‘Shaffer's writing, with its delicately offbeat, self-deprecating stylishness, is exquisitely turned, bearing a clear debt to Jane Austen.’ – The Guardian
A war-ravaged Britain is emerging from the Second World War. It’s a new start too for writer Juliet Ashton, keenly seeking out material for a new novel. Fate, however, finds its way, as the chance find by a Guernsey native of a book belonging to Juliet opens a surprising door. Soon, what began as a writerly search for inspiration will result in changes she could never anticipate.
In the tradition of Helene Hanff’s 84 Charing Cross Road, Mary Ann Shaffer’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has become, since its posthumous publication, one of the classic epistolary novels.
Set against a background of both physical and psychological recovery from the monstrosity of war, Shaffer ekes out a gentle but still penetrative comedy of manners, where the exchange of letters between two bibliophiles gradually draws together two different worlds.
Simultaneously, we learn of the deep and often terrible sacrifices made by a small island community that found themselves abandoned to the power of the Nazi war machine.
Mary Ann Shaffer, who was born in West Virginia and lived for most of her life in California, tragically passed away during the manuscript’s editing: the final drafts were completed by her niece Annie Barrows.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 194 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
'Delightfully spirited ... You'd have to be pretty hard-hearted not to fall under its spell' - Daily Mail
'Atmospheric and touching ... it is about love and friendship and the ability of these qualities to survive adversity' - Alexander McCall Smith, The Times
'Every now and again, a book comes along that is simple yet effective, readable yet memorable. This is one such delight ... It is a uniquely humane vision of inhumanity; one to lift even the most cynical of spirits' - The Times
'Funny, moving and quite unlike anything I have read for a long time' - Sunday Telegraph
'Shaffer's writing, with its self-deprecating humour and jaunty stylishness, is a heart-warmingly nostalgic journey into another age' - Independent
'This heart-warming novel contrasts the grimness of occupied Guernsey with the humour and courage of the inhabitants' - Daily Mail
'So comforting. A real satin coverlet of a book' - Rachel Cooke, New Statesman
'The society's members are quirky and lovable, their friendships touching and the letters so funny and moving that by the time she's considering a visit to the island we are desperate to go with her... Warm and witty' - Observer
'Thronging with lovable people ... The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society commemorates beautiful spirits who pass through our midst and hunker undercover through brutal times. Shaffer's Guernsey characters step from the past radiant with eccentricity and kindly humour, a comic version of the state of grace ... Shaffer's writing, with its delicately offbeat, self-deprecating stylishness, is exquisitely turned' - Guardian
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