Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

While I do try to make sure I read the book before I watch the adaptation, my curiosity of Netflix’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society got the better of me.

After falling in love with the movie, its premise, and characters, I knew I needed to read its source material, and as such here we are.

Did The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society live up to its adaptation? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.

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2728527The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Publisher: Dial Press (July 29, 2008)

Print Length: 290 pages

Audiobook Length: 8hrs and 6 mins

Narrator: Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, Juliet Mills

January 1946: Writer Juliet Ashton 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 of a society as extraordinary as its name.

The Review 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a historical novel set in 1946 London that tells the story of 32-year-old writer Juliet Ashton whom upon receiving a letter from Dawsey Adams, a stranger living on the island of Guernsey, embarks on a journey of love, heartbreak, and resilience in the face of adversity.

For the most part I rather enjoyed my reading of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. A lot of times, especially when dealing with historical fiction, I find that the authors chose to present their novels simply in the first person. In The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, however, Shaffer and Barrows chose to utilize the epistolary voice, which is to say their novel was structured through a series of letters, which I found added a greater sense of realism to the misfits living on the Channel island of Guernsey. I also fit to be helpful to the plot as it allowed one off characters to offer more to the relationship between the literary society members and Juliet. I only wish that the others had chosen to include one or two letters from Elizabeth’s perspective to make her fate that much more harder to comprehend.

The characters of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society were equally as unique as the book’s title. While many of the characters outcomes were predictable, given that the tone of the novel was somewhat hopeful after what they had to live through, I rather enjoyed getting to intimately know each and every character. My favourite character had to have been Isola Pribby, an eclectic member of the literary society who’s constant career changes offered more than one humour moment between her and her friends. I also found myself enthralled by the relationship between Juliet and Dawsey. While there was clearly something there from the beginning, both are cordial given Juliet’s engagement to the Yank, Mark Reynolds, and only when Juliet rejects Mark’s second proposal do they act upon their feelings for one another.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

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And those are my thoughts on The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Have any historical fiction recommendations? Leave them as a comment below and help my TBR grow.

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