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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

First published in 2008, this story was begun by librarian Mary Ann Shaffer in her seventieth year, after a series of incidents found her stranded on Guernsey one foggy night with nothing to read. She came across a book titled Jersey under the Jackboot.

Goaded into writing a book by her book club, she remembered what would turn out to be a fateful night on Jersey, electing to use the experience as the basis for a novel which she decided to write in epistolary style. Sadly she passed away in 2008, not long before her incredibly heart-warming novel was published.

The movie was released in April 2018 to mixed reviews, which as with many movies of delightfully different books, often fails to do them justice.

Not pretending to be anything other than what it is, the book tells the story of life under the Germans during World War 2 in a place that somehow has been largely forgotten on histories pages. Everything and yet nothing happened in Jersey and the Channel Islands during Hitler’s reign, as he considered this was the hopping off point once the Third Reich  had conquered Britain.

Shaffer and Barrows tell the story of the people who lived through this terribly tragic time, their loves, their hates and their incredibly inventive methods to survive what was indeed a gruesome and costly time for both them and eventually the German soldiers who were sent to the Islands.

Set in 1946, at the end of the war, when people had not yet recovered, or in many cases managed to rebuild broken and shattered lives, and based on fact, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society weaves a tale all to true via a series of letters with initially, one Dawsey Adams, to well-known writer Juliet Ashton, who at the time of receiving the first letter, was suffering writers block, reassessing her life and life in general.

Over a period of time she becomes fascinated with Guernsey and the people she has come to love through their letters to her and their love of books. She makes the decision to go there to meet the people whom have all become so dear and integral to her through their correspondence and in so doing, opens the door to another aspect of her life, as she eventually comes to accept the slow, calming and comfortable lifestyle being rebuilt.

In today’s world of action packed everything, it is delightfully delicious, almost a naughty pleasure, to read and enjoy a well-constructed storyline that always holds a little something in the wings to keep the reader entertained and guessing.

If you have seen the movie but not yet read the book, do so, you will be in for a delightful surprise.


Author Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Publisher Allen and Unwin
ISBN 9781760528089
Distributor Allen and Unwin
Released March 2018 - Film tie in