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Extended Audio Sample The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel Audiobook, by Mary Ann Shaffer Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.29636363636364 out of 54.29636363636364 out of 54.29636363636364 out of 54.29636363636364 out of 54.29636363636364 out of 5 4.30 (44 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2008 ISBN: 9780739368442
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“ 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • I can’t remember the last time I discovered a novel as smart and delightful as this one, a world so vivid that I kept forgetting this was a work of fiction populated with characters so utterly wonderful that I kept forgetting they weren’t my actual friends and neighbors. Treat yourself to this book please—I can’t recommend it highly enough. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
  • Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows have written a wondrous, delightful, poignant book— part Jane Austen, part history lesson.  The letters in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society aren't addressed to you, but they are meant for you.  It's a book everyone should read.  An absolute treasure. Sarah Addison Allen, author of Garden Spells
  • A jewel...Poignant and keenly observed...A small masterpiece about love, war and the immeasurable sustenance to be found in good books and good friends. People
  • Warm, life-affirming prose … an ideal choice for book groups, and also for individual readers. St. Petersburg Times
  • "Delightful ... One of those joyful books that celebrates how reading brings people together. New Orleans Times-Picayune
  • Charming…. [Heroine] Juliet finds in the letters not just inspiration for her next work, but also for her life—as readers will. Publishers Weekly
  • "[ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is] a nifty little cloth whose warp is bibliophilia and whose weft is Anglophilia.... I could not put the book down. I have recommended it to all my friends. Erica Marcus, Newsday
  • A poignant, funny novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.... This one is a treat. Boston Globe
  • A sure winner…. Elizabeth and Juliet are appealingly reminiscent of game but gutsy ’40s movie heroines. Kirkus Reviews
  • Fast, fresh.... A perfect novel for adaptation by Masterpiece Theater. Santa Cruz Sentinel
  • It's tempting to throw around terms like 'gem' when reading a book like this. But The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is not precious...This is a book for firesides or long train rides. It's a charming and timeless as the novels for which its characters profess their love. San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
  • “A book-lover's delight, an implicit and sometimes explicit paean to all things literary. Chicago Sun-Times

    “I’ve never wanted to join a [book] club as desperately as I did while reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society…. [The novel] is a labor of love, and it shows on almost every page.
  • [A] marvelous debut.... Reminiscent of Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road , this is a warm, funny, tender, and thoroughly entertaining celebration of the power of the written word. Library Journal
  • A 2008 Christian Science Monitor Book of the Year for Fiction
  • A 2008 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2008 Washington Post Best Book for Fiction
  • Winner of the 2009 Indies Choice Book Award for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lillian O'neal manning | 2/16/2014

    " One of the best books I've ever read! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cindy Binns | 2/13/2014

    " not crazy about this book. Found myself just scanning pages to finish. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 2/6/2014

    " I enjoyed this book as a whole, but found it difficult to get into. Not a book you can read small bits at a time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth Aldape | 2/4/2014

    " Reading this is like receiving a hug from a warm, comfy, gingerbread-scented grandma. I will come back from more, I am certain! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn Andrew | 2/1/2014

    " I am so glad i finally got around to reading this. A lovely story that covers some very dark history vividly while still managing to be light, affectionate and humorous. The style of the book, written in part as letters, offered excellent descriptions and insight into the characters, Guernsey and the islanders experience during and after the war. The characters in the literary society are wonderful and the romantic storyline is an added bonus. i loved this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gwyn Brodie | 1/31/2014

    " I really liked the book! A friend at work loaned it to me and I read it, not certain whether or not I would like it. But when I got into it, I couldn't put it down. I loved the letters and didn't want them to end. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Emma Fulton | 1/30/2014

    " It took me a while to get into, and in the end it became all rather predictable. A sweet story, but not for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edie | 1/16/2014

    " I liked the postcard style approach and the very British humor. Learned something about WWII occupation as a bonus. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ruth | 12/27/2013

    " It unfolds like a true friendship. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christina Bulgin | 12/10/2013

    " Poignant and cheeky wrapped together. I loved the characters! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily Gray | 12/5/2013

    " Was a little worried about the "letter" format of this book, but it actually worked really well once you figured out who everyone was. Adorable. Charming. Brilliant. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erica | 11/16/2013

    " A real charmer. The book equivalent of warming comfort food. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorraine Taylor | 11/2/2013

    " A charming and heartwarming tale with a love of books and storytelling at its centre. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tanja | 11/2/2013

    " Insightful, charming and intelligent. A must-read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 B | 10/25/2013

