Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows – plus, a giveaway!

guernseyTitle: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Dial Press
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: I purchased this book in hardcover last year.
First line: Dear Sidney, Susan Scott is a wonder.

What can I say about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society that hasn’t already been said? It is everything all the other wonderful book bloggers said it was: wonderful, heartwarming, hopeful, laugh-out-loud funny, and full of the most endearing characters.

Author Juliet Ashton has just come off a whirlwind book tour full of teas and meet-and-greets, and is looking for her next book idea. Her first book is a collection of humorous columns she wrote about life in England during World War II, humor her chosen way of dealing with – and helping others deal with – the horrors of war.

She’s ready to write under her own name now, but her next book idea isn’t coming to her. Then she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. He contacts her because he has picked up a book that formerly belonged to her at a book sale, and wants to correspond with her about author Charles Lamb. His letter opens a whole world to Juliet – the world of the Channel Islands under the German occupation. Dawsey mentions the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and Juliet’s interest is peaked.guernseyauthors

What follows is the delightful story of Juliet unfolding the tale of the people of Guernsey during the war. Through letters, she meets the most wonderful people, and discovers some things that were missing in herself. When Juliet finally visits Guernsey, it’s like the final puzzle pieces fall into place. While I knew where the book was headed, I enjoyed every step of the way, and rejoiced at the ending.

Highly recommended.

Now, here’s the fun news for you: the publisher has agreed to give away 5 copies of this book to my wonderful readers. Here are the details:

~ This giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada only.

~ Leave a comment on this post telling me about a significant letter you have either written or received.

~ All entries must be received by Friday, August 28th, 11:59 pm PST. I will draw the five winners on August 29th.


This entry was posted in giveaways, historical fiction, reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows – plus, a giveaway!

  1. Kathy says:

    I found this book to be delightful too! Don’t enter me.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Review: The Complete Persepolis =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kathy – I sent my copy to my sister, because I knew she would love it as much as I did.

  2. eric pearson says:

    A year after I graduated High School I recieved a very long letter from a good friend of mine that moved to japan. His being in a differnt country and being so far away made him more open to what our friendship meant to him. It was a hard letter to read seeing as how neither one of us was very open about feelings. It has been nearly 20 years now and I still have the letter and I read it often.
    .-= eric pearson´s last blog ..New DVD Releases For 8-18-2009 =-.

  3. Book Psmith says:

    The last post I just read was another positive review of this book. I am going to save it for the read-a-thon but knowing so many bloggers love it, I may not be able to practice my patience.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Book Psmith – Does that mean you already have the book? Or should I enter you in the giveaway?

  4. Kim
    Twitter: BookstoreK

    I think this is THE perfect summer read for 2009. I read it during our Balboa week and it is one of my favorite days of the summer!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Getting High (on books, of course) on the Venice Boardwalk =-.

  5. Ladybug says:

    Great review! I’m waiting to borrow this one from a blogger called Amy. She has sent her copy on a worldwide journey.
    .-= Ladybug´s last blog ..Mailbox Monday – August 17th =-.

  6. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    I’ve read this, but please still enter me. I think it is something I might need to own! I received a letter from my sister, when she was in China studying, where she broke it to me that she was gay. Not that I hadn’t already figured it out, but it was a very heartfelt, emotional letter.
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Monday Movie Meme – Fear Factor =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Sandy – I agree, this is definitely one to have on the shelves. 🙂

  7. Lisamm says:

    Love this book, love your review, and love YOU for reviewing it!! Thanks for the time you spent on readind and reviewing Guernsey for TLC.

    My copy got wet at the waterpark, where I was reading it while my kids played. I had finished the book at that point but was sad because I’d wanted to share it with my mom.. SO I’d love to be entered in the drawing.
    .-= Lisamm´s last blog ..Teaser Tuesday – August 11, 2009 =-.

  8. Jana says:

    I have wanted to read this for a while now and haven’t found it at the library, so please enter me!

    I once received a letter from Michael Palin of Monty Python after I wrote to him. What a thrill!

  9. trish says:

    So glad you enjoyed this book! It’s been so fun to watch people read and fall in love with this book. It was certainly a favorite of mine last year! 🙂 Thanks for such a thoughtful review!
    .-= trish´s last blog ..Review – Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch =-.

