Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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

     A very Happy New Year to all of you. I hope 2013 has begun on a positive note for you. I kicked off 2013 with a book shopping spree. My bookshelves are now stocked with more contemporary fiction. As I mentioned in my last post, I would like to read more books that were written in my lifetime. Not that I will be giving up my beloved classics entirely, I could never do that, but I do plan to go a little easy on them. To that end, my first read in the New Year is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I had been reading reviews of this book all over the blogsphere and it’s been on my TBR list for a long while now.

     TGLPPPS is an epistolary novel that starts out sounding a lot like 84 Charing Cross Road (which I love so much), but soon it finds a different arc and there all similarities end. The story takes off when Juliet Ashton, a writer, receives a letter from a man in Guernsey who has a book that once belonged to Juliet. He writes of his admiration for Charles Lamb and also tells her about their strangely named book club and its interesting origins. Juliet begins to toy with the idea of writing about this book club and soon starts to correspond with all the other members of the society. Each of them writes to her about their love for a book or author but most importantly about their lives during and after the German occupation. Juliet soon starts to feel an immense emotional connect with these people. More determined than ever to write about them, she lands up in Guernsey for a visit that ends up a lot longer than she had planned.

     TGLPPPS is a pleasant and easy read. Exactly what I needed after spending so long in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s grey and bleak world.  Some of the characters are very well written and the tone of the book is very light and humorous, even though it does deal with the aftermath of the war.  I don’t remember reading anything set in the Chanel Islands before this so I enjoyed the insight into a land I know very little about. A good start to the year’s reading. Hope we all have a lot more great books to read in 2013. 


  1. Agreed--this was a delightful read. If you want to linger in that location and in that time period, The Soldier's Wife is also set in one of the Channel Islands during WWII.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation, will definitely look into The Soldier's Wife.

  3. I read this a couple of years ago. It is really a well done work and I loved how it showed ordinary people getting into reading and I learned a good bit about life in the Channel Islands during W W II. I hope 2013 is a great reading and total year for you.

    1. Thank you Mel. I wish you a great 2013 too.