Posts Tagged ‘Annie Barrows’

Wow, I’m 2 for 2 now!

Book 39 – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Juliet is a writer looking for a new story and something to inspire her in post-war London. Out of the blue she received a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams, who has come into possession of an old book of hers. He lives on the island of Guernsey which has been occupied during the war and the islanders are only just able to communicate with the outside world after years of isolation.

Juliet is intrigued and thus begins a fascination with the island, the people and their experiences of war, which fundamentally changes her writing, and her life.

The story is told primarily through letters between Juliet, her publisher, and the islanders, with a few others thrown into the mix here and there. Although some people only feature in one or two of the letters the whole creates a full and complex world. The experiences of war are summed up through loss and missed opportunities but also in great strength and humanity.

One of the most touching elements of the book is that one of the key characters is never actually seen, but lives on the page through the comments and reminiscences of others.

I bought this book and lent it to my mum before I read it – who proceeded to read it and then read it again straight away before I got it back, so I was intrigued how I would take to it myself.

I have to say that I found it witty, warm and spirited, with characters who often came alive in a way that would have been difficult with a different style – for example face to face meetings or different narrators.  There were side stories, characters who came and went in just a few words, and a sense of the complexity of life and humanity in the face of evil.

It is a book I have no doubt I will re-read in the future; I liked Juliet and her intelligent, funny and self-depreciating approach to life and the sense of hope for a future after the bleakness of the war. It’s sad that Shaffer only wrote one book because her style and voice are very readable and enjoyable.

It’s one I would recommend.

Happy reading,




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