The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

I just inhaled most of this book after handing in my dissertation this morning. The story of an unconventional Literary Society formed during the German occupation of Guernsey during the Second World War and a London writer's new friendship with its members and told entirely in letters, it is a joyful slip of a book, a cup of tea and a cat by the fire, a comforting place to live for a few hours. Writer Juliet's voice is witty, warm and kind, and her relationships with the various characters of the book - her publisher Sidney, best friend Susan, and the islanders she befriends - are heartwarmingly lovely.


It's a book to inhabit, really, more than to read for plot; though things do happen, they are of the comically provincial variety (which is not to say that they are not moving); though tragedy does trouble the island, it is cuddled, stroked, swathed in love and friendship until it gives up and goes away. In fact, it reminds me very much of the BBC drama Call the Midwife: relentlessly cheerful in the face of all the horrors that the war can throw at it, relentlessly soft-hearted and positive about the ability of a society to regenerate itself. It is a wonderful balm for stress, if nothing else.