Book Review, Fiction

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Book Cover The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
Historical Fiction, Romance
The Dial Press
July 29th, 2008


"January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…. " - Goodreads

The GLAPPPS (even an acronym is to long) is an epistolary and feels like a story told purely through gossip. I was reading the book at a time when I was under a great deal of stress. Guernsey turned out to be a calming cup of chamomile tea.  

It might have aspirations toward being a romance or a war novel, but is really too bland to be either. The romance is numbed down through the retelling in the letters. The horrors and trauma of war is nudged at, but it has no real bite. It’s hard to balance the perfect idyllic island life and Nazi occupation.

I liked reading it as it’s calming presence lulled my worries. The characters are very appealing to spend time with, but I’m not convinced that I would have finishes the book if I was in a calmer mindset.

It’s sweet, rose-tinted, a bit of Mary-Suing and any real drama is quickly resolved.

It is about a literary society, in passing, but the choice of authors discussed is a bit conventional. All the classics appear. The Brontës, Austen, Dickens, Wilde, etc.

Jane Austen is referenced a few times and I think the story might have benefited being written in her style. At least the romance aspect of it.

So, the story as a whole is an interesting concept, but overall it is vanilla fluff.

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