The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society: A Love Letter


Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows guernsey
Publisher: Dial Press
Publication Date: 2008
Genre: Fiction; Historical Fiction, Epistolary
Source: Amazon Buy
Rating: ★★★★

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

THE STORY | The year is 1946, and the war is over, though the consequences from it aren’t. London is still rationed and residents are trying to remember what normality looks like. One of whom is Juliet Ashton, a Londoner who’s trivial fictional books (under a pseudonym) gave a nation hope in a dark time. Now the war is over, and Juliet wants her writing to be more than the inspiration for a good laugh. Now, she wants to write something real – something that matters.

Her life, and these plans change when she receives a letter from a man named Dawsey…

REVIEW | ‘Guernsey’ is one of those novels on the receiving end of much praise. It’s also found many readers over its many years in print. I was not among this group. There’s no real reason for this except that I didn’t really know the details of this novel, plus historical fiction isn’t something I read much of. It wasn’t until news broke that a period drama with this same title was to go into production that curiosity got the best of me. A good period drama (with a superb cast to accompany it) goes a long way in securing this girl’s attention. Needless to say, after this, reading the book become more of a priority.

The story inside these pages is all heart and gumption. This is true of the present and the past as the plot slowly reveals through the letters of Guernsey’s residents. The spunky nature of the story is thanks to two heroines (who am I kidding; all of the characters are spunky!). The obvious heroine is Juliet, and the other is Elizabeth (who I suspect we’ll see a better portrait of in the film). Both women are unique, but also share many similarities.

“I don’t want to be married just to be married. I can’t think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, someone I can’t be silent with.” – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  

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This leads me to the characters. 99% of these characters are likable like no other cast of characters I’ve (recently) met. It’s rare to like all of the characters in a book, which is why this makes such an impression. They’re full of personality, spunk and much empathy. I’d even wage a guess to say they’re the kind of people we wish to surround one’s self with because they care and are genuine.

War puts them through unimaginable sorrow, and yet through it all, they press on – they live and don’t just exist. This is a rare and beautiful quality even in our world today, which is fortunate. Everyone is memorable right down to the adorable Kit, but it’s Juliet who makes the greatest impression. She’s a heroine with heart, and her humor is infectious.

As one reader in a spontaneous read-along (which I kind of “fell” out of, and feel terrible about), I think it’s safe to say, everyone who reads this one finds this book memorable. It’s one of those books that lingers with the reader after you turn the final page. For me personally, it’s one I can see myself re-reading. Maybe not next month or next year, but someday. It’s a beautiful story full of heart and memories we don’t want to forget – nor do we wish to leave this story. Suffice to say, not only do I adore this story, but the Netflix film’s promise to be gorgeous is another source of excitement. ♥

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed this story. I too, procrastinated in reading this book, mainly because I was scared it wouldn't live up to its' hype. But I found it to be simply charming.

    1. (Apologies for the reply delay!!)

      I did, Brittaney! It's such a lovely story of hope and joy. Plus, Juliet? She's one of THE best heroines in lit. Ever. :)

  2. I've honestly never heard of this book, but I have heard of the movie! I'm glad that you enjoyed it so much. The characters sound amazing!

    1. (Apologies for the reply delay!!)

      I'm so glad I enjoyed this one too, Lauren. There's something magical about this story despite it NOT being a fantasy novel. :D

  3. Great review, I thought it was a bit slow going to begin with but really fell in love with the characters – especially Dawsey! It's a long time since I've fallen that hard for a man in a book, haha. The film definitely did him justice too :D

    1. (Apologies for the reply delay!!)

      I think there is something to that, Catherine. I didn't really feel engaged until a few letters in, but I think that was my "adjustment" period to the style. :) Dawsey is a charming character and I agree. He's SO easy to fall for – and the actor who portrayed him? Brilliant! :)

  4. The first time I read this book, when I reached the end, I just turned right back to page one and read it over again because I couldn't bear to leave all the characters yet. It's sooooooooooooooooooooo delicious.

    1. (Apologies for the reply delay!!)

      Aww, that's awesome, Rachel. I'm so glad this book makes that type of impression – and I do understand! The characters are so warm. Love them all. :)

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