The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – Book Review

The story of how this book came to be is almost as adorable as the book itself. Mary Ann Shaffer was a former librarian who was once accidentally stranded on Guernsey and read all about the German occupation of the island in the WW2. Many years later, she decided to write a novel, and wrote this. Unfortunately, she was quite old at this stage and not very well, and so her niece, Annie Barrows, an author, took over the story. Shaffer passed away before it was published, so terribly sad.

The book is written as a series of letters which tell the story of Juliet Ashton in 1946. Juliet wrote a column during the war which was intended to keep spirits up for the British during the dark years of the war. Now that it’s over, she’s looking for a new project and ended up in correspondence with many residents of Guernsey who formed a book club during the occupation.

It’s a delightfully written book with wonderful characters and the letters are so charming to read. I particularly enjoyed the way it told so much about what happened during the war in a very casual, conversational way. You’ve got to love a book that leaves you wanting to go and live in that world for a while, and for me, this is absolutely one of those books.

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