Book review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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?

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

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.     

What worked
  • 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? 

What didn't work
  • 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.

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. 

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

34 COMMENTS

  1. 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!

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