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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

TITLE: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
AUTHOR: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
NARRATORS: Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landon, John Lee, and Juliet Mills
PUBLISHER: Random House Audio
FORMAT: Unabridged CDs - 8 hours, 6 minutes
GENRE: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-0739368435


"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'd never met, a native of Guernsey, the British island once occupied by the Nazis. He'd come across her name on the flyleaf of a secondhand volume by Charles Lamb. Perhaps she could tell him where he might find more books by this author." 

"As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a unique book club formed in a unique, spur-of-the-moment way: as an alibi to protect its members from arrest by the Germans." 

"Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the Society's charming, deeply human members, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Through their letters she learns about their island, their taste in books, and the powerful, transformative impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds there will change her forever." 

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.


This is the book that started it all for me!

One of my colleagues recommended this book to me. She raved about it so much that I knew I just had to read it. But when would I have the time?? I have not read any books "for pleasure" since before my elder daughter was born, so that is eight long years...too long! I have always been an avid reader ever since I was a child, and I read a ton of books with the girls, but none for myself.

The library had a very long waiting list for this book, but the CDs were available. Since I spend about three hours each week driving to and from work, I thought that would be an ideal time for me to listen to the book. Now, oral comprehension was one of my least favourite subjects in school. I always found it difficult to listen to long ramblings and then have to answer mind always tended to wander. Not so with this audiobook! I found myself getting lost in the lively narration. I wasn't simply listening to someone read: There are different voices for different characters, and you can hear the emotion in their voices. It was like watching a play with my eyes closed. Great performances by the narrators!

The book is a series of letters written between an author and a group of residents living on the island of Guernsey. The book takes places shortly after the German occupation following World War II, with the first letter being written in January 1946. This is not the type of book that I would have picked up to read in a million years. The subject of the book just did not suit my taste. It sounded boring! Boy, was I wrong!!

I cannot rave enough how fantastic this book is!! I believe that -- had I read the book -- I would not have found it nearly so interesting! The narrators are fantastic, and I found myself falling in love with Juliet (narrated by Susan Duerdin) and Dawsey (narrated by either Paul Boehmer or John Lee) and Isola (narrated by Rosalyn Landor). I couldn't wait to see how the book ended, but I also dreaded reaching the end because I wanted it to go on and on!

The author weaves historical content into the fiction, and I found myself fascinated with the time period. This book has become my favourite book of all time!

MY RATING: 5 stars!! Loved it!!!!!!!



  1. Your blog looks great.

    Our company has been representing authors for the past twenty years. We would love to add you to our database to receive press releases from them regarding books applicable to the genres you review.

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    Ken Eason
    Bostick Communications

  2. Thank you for visiting my blog, Ken! I would be pleased to be added to your database. I will send you an email in this regard.

  3. I first heard about this book when I was sin high school and started to take an interest in literary fiction. It appeared on Barnes and Noble's Top 100 books and peaked my interest. Unfortunately, I never pursued that interest but this book has remained on my must-read list ever since. I love eccentric characters and unusual situations and I imagine that listening to the book must be an even better experience than just reading it. This sounds really great! I hope I do eventually end up reading it:)

  4. This does sound like one of those books that would be great as an audiobook. For some reason, there are always a handful that I love more listening to than reading - must be the great narration. The summary has my curiosity piqued - it's a little out of my comfort zone for reading, but I trust my book reviewers.

  5. Thank you for sharing about this book with us today. Often we have had similar tastes in books and I think if you are that excited about it, it much be a good read. I have had very little experience with audiobooks in recent years and have never downloaded one on line, I think it would be a pip to try it though. I think like you had I just read the synopsis, I might pass, although I will admit that the title is was grabbed me to check out your post - I love it :) I appreciate your sharing your gem with us, it sounds like a good read for the car. Perhaps I could talk my techy son into helping me get through this new age of downloading and audiobook LOL

  6. I've never heard of this book (must lead a sheltered life) but I do like historical fiction. Exchanging letters as a mode of story telling, especially when it involves many different characters, are one of my favorite types of stories and this time period is a huge favorite of mine as well. Some of the best books I've "read" were audiobooks and I firmly believe that the narrator(s) had a LOT to do with it! This is one heck of a review and if it doesn't convince people to read this book (right now I'm thinking "Why have I never heard of this book?", well...I don't know what will! This is a great review! DEFINITELY count me in!


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