Sunday, April 18

Book Review: The Guernsey and Potato Peel Pie Society

Title: The Guernsey and Potato Peel Pie Society

Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Pages: 274

Summary: January 1946: Writer Juliet Ahston receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and a society as extraordinary as it's name.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book has been on my TBR list since I first saw it around the blogverse last year. Its title caught my eye, the reviews were great, and it had an interesting cover. Yet something about it kept making me put it off. I finally got a copy from the library, forgot I had the copy until the notice came to say the book was due back, then bought my self a copy because I really wanted to read it, and it was a book for one of my challenges, where book choices were limited. Finally I read it. And I’m kicking myself (well, theoretically I am) for not reading it sooner. Fantastic book, with a very unusual way to write one, which made me enjoy it more than I ever though I would.

The book is written through a serious of letters and telegrams between the characters, so you never really get the whole story as to what happened to the characters, just brief glimpses and recaps from the characters point of view. Sometimes something that happened to a character is retold through a different character’s letters, so again there is the idea you don’t have the entire story. I thought this was a very clever method, because it gave the reader enough to want more and keep reading to find it, as well as let the reader fill in some of their own gaps. I also enjoyed how each character’s voice was carried out through each letter. Their personalities shined through, so the author(s) did a fantastic job at ensuring the correspondents between the characters, seemed real and not one dimensional or all having the same voice.

The characters also made the book. I was dying to find out more about Elizabeth, who’s a well loved character, by the other characters in the book. I found the whole idea behind how the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society came to be was brilliant, amusing and powerful. The group that came to this society were strong people, who fought through the German occupation, and never lost the light on a common interest. Juliet is also an amusing character, she had me laughing while reading her thoughts and opinions on the world and people around her, as well as books and book related issues (there was this one part, around page 16, where she mentioned bookstore owners and how the react to certain peoples tastes in books, that reminded myself of me and many other book lovers I know.)

The book had a bit of everything, parts that would make you laugh, parts that made you begging for more. And some emotional parts, as the reader learns how they people of Guernsey lived during the German occupation. Either way, it was a fantastic book. And I’m glad it followed me home. Had it been the library book copy, it may not have returned.

Would I recommend it to read: Oh yeah. If there is actually any of you out there who haven't read the book, I highly recommend you do. Wonderful story, and a great choice for any Bibliophile, Book Geek/Nerd/Lover.

What to read next: The Book Thief, Suite Fran├žaise, Thirteenth Tale

Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge, Pages Read Challenge, 10/10 Challenge,
100+ Challenge, Bibliophilic Challenge, Countdown Challenge,
Reading Western Europe Challenge, RYOB Challenge, What's in a Name Challenge,
Wish I Read That Challenge


  1. I am so glad that I have read this review. I hear a lot about this book, but to be honest, the method of using letters to tell the stories sort of turns me off. This review has made me rethink. I will add this to my wish list with a link to your review.

  2. Oh, I am so glad that you loved this one! I bought it a couple of months ago, and have been really eager to try it. You are right about all the praise it has gotten in the blogosphere, it seems to be a winner all around. I will have to let you know what I thought of it when I am finished. Great review, your enthusiasm over the book is contagious!!

  3. Glad to see you enjoyed it as much as I did. I loved how it's heavy and emotional without being too heavy or emotional. That's a hard thing to accomplish when your writing about war. I hope it's okay to link to your review on War Through the Generations.

    Diary of an Eccentric

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  5. I loved this book!

    I see that you've got The Thirteenth Tale up to read too. That was one of my favorite reads of 2008.

  6. Becky - I'm glad my review helped interest you in the book. It's a great book, and worth reading. But I do understand how the method of using letters can turn you off a book. If done wrong, it can make the book boring.

    Zibilee - I hope you read/review it soon! I'll try to keep an eye out for it in my feeds, but also feel free to link it in the comments, as some feeds get lost. Alas, there needs to be more time so I can read books, feeds, comment on feeds, catalogue my book collection, sleep, eat, work...... sigh!

    Anna - You're right, about the emotional aspect of it. Thanks for linking my review, no problem at all :).

    Booklover - Thanks for stopping by, I checked out your blog, nice job. Thank you for inviting me to join, but at the moment, I'm having a hard time keeping up with this one. Things in life are a little busy. But, it looks to have some great reviews on it, so I will definitely come by and read some more. (And hopefully remember to comment.)

    Alyce - I didn't enjoy the Thirteenth Tale that much, but I know a lot of other people would enjoy the book, and it seems to fit in with this book. So I listed it. I may not like certain books, but I do know (most of the time) which books go well together and which books other readers may like, even if I didn't like them. T

  7. I don't think I have read a bad review of this book yet. Everyone keeps telling me to read it and like you I've had it forever so maybe I'll give it a go soon. It would fit right in with a challenge I'm doing :)