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  • Writer's pictureJoellen Kemper

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

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

Occasionally, you finish a book that leaves you in such a dreamy state that you aren't quite sure how you managed to keep your body attached to your head for the rest of the day.

(Okay. Maybe that might happen to me more than just occasionally)

But...imagine Amy Sherman-Palladino combined Lorelai and Rory into one character, and her name was Juliet. One day, as Juliet is lost and discouraged while trying to find a topic for her next book, "Luke" (whose actual name is Dawsey and she has never met previously) writes her a letter pining over a beloved book of hers that came to be in his possession. This starts a whole back and forth between the two, which leads into the world of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.-A Stars Hollow of sorts; filled with characters that you immediately come to love, including the crotchety old one that you really should hate.

Juliet dives deeper in to the happenings of TGLPPPS as all of its members also start corresponding and explaining just how much the society meant to them during the Nazi occupation of their island. She forms the most beautiful relationships, and I will leave it unto you to see what becomes of them...

In this book, Shaffer had me giggling in one moment and then turning around and crying in the next. This might be one of the most heartfelt books I've ever read. As I researched the author, I was saddened to find out that she died just months short of its publication. She was a librarian and editor that had always dreamed of publishing her own book. I grieve the fact that she was not able to see its success, connect with its readers and did not have the chance to impart to us any other stories.

I'll leave with one final quote from the author's niece that should give you a little taste of what you are in for if you pick up this book:

"I think that Mary Ann knew, before she died, that her book was going to be well received, but no one could ever be entirely prepared for the avalanche of acclaim that greeted its publication. As first the booksellers, then the reviewers, and finally actual readers got their hands on the book, we noticed that their praise often took the same form-the book was quirky, unlike anything else, charming, vivid, other words, it was like Mary Ann herself. Suddenly, the rest of the world had a seat at the table where I had been feasting my whole life, and, as with any family party, they clustered around Mary Ann, weeping with laughter--or sorrow--as her stories billowed forth. "

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