2012. Guess I underestimated the time consumed in carrying a baby, nurturing her into a mischevious 10 month old girl and balancing life with my full time IT job.  And then I should also blame it on the kind of books that I got hold to read… So finally blaming part is over :)

I saw some good reviews about this book and the title did intrigue me a bit. Doesn’t the cover make you curious? The only problem was that I didn’t take this book seriously due to the cuteness of the cover.  

I should also tell you that Mary Ann Shaffer died before she could complete the book and her niece Annie Barrows finished it.  Isn’t it sad that so many awards came to her after her death? The best thing was that I read the whole thing imagining the authoress to be someone younger like Juliet Ashton herself and I was totally surprised when I learned that the author did live through the WWII.


After the WWII, Juliet Ashton a newspaper columnist is desperately trying to find a good subject for her next book when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams a resident of Guernsey, Channel Islands. He was a fan of Charles Lamb and mentioned being a member of the The Guernsey Literary Society. This made Juliet curious about the German Occupation of the Channel Islands and the literary society and thus started a string of letters send to-and-forth; which eventually included many members of the society who are Guernsey residents. Finally Juliet decides that her new book should tell the story of Elizabeth McKenna, a non-Islander who was captured by Germans and sent to concentration camp.

The book is fully organized in a series of letters send between the various characters, but mostly with Juliet and other residents of Guernsey. Her close friend Sophie, and her brother Sidney who is also Juliet’s editor are the other notable characters in the story.  Fyi – this kind of novel is called an epistolary novel.


I found this book very charming and interesting. There were lot of stories which made me feel miserable thinking about the German Occupation. You could blame the author of just whizzing through all those hardships, but I find the second person narration of those stuffs were more than enough to make me feel miserable.

This book is regarded as a historical fiction. Though this is not totally true, but it belongs to that category considering that it dealt with life after the WWII.

Verdict: A charming book indeed….Pick this up if you are interested in country life and WWII.

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