    " What a terrific book! Told as a series of letters, this story is about the very diverse people who live on one of the English Channel islands occupied by the Germans during WW II and how one person in particular affected so many different lives. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Britt | 6/10/2013

    " I loved this book! A truly great historical fiction with a touch of romance. I highly recommend it, the best book I've read, so far this year! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melody | 5/14/2013

    " This was the perfect book for spring break - light, funny, compelling and interesting. I don't generally buy books until I have read them and decide they are worth a keeping-copy, and I think this will be one for that special shelf! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darry C. | 4/21/2013

    " Great read. Loved the style of the novel and the writers' wit. An interesting perspective from victims of the German Occupation. The Afterword was very interesting as well and how the book came to have two writers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Darby | 4/6/2013

    " Loved this strangely titled book. Never judge a book by it's cover. . .or name. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gossamer | 10/13/2012

    " I thought this would be the sort of twee, terribly precious novel that I hate but I was wrong. It's delightful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holly Elrod | 10/13/2012

    " Not normally my type of go-to book, but I read this one for my book club and it was absolutely precious. Now I'm dreaming of moving to Guernsey. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gena | 8/4/2012

    " sweet novel. nothing earth shattering. most interesting to learn of german occupation of that area. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Fischer | 5/30/2012

    " Loved this. It's one of those books that charm you as you read on. The letters to and from the main characters forming the structure of two love stories in the present and the past. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha Johnson | 5/24/2012

    " WOnderful and unique story. Stays with me. The island has such boundaries and the war exacerbated them on many levels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tillie | 3/29/2012

    " Difficult to start but I really enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Spring Keeley | 12/4/2011

    " you have to wonder if this is a true story and just a yarn:) well written either way "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicky Bartlett | 11/18/2011

    " A charming read which was both informative and well written. Would and have recommended it to a friend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan Mcdonald | 8/2/2011

    " I absolutely adored this book! The writing was so beautiful...so poetic...I didn't want it to end. I had this novel on my bookshelf for over a year and cannot believe I waited so long to read it. It is definitely one of my all time favorite novels. L-O-V-E!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sheri | 6/15/2011

    " Loved this book!! Such a fun, easy & happy read! Didn't really know what to expect going in, but I loved it. It would make a fantastic movie. I found myself imagining the film in my head as I read it. A real treat! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bethany | 5/24/2011

    " It took me a little bit to get into the book, especially being written in letters, but once I did I loved the story - except for the swearing, it would have been even better. I love it when books have happy endings :-) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie | 5/24/2011

    " Love WWII historical fiction, but this was not my favorite. I liked it and it's a quick read, but not my favorite. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 5/24/2011

    " Great, lively and I learned a lot about the German occupation of the Guernsey Island. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 RoseAnna | 5/24/2011

    " This is my favorite book of all time. It was so refreshing and fun to read. I love to format of the story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 5/23/2011

    " Wonderful Book!!!!! One of the best I read so far. This book is a series of letters written back and forth from a writer to a society formed during the German occupation of their island during World War II. You actually feel as though you were witnessing what happened through these letters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bethgentner | 5/23/2011

    " I falsely thought this would be a lighter read. Instead it is a close, thought provoking look at what went on during WWII. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bridgett | 5/23/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book. It was fun to see the story played out through only letters. I have read this style book before and really enjoy getting to know the characters through their own pen.

    I would recommend this book.

    Thanks Lynzee! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Harry | 5/22/2011

    " Usually detest this format in story telling but I love this story "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Josie | 5/22/2011

    " This is the most beautiful book I have ever read. Heartbreakingly sad in places, but full of warmth and hope and humour. I loved it. ♥ "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelley | 5/22/2011

    " Wasn't sure how I would like the letter form, but after a few pages I really enjoyed the different voices.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marianne | 5/22/2011

    " So, I started this last night about 10:00, and stopped at midnight because I don't want it to end...

    It lasted 'til mid-afternoon and it was a good as everyone said it was. I LOVED it. I didn't want it to end, I want to move to Guernsey, I just loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 MaryJo | 5/22/2011

    " I loved this book! It drew me in, kept me interested, tugged at my heart, and taught me something. I have been reading lots of books lately, and this was one of the best. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angie | 5/21/2011

    " You MUST read this book; so endearing, so poignant, such great characters. I blew through it in 4 hours. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marva | 5/21/2011

    " I thought the plot was original and interesting and the characterizations seemed vivid. I didn't like that the characters would periodically take the Lord's name in vain. "

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About the Author
Author Mary Ann ShafferMary 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.