Book review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Nov 12, 201834 comments

Once in a while we read a book that will make you excited and some might even make you cry. While The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society made me feel me both, the one feeling that I can associate with it more than the above is warm fuzzy.

I can remember the times that I just stopped reading the book just to hold those warm feeling to myself a little longer. Can we get on with the review shall we?

About the book

Book Name: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Author: Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

Genre: Fiction – Drama, romance, Historical

Characters: Juliet Ashton, Dawsey Adams, Markham V. Reynolds, Jr., Susan Scott, Sidney Stark, Sophie Evans,, Elizabeth McKenna, Isola Pribby, Kit McKenna, Adelaide Addison, Eben Ramsey, Amelia Maugery

Setting: London and Guernsey, The United Kingdom

Plot

Set in the post World War II London, we meet Juliet Ashton, an aspiring author who receives a letter from Dawsey Adams. Dawsey a resident of Guernsey chances upon her address on a book by Charles Lamb, that she had previously owned and requests her help in securing more of Lamb’s books from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. 

As any bookworm should do for a fellow bookworm, Juliet helps him with those books and in return asks more about their book club’s odd name. Thus begins a series of correspondence between them and slowly she begins talking to and about the other residents of the little island. We also hear about Juliet’s past and her loyal friends Sidney and Sophie. 

Juliet is looking for a story for her second book and fancies the idea of writing about the residents of Guernsey, a town that was German occupied during the war. But how would the residents react to her digging into their pasts that they are trying to move on from? Would all this heart ache for a book be worthy?

Related:  Sunday Musings #15: One about sudoku, books and meeting old mates

You will have to read on The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to find out more.

My initial thoughts

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society written in the form of a letters deals with several heavy subjects like German occupation and their control over the residents, slavery and concentration camps, poverty and hunger. Despite these strong and depressive backdrops, the residents’ love for reading and for each other kept me hooked. 

As I have repeatedly talked about in this blog, I love reading books with strong sub plots and interesting side characters and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society turned out to be a jackpot in this regard. I loved the quirky characters, even those who were not physically in Guernsey (hint: I adored her). 

Bonus fact: The author Mary Ann Shaffer wrote about 80% of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society until she was too ill with cancer to continue. She then enlisted her niece Annie Barrows to complete the project.     

Things that worked for me

  • I liked the well written sub plots and characters. 
  • The writing was easy and filled with many humorous situations. 
  • While romance is a part of the story, it did not end being the sole theme, which was positive for me.

Aside from all these reasons I felt I had a kinship with the characters who were readers, accidental or not, like us and I think there should be lot more books about bookworms. Don’t you agree? 

Things that didn’t work for me

  • The letter format worked mostly but it kinda didn’t do justice when it comes to romance. 
  • I wanted to read more about the relationship between Elizabeth and Christian. 
  • I felt the book was a tad bit long winded and it could have been reduced by at least 50 pages.
Related:  Flyaway Friday: Avoid Small Talk & other Finnish Stereotypes

Bottom – line

Did I say I loved the movie version as well? If you are interested in a drama or historical fiction with the world war II as the main backdrop then this might be the one for you. 

Pin me!

Guernsey

Let us chat!

Have you read this one? Do you read historical fiction? Have you watched the film? Let us talk more. 

34 Comments

  1. Renee Guill

    I loved that book, I didn’t know there was a movie, thanks for the tip!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      It stays true to the book so you might enjoy that as well.

      Reply
  2. Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

    I was kind of disappointed with this book. I don’t remember what I expected from it, but it wasn’t this. sad story about the author though 🙁

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I jumped without any expectations and was pleasantly surprised.

      Reply
  3. Ayushi A Nair

    great review

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thanks.

      Reply
  4. Julia Dinges

    This looks good!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Let me know when you try it.

      Reply
  5. Eline

    It always breaks my heart a bit when an author can’t finish their own work :-/ Wonderful review!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Yes it was heartbreaking to hear about the author’s cancer.

      Reply
  6. Kathy West

    I’m not a historical fan, but I am glad you enjoyed the read.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I love reading about WW II stories.

      Reply
  7. Shelleen Toland

    Not sure if this book is for me but glad that you liked it.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am glad I did too.

      Reply
  8. Jenn @ Bound to Writing

    Ever since I saw the movie trailer for this one I wanted to read the book. It sounds fantastic and I’m glad that you enjoyed it.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I loved the movie as much as the book.

      Reply
  9. DJ Sakata

    I want – I could kick myself for not joining a blog tour when I had the chance, but the title sounded so odd

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I can understand that, the title is quite a mouthful.

      Reply
  10. Christina

    I don’t know if I could do an ENTIRE book in letter format but it sounds super intriguing! Wonderful review!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Surprisingly it worked well.

      Reply
  11. Marcia

    I didn’t know about this book until I watched the movie and loved it! I wish I had read the book first 🙁

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      It is not too late to read the book.

      Reply
    • Gayathri

      The movie is as good as the book, surprisingly.

      Reply
  12. Tasha

    I had not heard of this book before. Wonderful review. It is so sad that she did not manage to see her book become so beloved.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Yes it was heart breaking to hear about the author.

      Reply
  13. Whispering Stories

    I’ve never read it. To be honest I’d never heard of it until the movie came out. I’ll have to try it sometime, or watch the movie.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am sure both the movie and the book will work for you.

      Reply
  14. Dani Eide

    Read this a few years ago for book club. We all loved bed it. ❤️❤️ We recently got together to watch the movie. To be able to visually see the book and our favorite characters was awesome. Great review Gayathri!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Yes I like to compare notes with the movie and the little imaginary world we created in our minds when we read it.

      Reply
  15. Andrew Blackman

    I’ve heard a lot about this book, but I didn’t know that the author had her niece complete it due to her illness. I agree, there should be more books about bookworms!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      More power to bookworms I say.

      Reply
  16. Kate @ Bitch Bookshelf

    Glad you loved this one as much as I did. 😍 I want to see it the film on Netflix fleshes our the romances a bit more.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Oh the movie sticks more or less true to the book and I enjoyed it.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hello there!

Gayathri loves reading, recommending books and talking about bookish things in real life. Her blog is just an extension of that habit. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she freelances as a beta reader. She lives currently in Dubai.Head over to meet me

Categories

Like what I do?

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
%d bloggers like this: