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The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society Novel Beat Sheet

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Book Review

Written by: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie BarrowsPublisher: Random House, Inc., 2008 my edition: 2009 Dial Press Trade PaperbackTotal pages: 274

STC! Genre: Buddy Love

Make no mistake, while this #1 New York Times bestselling novel was certainly branded as upmarket historical fiction, at its essence this is a book for booklovers. Told in epistolary form, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece Annie Barrows is a collective love letter to the transformative power of books and to the avid readers who fall under their spell.

From the back cover: January 1946: Writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, and a society as extraordinary as its name.

A friend gave me a paperback copy of this novel the year after its release, and for longer than Im willing to admit, I put off reading it. It had been getting so much buzz. Too much, in my opinion. Yet another heavily WWII-ish book, I thought. Havent they published enough of those? Even if the premise sounded intriguing, I figured it would probably be more depressing than uplifting.

If youre a booklover and havent yet read this story, please consider giving it a try. And for all who enjoy Blake Snyders beat sheet breakdowns, here are the beats as I see them for this masterfully written novel:

Almost Half Of Guernseys Population Was Evacuated

Of all the sights I saw the day they left, there is one picture I cant get out of my mind. Two little girls, all dressed up i pink dresses, stiff petticoats, shiny shoes as if they were off to a party. How cold they must have been crossing the Channel.

There was a lot of confusion as to whether the Channel Islands would be evacuated so it was a panicked affair. On 19 June 1940, parents were told to register their children to be evacuated and some were sent away the very next morning.

In the end, four-fifths of the children and almost half of Guernseys population were evacuated before the occupation. In actual fact, evacuation boats were still leaving the island when the German Air Force began their invasion!

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel

3787 Reviews#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NOW A NETFLIX FILM A remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.Treat yourself to this book, pleaseI cant recommend it highly enough.Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, LoveI 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.Praise for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel SocietyGuernseyPeopleChicago Sun-TimesThe Sunday Times The Times

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Guernsey Was Cut Off From The Outside World

In 1942, the Germans called in all the wireless sets of course, there were hidden ones, listened to in secret, but if you were caught listening, you could be sent to the camps. Thats why we dont understand so many things we can read about now.

All radios were banned, and the islands were cut off from Britain and the outside world. Any news that they did get was heavily distorted by German propaganda. They had no real clue how they were faring in the war.

After D Day, supplies to the island also dried up and both locals and Germans were at risk of Starvation.

Alcohol Was Scarce During The War

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society ...

Ive seen enough. I need a drink.I keep a good supply of gin in my cupboard, so we came home.

Whilst Isolas stock of home-brewed spirits kept the Societys spirits up in the book and film, alcohol was actually very scarce during the war. Today, however, there are numerous gin tours and tastings on Guernsey!

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The True Facts And Events Of The Occupation

The Germans attacked St. Peter Port on the 28th June 1940. As referred to in the film, tomato trucks were mistaken for military vehicles in a bombing raid that tragically killed 33 civilians.

There was in fact no British military presence on the island whatsoever when the Germans attacked. Despite reluctance from Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the British government had already decided that the Channel Islands served no strategic importance to Britain and would therefore not be defended.

Once the Germans realised that the island was undefended they arrived with no further force, and Guernsey offered its surrender on June 30th. What followed was an uncomfortable co-habitation of frightened islanders with their new German overseers.

The States of Guernsey handed overall control to the German authorities while the day-to-day running of the island became the responsibility of a Controlling Committee, required to enforce new German directive.

Life in Guernsey changed significantly during the Occupation. The island was immediately shifted to Central European time, and a curfew was imposed. Islanders were cut off from any information and communication with the mainland. All radios on the island were confiscated, meaning that people had very little knowledge of the welfare of their families or how the war was progressing.

Shortly after, on May 9th 1945, the war came to its close and the island was officially liberated.

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society + Potato Peel Pie

January 16, 2018 by Megan

Recently, my book club elected to read Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a charming piece of historical fiction about life on the British Channel Islands during and after WWII. It is a bit of a book about books, but more than that its about how literature can bring people together, unexpectedly, even in the worst of times.

In 1946 London, a mysterious man writes to Juliet Ashton because he somehow came to be in possession of one of her books and is looking for more by the same author, who hes come to adore. Of course, as a reader, Juliet steps in to help him get the books he needs, and with that, she launches a friendly correspondence with him – and his fellow islanders. All of them belonged to an impromptu book club during the German wartime occupation of their home on Guernsey, and Juliet is beside herself to learn more about them.

While I was expecting a potentially difficult read, as many WWII novels tend to be , I was pleasantly surprised. There are some brief descriptions of time in the concentration camps, but it mostly serves as a way to provide the characters – whove survived the war at that point – with some closure. Book narratives that take place solely through letters can sometimes fall flat, but in this case, my whole book club enjoyed the choice. I thought it added to the charm.

Finally, I spread the whole mixture in the pie dish on top of the potato skins.

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The German Occupation Lasted Five Years

What a morning that must have been! The crowds were lined up along St Peter Ports harbour. Silent, absolutely silent: masses of people looking at the Royal Navy ships sitting just outside the harbour. Then when the Tommies landed and marched ashore, all hell broke loose. Hugs, kisses, crying, shouting.

Guernsey was finally liberated on 9th May 1945, five years after the occupation began.

To quote Winston Churchill, our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today, which seems a little wry given that the Islands were basically abandoned and deemed of little strategic importance before the occupation.

Today, 9 May is deemed a national holiday on the Channel Islands and huge crowds gather at St Peters Port every year to celebrate!

If you feel inspired to visit the island of Guernsey now, you can find out more from the Visit Guernsey website. Theyve also created a fantastic movie tie in website, which explains the true story behind The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in even greater detail, including pictures, videos and clippings.

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Saturday 2nd of June 2018

What a great post! I’ve popped the book on my reading list.

Guernsey Was Not At All Defended By Britain


Would you like to know about my first sight of the Germans? I will use adjectives to make it more lively. I dont usually I prefer stark facts.Guernsey seemed quiet that Tuesday but we knew they were there! Planes and ships carrying soldiers had come in the day before. Huge Junkers thumped down, and after unloading all their men, they flew off again. Being lighter now, and more frolicsome, they hedge-hopped, swooping up and swooping down all over Guernsey, scaring the cows in the fields.

The Channel Islands were occupied by the Germans from the 30 June 1940 until the end of World War II. Winston Churchill decided that the islands were of little strategic importance so the islands were left undefended when the Germans came.

No official announcement had been made informing the Germans that the Channel Islands were in fact demilitarised, so they began their invasion. The planes mistook tomato trucks lined up at the harbour for military vehicles and thirty-three civilians lost their lives in the raid.

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Islanders Sheltered Escaped Slave Workers

Elizabeth, as feckless as ever, committed a criminal act expressly forbidden by the German Occupying Force she helped shelter and feed an escaped prisoner of the German Army. She was arrested and sentenced to prison on the Continent.

Despite the severe cost if discovered, numerous islanders tried to help the slave workers by sheltering them in secret, just like Elizabeth in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.


The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society By Mary Ann Shaffer And Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is, essentially, a love story. Its a traditional love story to be sure, but more importantly, it is the story of a small island community composed of very disparate people who came together during the German occupation of World War II to protect, comfort, and in some cases, save one another. Therein lays the true story of love.The novel is told through a series of letters sent between January and September 1946. In these letters and nine short months, a whole world of tragedy, deprivation, evil, camaraderie, humor, and love is revealed.

In his lust for land acquisition, Hitler sends troops onto the Guernsey Channel Islands in 1940 to hold them for the homeland until the war is over. It is during this, a five-year occupation, that we learn the story of Elizabeth, who, though missing from the island, is nevertheless central to the story.It is Elizabeth who saves a group of her friends from serious punishment for a curfew violation by lying to the guards and telling them they are just leaving from a book club discussion.A true book club is then born, becoming the center of community for the people living in Guernsey and who are suffering the starvation and humiliation of the occupation. It is this society that keeps sanity and hope alive. And, it is to this society that the protagonist, Juliet Ashton, is introduced serendipitously.

Random House ISBN 978-0-3853-4100-4 $14.

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The True Story Behind The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Society

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Have you been wondering to yourself is the Guernsey Literary and Potato Society true? or was the guernsey literary society real? then this post is for you! We separate fact from fiction comparing the book and film with real-life on Guernsey during WW2.

9 May is Liberation Day on the island of Guernsey. It seems an appropriate time, then, to share the true story behind one of my favourite books, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Visit Guernsey. However, the fascination with Guernsey is all mine.

If you havent gathered by now, Im a huge fan of both the book and film and I recently had the great privilege of hosting my own preview screening of the film with Vue. If you havent seen the film yet, you need to and you can check out my film review of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society here.

The story of Guernsey has immensely fascinated me ever since I opened turned the first page of this book, in much the same way as Juliet Ashton is enamoured by Dawseys letters.

It seems to be a little-known fact that after the Allied defeat in France in 1940, Germany invaded and occupied the Channel Islands.

This sets the scene for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society but just how much of the book is actually based on reality? Is the Guernsey Literary and Potato Society a true story?

Ive done a bit of research with the help of Visit Guernsey and heres what I discovered!

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society


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Despite being set just after the war, I found The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows to be a completely heart warming story. Covering dark topics in places, the novel is an uplifting tale about the strength of its characters who continue to support one another and their passion for books throughout the good and bad times of their lives.

A unique take on the typical war story, the story is told entirely through letters which makes it a quick and easy read, despite the overarching topic it tackles. In fact, many of the characters bring a humorous take to the book, helping to remind the reader of the well-rounded nature of humans, even during tough times.

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Reading Guide For The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society By Mary Ann Shaffer Annie Barrows

  • Debuts
  • Strong Female Leads
  • In Time of War & The Effects of War
  • Books about Books, Book Lovers & Language

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

About This GuideThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.Reader’s Guide

  • What was it like to read a novel composed entirely of letters? What do letters offer that no other form of writing can convey?
  • What makes Sidney and Sophie ideal friends for Juliet? What common ground do they share? Who has been a similar advocate in your life?
  • Dawsey first wrote to Juliet because books, on Charles Lamb or otherwise, were so difficult to obtain on Guernsey in the aftermath of the war. What differences did you note between bookselling in the novel and bookselling in your world? What makes book lovers unique, across all generations?
  • What were your first impressions of Dawsey? How was he different from the other men Juliet had known?
  • Discuss the poets, novelists, biographers, and other writers who capture the hearts of the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. What does a readers taste in books say about his or her personality? Whose lives were changed the most by membership in the society?
  • In what ways were Juliet and Elizabeth kindred spirits? What did Elizabeths spontaneous invention of the society, as well as her brave final act, say about her approach to life?
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