Sunday, 12 December 2010

Shaffer, Mary Ann & Barrows, Annie "The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society"

Shaffer, Mary Ann & Barrows, Annie "The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society" - 2008

One of our latest book club reads.

When I first started this, I thought it was a very superficial book but it grew on me quite quickly. A novel about the history of the island of Guernsey during World War II, how the war affects people, often in a bad way and sometimes in a good one, about friendship and people standing up for each other, a book about people getting together to share their love for literature and their need for communication, and food, about how people can get creative when in need, a story that shows how people were getting along in pre-internet and pre-mobile phone times, even in pre-phone times. People actually sat down and wrote letters, we saw how beautiful letter writing is and how it teaches us patience.

I really like this book, it’s a quick and easy read with a good message, lively characters, interesting accounts, humoristic, emotional, very descriptive.

We discussed this in our book club in October 2010.

From the back cover: "'I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.' January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends - and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island - boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways."


  1. One of my favorite books. Loved the characters and writing style. Even with the sad subject matter of the atrocities of war and the hardships everyone endured, it was not a depressing book. My book club gave it a thumbs-up.

  2. Same here. We were all very sad that the author died and this is the only book she has ever written. So sad.