Historical Fiction Project

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Book Reveiw

In the historical fiction novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows, 32 year old Juliet Ashton is looking for a book subject and conveniently learns about the difficult times the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society went through during the German occupation, and how they escaped death countless times. This novel was an amazing read as well as impossible to put down. As Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love said about this book, “Treat yourself to this book, please – I can’t recommend it highly enough.”


This book is written in letters sent mainly between the Juliet and a man by the name of Dawsey Adams and his friends into a world she has hardly any knowledge of. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, made from a quick mind and flawless tongue when the soon-to-be members of the society were found breaking curfew by the German soldiers occupying the island. Though at first the members didn’t like the idea of a literary society (most claimed that they hadn’t even touched a book since their school days), they came to love it, for it introduced them to different people, which became close friends, and uncovered their love for literature. Juliet is enchanted by their stories, and sets sail to see Guernsey for herself, changing her forever.


Burrows and Shaffer’s book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, is intriguing, and “I was grasped by the throat and not let go”, said by Isola Pribby, a character in the book. Burrows and Shaffer conveyed the historical setting of the novel by using commonly used grammar during that time period, and also didn’t include any modern technology or modern ways of life.


One of Burrows and Shaffer’s greatest strengths is describing the characters in such a way that gives the reader a feeling that they have known these characters all their life and are close friends with them. Also, Burrows and Shaffer had a talent that allowed the reader to feel like they are with the characters, and that the story is going on around them. For example, when a tragedy is discovered, the friends mourn, and I felt like I knew the character just as well as the character’s friends, and mourned for them as well.


The central theme of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is that no matter the challenges, stay strong and faithful. The theme of this book is clearly communicated as the members of the Potato Peel Pie Society tell their stories about the German Occupation and how they learned to keep hope and get through tough times.


Overall, this is an amazing book which gives you an emotional connection with the characters and their experiences during the difficult times they went through. I would give this novel a 4 ½ out of 5 stars because it was an amazing read that kept me engaged the entire time and It was also well thought out. The only reason I wouldn’t give this book the full 5 stars is because I was sad at how it ended too quickly. Personally I would have liked it to continue on just a few pages longer so I could figure out what happened Afterward. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys books that take place during World War Two or just love reading books with historical settings.

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Historical Accuracy

According to My research, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is mostly historically accurate. The author gave plenty of information to help me fully understand the historical setting, such as referring to the war often and its effects on Guernsey.


The author used historical details from time to time. For example, the novel included authors during that time period, World War Two, and the German Occupation, but there were definitely quite a bit of fictional details, like characters and their experiences.

I believe that the author did not get too bogged down with historical details, but I would have liked for the author to include a few more historical details, like characters that actually lived. I believe that that would have made the book better and more interesting to know that at least one of the characters had actually walked on the earth.


As I researched, I did discover a few inaccuracies in the novel, such as the characters. Unfortunately, none of them were real so that was a bit disappointing. Other than that, I did discover quite a bit of historical accuracies in the book, such as the German Occupation, and Charles Lamb and his sister, Mary Lamb, and Guernsey, Channel Islands. I did not find any details that would be inaccurate for that time period.


Overall, the novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, is historically accurate. I liked how many facts were in the book, and how relevant they were to those time periods. There were some inaccuracies, but they mainly were characters.

Short Informative Piece - The German Occupation



On June 1940, 30,000 Channel Islanders were evacuated to Europe because the Germans were on their way to occupy them. Mostly children and mothers were evacuated. One – third of the population was evacuated. The rest were left without a military and no way to defend themselves.


Unaware that the islands were undefended, the Laftwaffe bombed Jersey and Guernsey, killing 44 people. The next day, German troops invaded the islands and the German flag was raised. The people hoped and prayed that the occupation would be over within 6 months, and had no idea that it would last about 5 years.

Life under the rule of the Nazi’s was no walk in the park. The curfew was usually between 11pm to 5am and ID cards had to be carried at all times. Also, if you had family that was evacuated to Europe, you weren’t aloud in a boat, since you could easily sail to France. If you were caught trying to escape by sea was shot or imprisioned, if the didn’t drown. All Jewish businesses were required to publicly identify themselves. Some Jews were even deported to concentration camps. The Germans controlled all the food grown by farmers and the livestock.


The German occupation was a dark time for the people of Guernsey, but on May 9, 1945, the British came and liberated the Islanders from the Germans, saving the remaining islander’s lives.

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Narrative

Mr. Sidney Stark, Publisher

Stephens & Stark Ltd.

21 St. James’s Place

London S. W. 1

England


Dear Sidney,


I simply can’t believe the stories I’m hearing about the islander’s experiences from during the German Occupation. They’re amazing yet absolutely heart wrenching at the same time. This job is much harder than I imagined. Can you believe not having any sort of connection to the outside world at all? I could hardly believe it! No newspaper in the mornings, no radio, no letters, absolutely no means of communication outside of Guernsey without the Germans snooping through your mail! You also wouldn’t even know if it got sent or not! I am in shock.


On to a more cheerful subject, I got a letter from a charming woman by the name of Isola Pribby. She makes potions with Kit at the market. Can you just imagine that little toddler of a girl on a stepping stool with a big spoon, stirring a big cauldron? It makes me laugh at the thought of it! I just can’t wait to meet all these people in person!


Not much has happened lately so there isn’t much to write about. I have made many notes for the book, you’ll be happy to know.


Love, Juliet

Bibliography

Click here to see all my sources for this project!