ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Born in 1962, Annie Barrows is an American author known for her contributions to children’s literature. Barrows grew up in California and later attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a degree in Medieval History. Barrows embarked on a career in publishing, working as an editor before transitioning to writing her own books. Some of Barrows’ notable works include the Ivy + Bean series, which earned her critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base.
Mary Ann Shaffer, born in 1934, was an American author and editor. Shaffer was born and raised in West Virginia. She developed a passion for literature from an early age. She would later work as an editor and librarian. Shaffer’s debut book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, written in collaboration with Annie Barrows, became her most celebrated work.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society transports readers to the idyllic island of Guernsey after the devastation of World War II. The story revolves around Juliet Ashton, a young and vibrant writer living in London in 1946. Unfortunately for Ashton, she has hit a writer’s block.
Intrigued by a series of letters she receives from a Guernsey resident named Dawset Adams, Juliet embarks on a journey that leads her to the discovery of a remarkable literary society. Formed as a cover during the German occupation, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society provided solace to its members through literature.
As Juliet becomes more involved with the Society, she encounters an eclectic group of characters. Each of these characters have their own story of survival, resilience, and love. Through the letters exchanged between the society’s members, Juliet learns of their wartime experiences, their profound connection to books, and the unbreakable bond that has formed among them.
Through her interactions with the islanders, Juliet uncovers the struggles and sacrifices they endured during the occupation. She also discovers the indomitable spirit that kept their hopes alive in testing times.
As Juliet immerses herself in the Society’s tales and forms deep connections with the islanders, she finds a renewed sense of purpose and belonging.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a charming and heartfelt novel that combines the power of literature with human resilience. Set against the backdrop of World War II and its aftermath, the story explores the themes of friendship, community, and the power of written words.
One of the novel’s strengths lie in its style, which allows the characters to reveal their thoughts and experiences through correspondence. This adds depth and authenticity to each story, inviting readers to become intimately acquainted with the characters’ lives.
The characters themselves are fairly vibrant and endearing, each endowed with their unique voice and perspective. The novel beautifully captures the spirit of a tight-knit community. The authors’ take on man’s resilience in the face of war’s atrocities is especially refreshing. Overall, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is an uplifting read that celebrates the power of literature to unite people, heal wounds, and create lasting relationships.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER ABOUT THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL
The love story between Juliet and Dawsey is overshadowed by the rest of the events. As a result, their affair comes over as somewhat rushed. This might have been the authors’ intent from the get-go so as to focus on other aspects. That said, it would have been nice to read more about the couple.
While I question her taste, her judgment, her misplaced priorities, and her inappropriate sense of humor, she does indeed have one fine quality – she is honest.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society came into being because of a roast pig we had to keep secret from the German soldiers, so I feel a kinship to Mr. Lamb.
As a book, Ameya would wholeheartedly recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie to its readers. The book serves as a poignant reminder that even in the darkest of times, human spirit can triumph through strong communal bonds and a healthy reading culture.
A proverbial bookworm, Anusuya is always hungry for new stories and adventures.