  10. Maya M. says:

    my first time here –
    my mother has been a life-long letter enthusiast, partly because of inclination, partly because she spent most of her life overseas from her family. She now has ALS, which has robbed her of all use of her arms and hands. She uses a specially adapted computer now, but it is very hard to use so long letters are a thing of the past. But she kept all the letters written to her, and as one of the other of her older relatives passed on she received bundles of the letters she had written to them, so she has ‘both sides’ of the story. It’s quite precious to see this documents, in her handwriting, which is forever lost.
    .-= Maya M.´s last blog ..Laughter Reviews #27 KEEPER – "A LONG WAY DOWN" =-.

  11. Mindy Withrow
    Twitter: mindywithrow

    I popped over here to say thanks for your comment on my “new” site, and lo and behold you’re running another great giveaway! I’ve seen this book everywhere but haven’t picked it up yet–somewhere I got the idea that that was “chick lit” and since that’s not really my thing I’ve been avoiding it. But now that I’ve read your review, I can see I was wrong! So please enter me. One of the most significant letters I’ve ever received was a thank you from my grandpa for a “this is your life” type of scrapbook I made him for his 75th birthday. He’s 84 and still going strong, and that letter is probably the only thing I have from him in his own handwriting, and for that reason alone is precious to me.

    BTW, I realized that I never added you to my blogroll–so that has now been corrected!
    .-= Mindy Withrow´s last blog ..The Great Fire =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Mindy – I wish I had letters from my grandfathers – what a treasure. 🙂

  12. Lisa Romeo says:

    I have a letter from a mom who told me that an essay I wrote about dealing with my son’s developmental delays prompted her to get her child diagnosed and on the road to proper services. Wow.

  13. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)
    Twitter: SavvyVerseWit

    No need to enter me in this giveaway, but I adored this book.

  14. Michelle says:

    I loved this book and would love to have a copy of my own!

    A significant letter, written or received? The Peace Corp sent me a letter telling me I didn’t have the proper qualifications to dig latrines in Africa….does that count?

  15. CherylS22 says:

    Thanks for the chance to win this book!

    One of the nicest letters I received was from my future mother-in-law after I met her for the first time. The letter began “You know my son loves you……..” & went on from there. My husband & I weren’t even engaged at the time!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Cheryl – what a sweet letter – and a great way to start the in-law relationship!

  16. Nicol says:

    I read this book and LOVED it. Of course I only borrowed it from the library and would love to have a copy for myself. It’s one that I’ve been recommending a lot lately.

    Once while working at Travel Agency in the mail room, this was after I was first married nearly 10 years ago, I had the mundane task of opening and sorting the mail. I came across an envelope with my name on it. This was odd considering that I was just the mail person, why would I received a letter. I looked at the return address and it came from my house. This was even odder. Dumb me didn’t realize who it was from until I actually opened it. It was from my sweet husband who sent me a card. It simply said in it that he loved me very much. I still have that card, tucked away with the other letters from my darling.

    nicolmontero at gmail dot com
    .-= Nicol´s last blog ..Antique German Feedsack =-.

  17. Sue says:

    I think my most significant letter was my college acceptance letter. I had a great experience there, I met my husband when I was in college and many lasting friendships.

    Thanks for the giveaway. This book looks great!

  18. I’d written quite a lot of letters since I went to school overseas before the internet and when the cost of international calls was prohibitively high.

    my mother wrote me a wonderful letter just as she’d dropped me off at phillips exeter. we had only toured the school a few weeks before and had now committed to spend the next 3 years there. I was likely to go to college in the US as well, if everything went well. My mother was my best friend and my role model and I knew I would miss her very much. I hadn’t realized that she would miss me as well. I had so much to look forward to and she would see my empty room, etc.

    I don’t remember the exact words in that letter from 1985, but I kept it with me in my school bag all year. It was what helped when I missed so much from my home country and family.

    thanks so much for this contest. i’d read this book and loved it – would love to have my own copy to share with my mom.

    gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com
    .-= Gaby @ Starting Fresh´s last blog ..As promised – the guest post from Holly Denham/Bill Hutton-Surie of Holly’s Inbox =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Gaby – what a beautiful story! I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to come to another country for high school!

