The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


This lovely novel was penned by Mary Ann Shaffer who was assisted by her niece Annie Brrows when her health began to fail. Sadly, Mary Ann died before her first novel was published.

First off, my radar immediately seeks out books with a food theme included in the title.  This novel is not quite so food thematic as some of my favourites (Like water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Chocolat by Joanne Harris), but held some very delicious imagery.  “So refreshments became part of our program.  Since there was scant butter, (referring to a time during World Warr II) less flour and no sugar to spare on Guernsey then, Will concocted a potato peel pie: mashed potatoes for filling, strained beets for sweetness and potato peelings for crust.” 

Secondly, it is an epistolary novel and I have a soft spot for those. I kind of think of them as the blogs of the literary world and it they make me feel like I’m reading and snooping in someone’s life with their permission.

Thirdly, I thoroughly related to the heroine of the story: “In every nook I find things that tell me about her.  She was a noticer, Sydney, like me, for all the shelves were lined with shells, bird feathers, dried sea grasses, pebbles, eggshells and the skeleton of something that might be a bat.  They were just bits that were lying on the ground that anyone else would step over or on but she saw that they were beautiful and brought them home.”

The story is primarily about little snippets of every day life and that too holds a fondness for me.  This is why I am so enthralled by the novels of Jan Caron and Alexander McCall Smith. 

And finally, I loved the book because of what it was all about-

the courage to hope…to love and… to hope to love.

Kath’s quote: “The potato, like man, was not meant to dwell alone.”-Shila Hibben”

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