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Book Review:The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a novel written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It is written is epistolary style i.e. in the form of letters from one character to other.

When the manuscript was accepted for publishing in 2006, the book's editor requested some changes which required substantial rewriting. At that time, Shaffer's health was deteriorating dramatically and so she asked her niece Annie Barrows to do the rewriting. Barrows who was already an established children's author, did so and is credited as the co-author of the book. Shaffer passed away in 2008 leaving this brilliant novel behind.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows



Page Count



Historical Fiction


Dial Press

Year of Publication



The book is set in 1946. It's just after World War II and people are trying to move on from the tragedy of war. Juliet Ashton, a young author from London receives a letter from Dawsey Adams who lives on the island of Guernsey. Dawsey has got hold of a used book which once belonged to Juliet and has her name and address on it. Dawsey writes to her telling how much he enjoyed the book and how reading helped the residents of Guernsey to cope with the times during German Occupation of their island. Soon Juliet is corresponding regularly with Dawsey and other Guernsey residents who all had been a part of the literary society which was formed as an excuse to explain a broken curfew. Eventually Juliet goes to Guernsey to meet her new friends.

That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to 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.

— Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

My Review

A beautiful, heart-warming book! The whole book is written in the form of letters. I'd never read a book in epistolary form before. The book is written about war and how it affected the lives of the residents of Guernsey. There are stories of atrocities and horrors of war which are heartbreaking. And then there are the stories of tremendous courage even in the wake of war. There are stories of survival amidst conflict. The letters will make you laugh, they will make you cry.The hardships, the friendships and the little acts of heroism will warm your heart.

The characters are delightful. It was fun getting acquainted with the different characters, their personalities, how they dealt with occupation and how their lives changed after the war. The book deals with a serious subject and yet maintains a lightness in tone. The story deals with World War II but the characters aren't full of despair because they have each other to hold on to and they have their shared love of books and reading.

It's a beautifully written book that has emotions, drama, tragedy and romance. Above all, it's a book about 'reading'. You just can't help falling in love with the passionate readers of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. I highly recommend this beautiful book which highlights the fact that even in the bleakest moments, books have the magical power to heal and bring people together.

My Rating: 5/5

I love seeing the bookshops and meeting the booksellers-- booksellers really are a special breed. No one in their right mind would take up clerking in a bookstore for the salary, and no one in his right mind would want to own one-- the margin of profit is too small. So, it has to be a love of readers and reading that makes them do it-- along with first dibs on the new books.

— Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


About the Author

Mary Ann Shaffer (December 13, 1934 – February 16, 2008) was an American writer, editor and librarian. She is noted for the bestseller 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' which was published posthumously. Her niece Annie Barrows helped in rewriting parts of the book and thus is credited as co-author of the book.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Film)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a 2018 film based on the 2008 novel of the same name. This historical-romantic drama stars Lily James and Michiel Huisman in the key roles. The film has garnered positive reviews from the critics.

The film shows beautiful landscapes which you will fall in love with. Lily James is perfect as Juliet Ashton and Michiel Huisman looks every bit of the dreamy Dawsey Adams. On the whole, it's an enjoyable film.

But if you have read the book, then you will keep comparing. The film digresses a lot from the book. I found the book more delightful than the film.

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY - Official Trailer - Starring Lily James

© 2018 Shaloo Walia

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Shaloo Walia (author) from India on December 06, 2018:

@Ann Don't procrastinate any further. This is a book that you will definitely love!

Ann Carr from SW England on December 06, 2018:

I keep meaning to read this book. It was one of my book club's but before I joined so I would like to 'catch up' with the other members. You've inspired me to make a bigger effort to get a copy!

I'm also a firm believer in reading a book before seeing any film based on it. That way, you have your own interpretation before seeing another.


Shaloo Walia (author) from India on November 10, 2018:

@Lawerence The German doctor's story is in the book. The German doctor and Elizabeth's love story touches the heart. Both the characters are so endearing because they keep humanity above everything else.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on November 10, 2018:


I didn't read the book, but we went to see the movie and although I not one for the 'Romantic' type of movies this movie was great.

I'm not sure if the story of the German Doctor is in the book, but it's things like that which really made the movie 'come alive' with a real story.

One thing I always find fun is whenever I've watched a movie first (or read the book first) I always find myself thinking through "How would I deal with that?" and it can be really interesting.

Our interpretation of a thing will never be the same as the next person.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on October 17, 2018:

I agree, Manatita! I always find books to better than the movie adaptations. And that's why I prefer to read the book first before watching the movie.

manatita44 from london on October 17, 2018:

Thanks Shaloo.

I will start at the end. I too, find that films digress from their books, probably for smart profit reasons. I tend to love the books more. Papillon is a good example and I suppose yours too.

Seems like the writer was a remarkable woman, and her niece an established writer. Good choice! The former must be dancing in heaven.

Enjoyed the way you put same together and it was a very good read. Thanks a lot!

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on October 17, 2018:

@Dora I am sure you will like it!

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on October 17, 2018:

Yes, Jodah! It's one of those books which will make you fall in love with reading.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 17, 2018:

This sounds like a delightful book, Shaloo. I was intrigued by the name of it, and your review certainly makes me want to read it.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 16, 2018:

Thanks for the review. I also think it would be interesting to read a book written in that format, and I'm interested in books written by older authors.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on October 16, 2018:

@Bill If you liked the movie then you will love the book. It's such a lovely book and one of the rare ones which I can read again and again.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 16, 2018:

I have not read the book but I did see the movie,and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you for the review.

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