Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer - Review

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Fiction, Paperback, 274 pgs.

Dial Press (July 2008)

I really enjoyed this story about England's Guernsey Island in the years following its occupation by the Germans during World War Two. The personal experiences and memories of several islanders in letters to a English writer tell the story and it's a very interesting one. Rationing and food shortages, getting along with the Germans-or not, subversive acts, serious and not so serious, the entire absence of children for two years; they had been shipped to the mainland for safety before the invasion. These are some of the details that make this a fascinating and sometimes heart-breaking, sometimes humourous story.
The title refers to a book group, started inadvertently under clandestine circumstances that lasted throughout the war and beyond. This is one book group I'd like to have belonged to. Interesting literary references, lots of history, a warm and poignant story of hope and heartbreak, I liked it all. A lovely cover too. A nice gift book, especially for those with memories of the time period. Four and a half stars out of five. Highly recommended.

Also reviewed by wordlily and Embejo.
Mary Ann Shaffer worked as an editor, a librarian and in bookshops. This was her first book , written with the help of her niece Annie Barrows who is is a well-known author of childrens books in California.
Thank you to Dial Press and LibraryThing for providing me with a review copy.

If you've read or reviewed this book please leave comments or links. I'd love to read them.

Next review: A Jerusalem Tale by Haim Sabato.
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  1. This is also on my wish list! I haven't got a copy of it yet, but if it's still there come December I'll be asking "Santa" for it :)

  2. Very nice review. And it really is such a lovely book! So sad that Mary Ann Shaffer is gone now.

  3. Here's my review of this one:

  4. Thank you for reviewing this book! I'll surely add it to my wish lost!

  5. I have not read this yet, but I heard it's wonderful. Thanks for the review!

  6. I read this last year, and enjoyed it. I found it a fascinating slice of history which prompted me to read more about these Islands. While dealing with a subject as terrible as war, I feel the author managed to keep it light with a touch of humour which I liked.
    My review here:



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