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Showing 1-10 of 2,615 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 3,992 reviews
on November 10, 2016
Before downloading this book based on a recommendation from a dear friend I was skeptical due to the incredibly long title. Thank goodness I was taught to never judge a book by its cover. 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' is charming, unique, and absolutely one of the best reads I've ever come across.

I had forgotten what huge fan I was of epistolary novels, until diving into this book. The writing used immediately brought back memories of a few of my favorite childhood reads. It took little effort before I became utterly captivated by this page turner.

The authors ability to verbally paint the characters left me imagining distinct voices for each of them. This read felt as though I was watching a play, as the story unfolded one page at time. However, consider yourself warned, this book caused a few late nights and very rough mornings because I was incapable of putting it down.

I agree with a few of the other reviews, I wanted this story to be longer. Following this book I had an extremely difficult time finding another that I could really dive into because I NEEDED more from Mary Ann Shaffer. Her touching story about a community coming together during dark times took me on a roller coaster of emotions and will be at the top of my list of recommended reads for anyone who likes historical fiction and enjoys epistolary novels such as the 'Dear America' series by Ellen Emerson White.

I rarely write reviews and I was not compensated in any way, shape, or form to do so, which I hope speaks volumes of my sincere fondness for this book.
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on January 20, 2017
One of the best books I've read in a while. Loved the story. Loved the letters back and forth. Loved the characters. Great historical fiction. Learned a lot. So sorry to hear the author passed away. I was looking forward to other books written by her.
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on October 22, 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but it took a bit to get started with the entire book being in letters... making it hard to identify characters and relationships. After reading more, that became those problems were rectified (I got to know the characters and relationships). I enjoyed the varied characters and their personalities, but mostly enjoyed a different experience of the war from the civilian side. Troubling for sure so I am not sure "enjoyed" is the right word, but it made the suffering and the strength of human spirit to endure, recover and find joy again (however scarred) a good read.
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on October 31, 2015
I almost took a pass on this novel because of the title (it really is the best title). Thank goodness a friend who’d read this book was with me and recommended it! I started reading the book that day and finished it that night, feeling as satisfied—possibly even more—as I might while savoring a scrumptious hot fudge sundae or some other favorite food. Then I did something I very seldom do: I read the book again the next day and then again a week later. I’ve just reread it for the fifth time.

Authors Mary Ann Shaffer (no relation, and a different spelling) and Annie Barrows used letters, telegrams, and several diary entries from on-stage and several off-stage characters to tell a story that shifts its tone in a pleasing kaleidoscopic manner. Much of the story is light, breezy, fun, and poignant, but there are some segments that take you briefly into dark places—they’re necessary for the story to be as whole and based on fact as it is.

The authors did a tremendous amount of research in order to turn post-war-torn London and the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands into such an engaging experience for readers, and with settings you see clearly in your mind. You get a sense of what people who lived in both places at the time went through before, during, and after the war, and this is wrapped within luscious layers of the main character’s experiences. Main character, Juliet Ashton, is a writer with a personality that can make readers wish they knew her, or were like her. And who wouldn’t want to have friends in their life like those she made in Guernsey.

Within the story, the authors threw in some turns of phrases that are true jewels. No matter how many times I’ve read this book, when I reach the phrases I refer to, I still have to pause and appreciate them or laugh out loud, depending on the phrase. As a book editor, nothing pleases me more than a story told well and a truly clever use of words. This book accomplishes this from the first word to the last. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you do.
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on November 24, 2015
I had put off reading this book for years! I guess the name of the book somehow just did not sound right. Everyone I knew loved it. My book club does not read a book for December, just parties, so I decided to finally give this book a try. Wow! Once I got into it, it was hard to put down. If you like literature, reading, and history, this book is a must. My only criticism was the format - written as a series of letters. Many times I was confused as to who was writing to whom. Give yourself an early Christmas present. Read it, enjoy it, and savor every word.
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on January 16, 2017
I bought this book from a discount ebook vendor having not heard about it when it was a best seller in 2008. I loved this book from beginning. The author did a wonderful job on the voice of each character, moving from viewpoint to viewpoint through letters, weaving back and forth between the war and the novel's present in 1946. If someone had told me it was an epistolary novel, I would have had my doubts about reading it, but it was fabulous! I looked forward to sitting down with it every night and I haven't been able to say that about too many books lately. Very moving story at several different levels—the effect of WWII occupation on Guernsey Island, the character of the stalwart people of the Island, strong women, as memorable as those of Jane Austen and the Brontes, and very well written. So much to enjoy and so much to admire. I've already recommended it to several friends.
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on April 8, 2017
I had a hard time getting into the book in the beginning. Keeping track of the characters and their relationships through the writing of letters. But when I gave myself time to sit and read, I fell in love with the Guernsey community and their people. For the last two days I could not put it down. Such a great book and interesting details on the Occupation and the little known places that were effected. I want more.
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on February 12, 2013
I found a reference to this book as I was researching Guernsey in anticipation of a trip there later this year. It sounded so intriguing, I ordered the kindle edition in order to "get to it" as soon as possible. I could not put the book down until I finished it. It is beautifully and creatively written, with remarkable characters. As an author, I strive to create characters that become real to the reader, and the people who populate this book certainly meet this criteria. Although usually not a fan of the use of a collection of letters to tell a story, this was so well composed, the letters so captivating, it was the best method of telling the story. The wit is such that I laughed out loud many times as I read. The history of German occupation of the Islands was unknown to me, and very informative. I immediately told my daughters about this book, after only reading a few pages, knowing how much they love good writing. I will travel to Guernsey already feeling I know the countryside and the people.

I feel extremely lucky that I found this author (and the relative that completed it when she became ill).
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This book is really SWEET in just the right amount. It is like savoring your favorite dessert or licking the bowl clean when you're baking a cake. It reminded me of Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe: A Novel in its feeling and sensibility. It's hard not to like this book a lot.

The novel is about a London journalist and writer named Juliet who forges a relationship with the people of Guernsey (a British Island in the Channel Islands between France and Great Britain). She finds out that they were occupied by the Germans for five years during World War II and formed a literary society at the same time. She begins a correspondence with some members of the society and friendships are made. In fact, the entire book is formatted as a series of letters from and to Julia by the people of Guernsey and her oldest friends. The people of Guernsey are eccentric and wonderful. You'd love to have most of them as neighbors or in your book club.

Juliet is a delight. She is open-minded and curious. She survived the bombings in London but her flat was destroyed. Her publisher is Sidney. Sidney and his sister, Sophie, are Juliet's best friends. The Guernsey crowd consists of Isola who makes potions and does phrenology; Dawsey is a pig farmer, a lover of Charles Lamb and a Jack of all trades; Eben is a stalwart survivor raising his grandson; Amelia is the kind-hearted matriarch of the island; Kit is 4 years old and Elizabeth's daughter; and then there is Elizabeth, the glue that holds the folks of Guernsey together.

Mary Ann Shaffer, one of the two authors, states in her acknowledgments that "...art - be it poetry, storytelling, painting, sculpture, or music - enables people to transcend any barrier man has yet devised." She has succeeded in bringing fruition to this statement with this novel.
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on March 10, 2016
I enjoyed the book. While it is not perfect, it is unpretentious and is no more and no less than it was intended to be. It reminded me of history with which I was not as familiar as I should have been. The book is clearly delineated into two parts as far as the quality of the writing and arrangement goes, the characters interesting if a bit stereotypical and the whole tale a description of a social microcosmic environment at a particular juncture. It was diverting and easy to read.
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