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

Posted September 16, 2009 by Tracy in Reviews | 18 Comments

I first heard about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society over at Amy’s blog, Romance Book Wyrm. Amy was at her Romance Book Club meeting and another woman who also ran the Historical Fiction Book Club was talking about her next selection – which was TGLaPPPS. Amy decided to pick it up and read it and she was so glad she did. After reading the book Amy decided to send TGLaPPPS on a book tour. It finally made its way to me and I finished reading it yesterday and wanted to share some of my thoughts.

TGLaPPPS is a collection of letters that are written between many people. The main character and the person who writes most of the letters is Juliet Ashton. She is an author who lives in post WWII England. She shares letters back and forth with her best friend Sophie who lives in Scotland and Sophie’s brother, Sidney, a close friend and also her publisher.

One day Juliet receives a letter from Dawsey, a man who lives on Guernsey in the Channel Islands. He happened to have a book that was once Juliet’s and since her address was in it he thought he’d write and see if she could help him find a bookstore in London since there wasn’t a bookshop on Guernsey any longer. That one letter starts a friendship between the two as well as an idea (by Juliet) for a new book about the German Occupation and how it effected Guernsey and the people who lived there. Juliet goes on to correspond with other members of TGLaPPPS and ends up visiting Guernsey to meet all the wonderful new friends she’s made.

This book is just a charming, lovely, humorous, sad, heartwrenching, lovely, charming (did I already say that?) book. I truly enjoyed almost every moment while I was reading it. I laughed, I cried, I was horrified, but it was so good I just couldn’t put it down. Most of the time I felt like I was wherever the character was whose letter I was reading. If Juliet was talking about her bombed out flat in Chelsea I could almost see it. If Dawsey or another member was talking about Guernsey, I was there. It was fascinating. I even read the “Afterword” by Annie Barrows which was delightful and sad as well (and I don’t normally read those). I did have a few issues with some of the letters sounding similar in tone but it in no way detracted from the pleasure of the read. In fact, I’m going to go out and buy my own copy of the book (since I have to send this one on to the next reader on the book tour) so that I can share it with my family and friends locally…and of course have it to re-read myself.

This was definitely not a book that I would have picked up on my own but I’m so very glad that I read it. There was a bit (and I do mean only a bit) of romance in it so of course it soothed that romance lover in me.

I can’t recommend the book enough – “I loved it” just doesn’t seem adequate. Maybe you’ll just have to see for yourself. I hope you do.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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18 responses to “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

  1. OH Tracy, I am glad that you loved it. I read it from Amy's book tour. I received it and freaking loved it. I also went out and bought my own copy, just to have! I had to! I love the story. And you are right. I would have never picked up the book by myself. And I can not stress, like you… for people to read this story. It was just a great story!
    Thanks for the post about it. I can not wait to see what Amy has to think about all of our letters!

  2. Yay! I think I'm next. If you want to just brong it when I see you next week you can do that…

    Which reminds me. What am I supposed to bring you? I can't remember dammit.

  3. Tracy! I am so happy to read your thoughts πŸ™‚ This book tour has been such a success. So far everyone has loved the book. It's been with ten people including myself and still has another six to go. I hope the book remains receiving the same feedback! I am so so glad to hear you are picking up your own copy too.

    I'm still trying to remain patient. I want to see my book and read all the letters :). You guys have all been so wonderful to participate.

    When it does finally make its way back to me, I am gonna have to read it again :).

    Thank you, Tracy!

  4. Nath – you'll have to let me know your thoughts. So glad they had it at the library for you.

    Cecile – I'm looking forward to hearing Amy's thoughts as well. I'm going to look over everyone's letters tonight. I didn't want to do it ahead of time because I didn't want spoilers. πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed it too!

    Lori – well, yes you are! If I can get to the post office before I see you I'll mail it since I don't want to hold up production. πŸ™‚
    I can't remember what you were going to bring me! lol

    Amy – It was a great idea to send this on to people and of course have them write their thoughts down too. It just goes so well with the theme of the book. Thank you so much for having the tour and including me. As I've said, I loved it!

  5. Oh, it sounds like one of those heart-warming books you read in winter by the fire πŸ™‚ I'm heading into spring, but so what πŸ™‚ It's in my library (over 40 copies and ALL of them out – it's popular πŸ™‚ so I'll have to add it to the list!

  6. Lea – absolutely! πŸ™‚

    Orannia – hopefully you can get it soon. Please let me know what you think.

    Kris – well worth the hunt for it. πŸ™‚

    Hilcia – Thanks! It was hard to type it out when I just kind of wanted to get all gushy about it. lol Hope you read and enjoy it.

  7. Okay, I'm sold!

    Funny thing is, I saw this at the library on my last visit and passed it up. I'll have to go back and get it now. I hope it's still there!

  8. Hmm…I notice it's in audio at the County library. Sounds like I'll have to put in a request.

    Thanks for the review, Tracy!

    Can't wait to see you next week. πŸ™‚

  9. I read this book when it first came out and absolutely adored it! It was one of my top 3 reads of last year! And I just love seeing other people fall in love with it as well.

  10. Christine – Hopefully it won't take too long to get through the rest of the people and get to you quickly!

    Brie – I think it's worth the read, definitely go back and get it.

    Nath – can't wait!

    Renee – I'll be curious to see how it works in audio. Since they are letters I wonder if they will sound too similar? Let me know what you think if you listen to it.

    Marg – It will definitely be in my top books for the year. How could it not be? πŸ™‚

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