Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

on January 8, 2009

A short while back, I had some “Border’s Bucks” to use, so I treated myself to a new book. I chose “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows as I had heard good things about it.

Then it sat next to my bed for two weeks.

For some strange reason, I just couldn’t start this book. And then I realized: trite as it may seem, the title was turning me off. What was the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? And for that matter, what was potato peel pie? It sounded awful. However, I could see the book was a series of letters and written communication, so I wrapped my mind around that, and dug in.

In this story, our main character, Juliet, is a writer living in London at the end of WWII. She receives correspondence from a gentleman who lives in Guernsey in the Channel Islands, learns of his “book group” there and their exploits during the German occupation, and is pulled into their lives. Just as Juliet is drawn in, so was I. Once I started this book and got through the first 30 or 40 pages I was hooked. I loved these characters and I loved this story – so much so, that I didn’t want it to end. If I could pick one word to describe this book, it would be “charming”.

Now, gentle reader, I must confess that I do love historical fiction, so this book was typical of the things I enjoy reading. However, I think this story does great credit to once again remind us of the fortitude and strength of the generation who survived WWII with all its indecencies. This is a story about ordinary people, who seem extraordinary by their virtue.

This is Mary Ann Shaffer’s first novel, and sadly it will be her only one as she has passed away. Anne Barrows, her niece, helped with co-authoring the book after Mary Ann had sold the manuscript, but became ill.

I gave this book my coveted “5 Stars” – “I loved it so much, I need to own it!”


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