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Review – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
274 pages
Published 2008

I don’t know when I would have picked up this book had Annie Barrows not come to my local bookstore to do a reading and signing. But since she was coming, I bought a copy for myself and a copy for my peeps to have her sign. I mean, this book has been all over the blogosphere and I think the consensus is that OMG THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD!

And they’re right: OMG THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD!

This book is written in epistolary form, meaning it’s written all in letters. The letters are written by various people, though most of them are written by the protagonist, Juliet. The setting is 1946 London. Juliet, an author, is trying to find inspiration for a new book and stumbles upon some people in Guernsey who started their own book group during the Nazi occupation. Juliet’s told that there’s enough quirky people to make it worth her investigation. As we follow Juliet’s research of the Guernsey LIterary and Potato Peel Pie Society, we also find out she’s 30 AND SINGLE, which means she might as well hold up a sign that says Spinster for Life and call it a day.

<sidenote: When I was religious, I was 21, single, and in a car with a 17-year-old girl. She asked me, AND I QUOTE, “What’s it like to be single at your age?” I was so offended by that question that just a few short months later, I bought an apricot tiny toy poodle, because I figured if I was going to be old and single, I might as well have a dog that looks like me. True story. /sidenote>

Juliet does meet a really cool, guy, though, who sends her flowers all the time (even before they met, because he was her admirer !!!), and while she’s deciding just how much she loves him, she moves to Guernsey so she can get to know as these kooky people she’s been writing to. Hilarity, great stories, and a few misunderstandings ensue.

The epistolary form really sets a wonderful tone for this book. The reader feels like they’re being drawn back into a time when people actually had time to write letters. And the characters…they’re perfect: flawed but loveable.

If you like Jane Austen, you’ll like this book. This book falls into that great category of chick lit that’s not fluff, a story that transcends time and firmly plants itself in your heart.

Rating: 90 out of 100

If you read this book, what did you think of it? Do you agree with me that if you like Jane Austen, you’ll like this book?

Also read this book:

Library Queue 
medieval bookworm
My Random Acts of Reading
Lesa’s Book Critiques

You can win a signed copy of this book! But don’t try to enter here…no entries on this post will be accepted. You have to go here.

| Tags: , , , , 26 comments »

26 Responses to “Review – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society”

  1. bermudaonion

    I loved this book, too! It made me miss the art of letter writing.


  2. Katherine

    I LOVED this book! Very heartwarming and not what you’d typically expect of a novel set in this time period (click on my name and you’ll go to my review of it).


  3. Teddy

    I am so looking forward to reading this book. I just keep reading rave reviews by everyone who has read it.


  4. Nicole

    I too have heard so much about this book. Just got my copy the other day. I’m looking forward to having the time to read it.


  5. raych

    I just travelled an hour IN THE RAIN today to pick up this book (sometimes when I’m placing holds on books at the library, I forget to have them send it to the branch near my house, and end up having to across town. On the bus. In the rain).


  6. Bonnie

    I adored this book! I am a fan of books told in letter style, and journal entries. It gives the story more of a realistic feel, IMO.


  7. Marg

    I can’t believe you doubted all of us! As to the Jane Austen reference, I wouldn’t know because I have never read any JA (gasp!)


  8. Tricia

    I’m so glad you liked it! Thanks for linking me. 🙂


  9. softdrink

    I’m not into Jane Austen, so I can’t do that comparison, but now you have to read 84 Charing Cross, so you can make that comparison. 😀


  10. veens

    I m hoping to read it ; if i win it here! 😀 i know ..thats a pathetic sentence to say lol!

    i m glad u liked it!


  11. Sandra

    I enjoyed your review. I enjoyed the book very much too and reviewed it here on Fresh Ink Books:
    I don’t know Austen’s work very well so I can’t compare them.


  12. Meghan

    I’m glad you loved this too! I think it does compare to some extent to Jane Austen; very subdued but definitely there feelings, if that makes sense.

    Thanks for linking to me! (but you might want to check your spelling …)


  13. Rebecca

    I LOVE LOVE LOVED this book and reviewed it here.

    With the holidays approaching, it’s become the one I recommend as a gift for just about everyone (or to yourself). A nearly perfect, lovely, one-sitting read that will touch the booklover in all of us.


  14. S. Krishna

    I can’t wait to read this one!


  15. Jessica

    I read this book last month and reviewed it here:

    I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I’m not sure that I agree with your statement that if you like Jane Austen, you’ll like this book. I love the witticisms and the non-dialog dialog of Jane Austen. I didn’t really find this book to be too witty or interactive. I think the epistolary form was stretched too far in this one.

    Still, I think book lovers will enjoy this one. I did.


  16. Ladytink_534 (Jen)

    I haven’t heard a bad thing about this book yet. Every review I’ve read all are saying OMG THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD too lol! I’m waiting on my library to get it in.


  17. amy

    I loved this book so much! I reviewed it on my blog recently as well. I wanted to read in again as soon as i finished it.


  18. Anna

    So glad to hear you enjoyed it! I bought the book a few months ago and it’s staring at me. I can almost hear it say “read me, read me now.” I’m doing good at holding off until I finish books for upcoming tours, but it’s sooooo hard! This sounds like an amazing book!


  19. gentle reader

    I really enjoyed this book, and so did my mom AND my dad!


  20. Ishbel Allan

    I must be a lone voice in the wilderness. I did not like this book and found it very frivolous and inaccurate. The authors obviously know very little about wartime Guernsey and that period of time. It was written by research only. Guernsey is NOT a part of England and suggesting that it is would make any true inhabitant weep. Although life was harsh during the war many knew what was going on in the U.K. Written as little letters the authors got away with many pages of nothing!


  21. smoothpebble

    I’m in the middle of this one. At first i was put off by the title – it seemed too cutesy. But once I delved in I have not been able to put it down. I love the detailed letters, and it makes me yearn for a time when people sent full and rich mail to one another (if such a thing really existed). Yes, I suppose it does remind me a little of Austen.


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  23. LORNA

    I just dont know why I dont love the books that everyone else does. It makes me hesitant to go to my book club.

    Although it seems well researched I thought it just a bit too cutesy for my liking. “Hey arent I clever rings through out some of Juliet’s correspondence. I wanted to smack her


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