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

I'm sorry I can't send you my notes on Charlotte and Emily [Bronte]--I used them to kindle a fire in my cookstove, there being no other paper in the house. I'd already burnt up my tide tables, the Book of Revelation, and the story about Job.

from page 52 of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.

from page 53 of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. According to a review that I read for the novel, Shaffer died before it was published; Barrows, her niece, finished and edited the novel for publication.

The novel is set in post-war London and Guernsey Island; World War II has literally just ended--it is 1946--and London, Guernsey Island, and its citizens are struggling to rebuild their towns, their homes and their lives. They are wondering if and when life will ever return to normal and how do they move on as if nothing has ever happened when the wounds of war are not yet healed.

The novel tells the story of how a London writer befriends the people of Guernsey and finds a home and family there. This is a story of postwar England--how the people survived the war and their struggle to rebuild and heal in the wake of war. It is also a story of how a unique group of people read and discussed books and used literature to cope with the German occupation of their island. The characters are eccentric with vivid voices--the entire novel consists of correspondences written back and forth between the London writer and various others. While the novel's characters each bring levity to the novel with their antics, this is set in stark relief against the heartfelt, tragic descriptions of life on Guernsey and in London during and after the war.

Readers who love historical fiction will love this novel; readers who love novels with the love of reading at their centers will also love this novel. Readers who just love a good book will love this one. I highly recommend you read it--you will not regret it. It is available upon request from Lebanon Community Library, Annville Free Library, Myerstown Community Library and Palmyra Public Library.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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