The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

This was a book group book, although I picked it up from the library without remembering so because it looked so intriguing.

Set in 1946 it deals with the aftermath of the Second World War, both in London and on Guernsey, discussing the occupation of the Channel Islands and what this meant for the residents of these islands. More than a war story, it is a tale of love between an author struggling for inspiration and Guernsey. The other key people are members of the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, formed to save the founding members from arrest, but becoming a place of ideas and resistance.

The German occupation were surprisingly human for most of the book, with most of the suffering being imposed from outside the islands and the occupation not being much better off than the occupied. This gives an impression of a very forgiving and friendly community, with even those who cause so much suffering being given a chance to be human.

I liked the format of using a series of letters to tell a story, although there were too many “S” characters and I did have to reread sections due to getting confused as to who was writing to whom. It gave most characters a chance to “talk” to the reader directly. This did mean it was necessary to consider the perspective of the letter writer, with not all letters being written from an honest perspective or by an individual with possession of all the facts, but the story instead being woven and built as this is gained.

4 thoughts on “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

  1. A wonderful book and a lovely story of the author who spent her lifetime working on it and sadly didn’t live to see the sucess it became.
    I am looking forward to reading another book coming out later this year which promises something similar, ‘A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar’ by Suzanne Joinson.

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