  19. Vickie Bourque says:

    I worked for a fabulous LADY at the local hardware store while I was in high school.
    My mother was a single parent and died at age 51. At my age of 35 I reflected on all of the LADY lessons that this wonderful person had taught me over the years and sent her a letter letting her know how she had influenced my life. I am so glad I did, because she died the next year.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Vickie- that’s a great reminder never to leave anything unsaid. 🙂

  20. Pingback: [TSS] Big List of Book Giveaways – Aug 23 Edition - Ms. Bookish

  21. Kinga says:


    Does email count?

    Anyhow, my story is a big melodrama, sorry.

    I was in love with a great person for years, seemingly in vain. I was not even sure he liked me – sometime got the feeling he wants to keep me away from himself. (We went out for a very short while, and he ended the relationship but not the weird friendship we had.) He got married, had kids. I love his wife as well, she is a very intelligent, kind woman. I also got married, had a kid, moved to the States (from Hungary), etc, but we stayed in touch. I cannot say I forgot about being in love with him, but I needed to get on with my own life and I really fell in love with my (present) husband. (Kinda confusing – I know.)

    Anyway, exactly 4 years ago I had enough of my confused feelings and wanted to put an end to it. Thought I would write to him, kind of a closing letter, and that should be it.

    Boy was I wrong.

    On a Friday noon (June 24th) I got his reply. I was at work, and thank goodness it was a quiet day as I could hardly speak without bursting into cry for days. (My poor husband, he is a saint. He of course knew the whole story.)

    It turns out that it was the same old story, same old story. He was madly in love with me then, but as I was (khm… am) pretty wild and adventurous and his being a traditionally raised person, he was simply scared to take me as a partner for life. He had been desperate since, there was no day when he did not regret his decision etc etc.

    I almost had a nervous breakdown (no exaggeration here). Not that I was still in love with him (even if I had been, I was much wiser to leave it as it was and go on), but the fact that his weakness caused me then so much suffer (it really, really did, almost suicide) just made me extremely upset for days (weeks, months). Don’t misunderstand: no, he did not write to me all this because his marriage went wrong: they were still married, great partners with his wife, and so on. If I hadn’t initiated it he would never have told me about it.

    I am over it now. We still exchange some emails, but we strictly stay very formal (happy birthdays, invitations for performances of his, etc).

    Still hurts to think about it, if I wanna be honest.

    That Friday mail changed my life for sure. And am not sure for the better.
    .-= Kinga´s last blog ..Sunday Salon: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley =-.

  22. Debbie D says:

    Please include me in your giveaway.

  23. Pingback: The Sunday Salon – August 23, 2009 (The “bookish-links-for-Saturday-on-Sunday” edition) | BOOKS AND MOVIES

  24. Beth says:

    This was such a great story. Unfortunately, I borrowed the book from the library. I would love to add this book to my collection.
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..Today–Celebrating 17 Years! =-.

  25. Bloody Bad says:

    I almost skipped this giveaway because I couldn’t think of a letter of importance besides a very embarrassing one. Until now that is, my husband and I, while still boyfriend and girlfriend, gave my parents a framed picture of us for Christmas. We asked my father to flip the frame over and open it. Behind the picture was a letter to my father from my “boyfriend” asking for my hand in marriage. It was sweet and exciting.
    .-= Bloody Bad´s last blog ..In the mail =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Trin – that is a sweet story – what a wonderful thing for your husband to do!

  26. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies

    Nicole – no kidding, that’s a huge accomplishment!

  27. Susan Preece says:

    LOVED, LOVED the book. Truthfully, I’m still hovering near the end as I don’t want it to be over!

    Letter writing is a lost art. With e-mail, IM, texting and phone, we no longer write letters. When I was 11 years old I moved from Georgia to South Carolina. My best friend and I were so torn and living far away. I did have to tell her after receiving my first letter from her that Columbia, South Carolina was NOT Colombia, South America, and that she didn’t need to put USA in the address.

  28. Andrea says:

    I’ve heard so many great reviews about this book.

    The best letters I’ve received have been from my best friend. She recently spent six months out of the country and we decided to write letters to each other to stay in touch. It was a idea and felt so much more personal than just emails.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Andrea – I agree – a hand-written letter is definitely more personal.

  29. Pingback: Annie Barrows, author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, on tour August 2009 | TLC Book Tours

  30. Pingback: Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society « ReviewsbyLola's Blog

  31. Kaiet says:

    what a beautiful story! I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to come to another country for high school…