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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Cover of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

A Novel
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers." 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....

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society's members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.
From the Hardcover edition.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers." 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....

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society's members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.
From the Hardcover edition.
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  • From the book

    Part One


    8th January, 1946
    Mr. Sidney Stark, Publisher
    Stephens & Stark Ltd.
    21 St. James's Place
    London S.W.1
    England

    Dear Sidney,
    Susan Scott is a wonder. We sold over forty copies of the book, which was very pleasant, but much more thrilling from my standpoint was the food. Susan managed to procure ration coupons for icing sugar and real eggs for the meringue. If all her literary luncheons are going to achieve these heights, I won't mind touring about the country. Do you suppose that a lavish bonus could spur her on to butter? Let's try it—you may deduct the money from my royalties.

    Now for my grim news. You asked me how work on my new book is progressing. Sidney, it isn't.

    English Foibles seemed so promising at first. After all, one should be able to write reams about the Society to Protest the Glorification of the English Bunny. I unearthed a photograph of the Vermin Exterminators' Trade Union, marching down an Oxford street with placards screaming "Down with Beatrix Potter!" But what is there to write about after a caption? Nothing, that's what.

    I no longer want to write this book—my head and my heart just aren't in it. Dear as Izzy Bickerstaff is—and was—to me, I don't want to write anything else under that name. I don't want to be considered a light-hearted journalist anymore. I do acknowledge that making readers laugh—or at least chuckle—during the war was no mean feat, but I don't want to do it anymore. I can't seem to dredge up any sense of proportion or balance these days, and God knows one cannot write humor without them.
    In the meantime, I am very happy Stephens & Stark is making money on Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War. It relieves my conscience over the debacle of my Anne Bront biography.

    My thanks for everything and love,
    Juliet

    P.S. I am reading the collected correspondence of Mrs. Montagu. Do you know what that dismal woman wrote to Jane Carlyle? "My dear little Jane, everybody is born with a vocation, and yours is to write charming little notes." I hope Jane spat on her.


    From Sidney to Juliet
    10th January, 1946
    Miss Juliet Ashton
    23 Glebe Place
    Chelsea
    London S.W. 3

    Dear Juliet:
    Congratulations! Susan Scott said you took to the audience at the luncheon like a drunkard to rum—and they to you—so please stop worrying about your tour next week. I haven't a doubt of your success. Having witnessed your electrifying performance of "The Shepherd Boy Sings in the Valley of Humiliation" eighteen years ago, I know you will have every listener coiled around your little finger within moments. A hint: perhaps in this case, you should refrain from throwing the book at the audience when you finish.

    Susan is looking forward to ushering you through bookshops from Bath to Yorkshire. And of course, Sophie is agitating for an extension of the tour into Scotland. I've told her in my most infuriating older-brother manner that It Remains To Be Seen. She misses you terribly, I know, but Stephens & Stark must be impervious to such considerations.

    I've just received Izzy's sales figures from London and the Home Counties—they are excellent. Again, congratulations!

    Don't fret about English Foibles; better that your enthusiasm died now than after six months spent writing about bunnies. The crass commercial possibilities of the idea were attractive, but I agree that the topic would soon grow horribly fey. Another subject—one you'll like—will occur to you.

    Dinner one evening before you go? Say when.

    Love,
    Sidney

    P.S. You write charming little...
About the Author-
  • Mary Ann Shaffer has worked as an editor, a librarian, and in bookshops. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is her first novel. Her niece, Annie Barrows, is the author of the children's series Ivy and Bean, as well as The Magic Half. They both live in northern California.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine The curious listener will be intrigued with this audiobook, from the origin of its title to the final letter in this epistolary marvel, which is truly perfect on audio. A most unlikely and unexpected book club is established during the German occupation of Guernsey, in the British Channel Islands. Five narrators bring alive the letters exchanged between a young author, Juliet Ashton (Susan Duerdin), and her London publisher, as well as her "new" friends from the isle of Guernsey. The unfolding of the story through the different voices is completely charming, joyful, sad, and uplifting. The astute casting and scintillating performances by John Lee, Juliet Mills, and Paul Boehmer bring honed, authentic speech and manners to the characters. A special nod to Rosalyn Landor, who reads the letters of Isola, the herbalist and would-be Miss Marple, and other quirky island characters. Really--every one is a delight. R.F.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
  • AudioFile Magazine The curious listener will be intrigued with this audiobook, from the origin of its title to the final letter in this epistolary marvel, which is truly perfect on audio. A most unlikely and unexpected book club is established during the German occupation of Guernsey, in the British Channel Islands. Five narrators bring alive the letters exchanged between a young author, Juliet Ashton (Susan Duerden), and her London publisher, as well as her "new" friends from the isle of Guernsey. The unfolding of the story through the different voices is completely charming, joyful, sad, and uplifting. The astute casting and scintillating performances by John Lee, Juliet Mills, and Paul Boehmer bring honed, authentic speech and manners to the characters. A special nod to Rosalyn Landor, who reads the letters of Isola, the herbalist and would-be Miss Marple, and other quirky island characters. Really--every one is a delight. R.F.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
A Novel
Annie Barrows
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