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Preview: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Preview: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I’ll admit I hadn’t heard of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society until I read a Variety article talking about the movie based on this book, which stars Lily James and will appear on Netflix in August. The title is intriguing so I decided to add the book to my library queue.

Here’s the official synopsis:

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January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.


The backstory of the book sounds just as interesting as the story itself. Aunt-and-niece team of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows wrote this novel. Shaffer wrote the original manuscript and it was accepted for publication. However, Shaffer’s health had deteriorated (she eventually passed away in Feb. 2008). So she asked her niece Barrows, an author of children’s literature, to complete the rewriting, and that’s why she’s listed as a co-author.

I plan to read this one before it airs on Netflix so check back soon for a review.

And here’s the trailer :