Sunday, May 1, 2011

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

Rating: 5 out of 5
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 440 KB
Print Length: 290 pages
Publisher: Allen & Unwin (May 3, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

I have decided to review this book in the style it was written, in a letter format to my friend over at Ticket to Anywhere. I apologise for the more formal language in some parts of the letter, it just kind of came out that way! I hope you enjoy.

Dear Irishyz

I hope this letter finds you in good health. I know it has been a rough winter for you in the wilds of New York. To cheer you up and give you something to look forward too I thought I would write you about a fantastic novel I have had the pleasure of reading.

It is called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and her Niece. The book is set in the British Island of Guernsey which is a English channel island, just after World War II. The island had been occupied by the Germans for a period and the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society arose during those dark times.

The whole book is told through letters! Can you believe it? It felt like I had snuck into my sister’s room and read her secret correspondence (not that you or I would know anything about that!). It made for a very intimate and personal way of discovering the characters and story At the same time though it was like they were your best friends and you were catching up on their latest news. The central character, the one all the letters revolve around is Juliet Ashton. She is a thirty two year old writer looking for inspiration for her next book and finds it in this society when they start corresponding with her.

The book was rather slow to start with and I must admit I almost gave up! But you know me I like my books actiony, fast paced and humorous. So to go for a slower paced book with detail and character development was quite a shock to my system.

However I am glad I persevered. There was a letter discussing Doodlebugs and I had no idea that they were bombs! That is what the British called a particular type of bomb that landed in London during those dark times. Reading Juliette’s response to Doodlebug was moving and terrifying. Could you imagine having to always listen out for the noise of the bomb and then the dread that you couldn’t hear it anymore! What could I say, from then on in HOOKED, and could not put it down.

I am glad it is just a made up story though or I would feel horrible saying the next part; it was a little predictable. That didn’t detract from the story at all and make it less enjoyable or interesting to read, oh no not at all. But the more emotional scenes probably did not have the impact on me that they should have when they happened, as I had already guessed what was going to happen. Despite the predictability, there was still a very sad part of the book (I won’t give anything away promise) that almost had me shedding a tear.

The ending was really rather sudden. I kept turning the pages of my ebook thinking that maybe it had not downloaded correctly. But no, that was it, game over, thank you very much for playing. Gah! How could it end just like that? It was a nice ending though but I wanted just a little bit more to round it all off, tie off some loose ends. Sadly the author did pass away after her manuscript was submitted so perhaps this was not the ending she envisioned? I guess we will never know.

While I know your tastes generally run towards the Young Adult and Supernatural genres, I also know you enjoy a good historical novel, and you are interested in WWII. I really think you should give this book a go, you won’t be disappointed!

I must be off now have the house work to do now and the washing will not wash it’s self (no matter how long I sit here and will it, the darn lazy things wont budge and clean themselves).

All the best from your friend


  1. lol fun review...and you are right this is a book that I would enjoy. Because I've read it and I liked it lots.

    Epolsitory novel + WWII = love

  2. I love, love the way that you did this review! It gave me such a great feel for this book; a book that has been sitting on my shelves unread. I do believe that I will now give it a read much sooner than planned.

    Hope you don't mind, but I think I may still this review style from you, and write a few reviews in this manner; in the future.

  3. I loved this book, too, and I generally stay away from epistolary novels. My favorite scene was where she caught her fiance boxing up her books so he would have a place to put his trophies and she was like, "I don't think this relationship is going to work out."

  4. Very clever way for your review!! I absolutely loved this one too!!

  5. Thank you ladies for your kind comments. I am glad you liked the review.

    Irishyz - thanks for posting your link. I will toddle over shortly to read :)

    ibeeeg - sure steal away! it is a fun way to review, I had heaps of fun writing it. I plan on doing more in the future.

    Heidenkind - Oh I know wasn't that line classic! I can completely understand though, if someone boxed my books up for their trophies, they would be bounced out the door.

    Staci - It was a wonderful book, one of those books that make you glad you read them.

  6. Isn't this such a fantastic novel, and great review as well!

  7. Fun review. I love letters. Reading and writing them. I;ve had this book on my shelf for years and haven't felt the desire to pick it up yet.

  8. Marg - thanks for the comment and feedback! I was a little nervous posting this as I haven't really tried this style of review before.

    Stacy - I was the same didn't pick it up for ages but thought I wanted something different. It was great I am glad I read it. You wont regret it.

  9. Wonderful review, Caspette and like everyone else it seems, I too loved the book and hated to see it end. I think I spent days looking for info and pictures on the net from Guernsey.

  10. This was a favourite of mine, so glad you loved it too and I love the letter style review format ... very fitting :)

  11. I read the book about 18 months ago and like you found it slow to start, but enjoyed it nonetheless; I especially like the style of your review, greT in keeping with the reviews.

    We are off in a few weeks to Jersey and plan to see the war tunnels & military hospital. There is also a Tapestry made in commemoration of the end of German occupation. I can hardly wait!