The Five-Eyed Bookworm

Eclectic Reader. Lover of beautiful book covers.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows


Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: Guernsey (United Kingdom)
Book design by Virginia Norey •  Jacket design by Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich
Publisher: Dial Press (2008)

blurb title readingchal

Let’s see now… Where do I start? How can my lack of eloquence give justice to such a GREAT book?  Well, maybe I’d start off with what I wrote in my notebook right after finishing it.

February 3, 2014, 9:15 AM

I’ll be honest with you, my friend (Yes I “talk” to my notebook and gave it a name – Imaginative, I know)… I have never hugged a book before. Until now. I just finished reading “TGLPPS”  and I loved it so much – the story, the characters… everything! Oh the characters! I loved every single one of them, even Adelaide. I was on the sofa when I turned the last page and when I closed the book, I hugged it like a long lost friend. I smiled to myself and thought how lucky I was to read such a book. Isola was my favorite! She’s a darling- such a good heart! I love her parrot and her ability to read head bumps. I loved her pseudo-detective work.

I wanted to sail to St. Peter’s Port to shake all the characters’ hands, possibly give my share of hugs and flowers, and even try their potato peel pie. How could the characters be so real in my head? I felt that I knew these people. How can such warmth, joy, love and belonging ooze out from a book?

I laughed too! Oh boy, you should have seen me laugh! Let me tell you, if I will recommend this to anyone, I will tell them to avoid public places to save them from stares.

So there you have it. I think that pretty sums up how much I loved this book. It really was a delight to read. But let me explain further.

I wasn’t expecting to really like this book. I thought it would be a light read that will make me smile once in a while, but I was wrong. I wasn’t blown away by the first few pages, but once the letters came pouring out, I knew I was holding a special book in my hand. I laughed and cried; anticipating what’s going to happen to every single character. As I proceeded, I felt that I now understand why people have been gushing about it. I am so glad that I included this in my TBR Pile Challenge so I did not have to wait much longer to read it (it’s been in my shelf for quite a while now).

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is playful and could be considered a feel-good book, but it also explores the consequences of war and how people – especially innocent civilians – struggle with their lives when it happens. As an epistolary novel, the stories and characters present themselves in letters wrapped up in a combination of humor, seriousness and poignancy.  There were a lot of heartwarming and tender moments that I think the authors have done well to portray. It’s a brilliantly layered story, with vibrant characters that endear to you.  The authors created a great sense of what it was like to be in that moment and place, while interlacing it with the stories of these brilliant characters. I smiled and laughed when the characters shared their opinions about books. I think I can go on and on, but I would rather you read it for your own pleasure and delight in the experience. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is about the most captivating book I have read for quite a while. It was truly a delight to read and it is my sincerest hope that you will enjoy it as well.

  • I found this site incredibly helpful in getting so much more from the book. If you plan to read this with a book club, it’s a wonderful resource. If you’re interested to know about the books mentioned in the book, you can check it out there. And there’s an actual recipe for a potato peel pie there! Don’t forget to read the warning!
  • Ever wanted to know more about Guernsey? Here’s a page dedicated to its history and some trivia about the place that you might want to check out.
  • Mary Ann Shaffer wrote The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society twenty years after her visit to Guernsey. How did she end up in Guernsey? She was supposed to write Kathleen Scott’s biography but was disappointed that Kathleen Scott’s personal papers were unusable. To cope with her discouragement she visited Guernsey in the Channel Islands for the rest of her stay in England. (Source)
  • Annie Barrows is best known for her Ivy and Bean series of children’s books.
  • Annie Barrows is listed as co-author of this book after she finished the book for her aunt, Mary Ann Shaffer. Mary Ann Shaffer passed away in February 16, 2008 before the book was published.

(Notable quotes coming soon!)

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Author: 5eyedbookworm

Eclectic reader. Lover of beautiful book covers and stories of lasting interest.

16 thoughts on “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

  1. I really should be commenting on your review. But have you changed your look? Where is the bit about aliens? Didn’t you have a secondary line or something?


  2. I loved this one too! I have a soft spot for books in letter form. I read it when I was feeling sick and it was the perfect distraction


  3. Great review! I love the title and now that I know how much you love the book I’ll definitely add it to my wishlist.


  4. This is one of those books I should have read a long time ago, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it as well as the fact that I live in Jersey and it is set on one of our sister Islands. This was a lovely review to read!


  5. Thanks for your wonderful review. This book sounds wonderful and I’ve added it to mt to read list.


  6. I loved the setting of this book. Another good one set in the channel islands is The Book of Lies but i can’t remember the author.


  7. I think you described my reaction as well. It’s probably been 4-5 years since I read it and I still smile when I think about it!


  8. Pingback: Friday Finds – 11/04/14 | Im Lesefieber!

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