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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society [Kindle Edition]

Mary Ann Shaffer , Annie Barrows
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (874 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

It's 1946 and Juliet Ashton can't think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey - by chance, he's acquired a book that once belonged to her - and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it's not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.

Product Description


'Charming ... one to lift even the most cynical of spirits' The Times 'Thronging with lovable people ... golden comedy' Guardian 'What a gorgeous book - very touching and funny' Joanna Lumley 'Delightfully spirited and quirky novel-of-letters ... You'd have to be pretty hard-hearted not to fall under its spell' Daily Mail Books of the Year


`The society's members are quirky and lovable, their friendships touching and the letters so funny and moving that by the time she's considering a visit to the island we are desperate to go with her'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 510 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0747596689
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (10 May 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002R88G4U
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (874 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,972 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
456 of 477 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected delight 23 Jun. 2008
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a truly delightful book. I worried before it arrived that an amusing and whimsical title might have persuaded me to request something which would turn out not to be very good, but I was wholly wrong. I enjoyed it immensely; it is witty, erudite without being smug, interesting, laugh-out-loud funny in places and very moving in others.

The novel is set in 1946 and is in the form of letters, mainly to and from the central character, Juliet Ashton, a successful writer who becomes, wholly coincidentally, involved with a group of people on Guernsey who lived through the wartime German Occupation. The characters are thoroughly engaging and Mary Ann Shaffer (although born in the USA) manages to capture the English voice of the time beautifully: the prose is a pleasure to read.

It is very hard to summarise any of the developing stories without giving away more than I'd have wanted to know in advance, so I won't try, but the book has something to say about all kinds of things. Among them are friendship, suffering, forgiveness, goodness and wickedness, the resilience of humanity in desperate circumstances, how reading may influence us and the history of the Channel Islanders during the war. All this makes it sound a bit worthy and turgid, but it's neither - anything but, in fact. I never felt that I was being lectured, the history forms a really interesting and beautifully evoked backdrop to a thoroughly involving story and the observations on other things are either implicit in the doings of characters I really cared about or made directly with wit and flair. And there's a really tense will-they-won't-they love story which Jane Austen would have been proud of and which kept me in nail-biting suspense right up to the last page.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This novel more than lives up to its intriguing whimsical title. It positively bursts with life and characters and stories from post war Britain and post occupation Guernsey. It tells the tale of Guernsey's occupation from the people's point of view and these people are real and rounded and have their own divisions and spats alongside their united attempts to keep their spirits uncrushed and untethered by their German occupiers.

The catalyst for this intriguing adventure is a writer, Juliet Ashton, who, under a pseudonym has been writing morale boosting books during the war and is now at a loss for a new subject. Through a mutual love of books, she gains a pen pal from Guernsey and he and his neighbours are a real can of worms that opens delightfully into a vivid cast of characters.

Juliet is charming and there is a subplot about a budding romance bubbling away in the background. What is interesting about the book is that it is told through the format of letters. The downside of this is that you sometimes mentally have to ask "now who was Mrs so and so again and why is she writing to Juliet?", since there are at least ten characters all writing to each other at various times. Don't let this put you off though, as its also a lovely way of having more than one voice or opinion to give you a rounder picture of the story and characters. Whilst I was reading it, I thought how lovely it would be as a film or TV adaptation and it reminded me of 84 Charing Cross Road, Howard's End, and the Camomile Lawn.

It is a pleasant book to read with beautiful language, often formal, but never stiff, and it isn't afraid to touch on the darker side of war despite its light humour and quirky characters. It's a heck of an achievement to tell such a gripping tale via the medium of letters alone but Shaffer pulls it off delightfully and I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderfully charming read. Its almost impossible to believe the characters are fictional.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet but deceptively harrowing 14 July 2008
By Sally Zigmond VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is one of those novels that comes along every so often that everyone will want to read, young, old, male, female. A witty and delightful page-turner, it tells the story in letter form of Juliet, a young self-deprecating author and is set just after the end of the second world war. Keen to begin a new and challenging project she finds out by chance about the society of the title which formed during the German occupation of Guernsey. Intrigued by its bizarre name (which is explained), she soon begins exchanging letters with its members and finds out about their personalities as well as the hardship they all suffered.

That is the basic gist but, as in all great stories, there is much more to it than that. One of the society members, Elizabeth, was arrested for harbouring a slave worker and sent to a concentration camp. She has not returned and she is very much missed. Elizabeth's story is harrowing in the extreme and is largely what prevents the novel from becoming too twee and saccharine.

I knew Guernsey was occupied during the war but I never realised (shame on me) until I read this novel just how awful life was under occupation. The fortitude and resourcefulness of the island's inhabitants, who are by no means saints and the way they welcome Juliet in their midst is heart-warming and if the conclusion, the love-story and a sub-plot about some letters by Oscar Wilde, are all too good to be true, I am prepared to waive any criticism because of the underlying darkness that I can't ever forget. It would make a great film but before that I guarantee the novel will be a huge best-seller.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ... format of the book all being letters I thoroughly enjoyed it. An...
Once I got used to the format of the book all being letters I thoroughly enjoyed it. An interesting and heart warming story very cleverly told through the use of letters. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Kirsty McDougall
5.0 out of 5 stars books and reading open the mind
This book is exquisite. Superb characters, wonderful descriptive interactions one to another and a a setting to rival any. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Mrs. I. Bartholomew
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle
A lovely gentle little tale. It has nuances of another book set in Guernsey, my favourite read of all time. 'The Book of Ebenezer Le Page' by G. B. Edwards. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Aunty Anne
1.0 out of 5 stars A good title but that's about all I can say
A good title but that's about all I can say. I did not like the format, letters from people I could not relate to. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Roseday
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended by friends
Enjoyable read, recommended by friends.
Published 17 days ago by deborah hoskin
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard to follow storyline !
This type of book has to be read quickly otherwise it's very tricky trying to remember who is who !
At the beginning the book jumps all over the place so made it hard to... Read more
Published 18 days ago by sarah sharp
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book
Excellent and interesting book highly recommended
Published 19 days ago by B.S.McCreddie
3.0 out of 5 stars The Guernsey Literary and potato peel pie society
This is a collection of letters to / from various people but focusing on a British female correspondent who kept the reading public amused during WW2 and now gets to focus on her... Read more
Published 29 days ago by Clare O'Beara
5.0 out of 5 stars This lovely book champions, amongst other things, the lost art of...
The setting for this book is just after the end of the second world war.

Julia is an author and avid letter writer who is 'between books'. Read more
Published 29 days ago by JeanieBlue
5.0 out of 5 stars A tonic to cheer you up
A really super book, the sort you can just dip in and out of, lovely letters to make you smile, what more could one ask from a book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Linda Gill
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