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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I 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.”   – Juliet Ashton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows  is a story told through letters during the shadow of Nazi occupation in Guernsey during World War II.  Juliet Ashton, an author in London, is having trouble finding inspiration for her next book.  Her life will change when a letter is received from Dawsey Adams, who came across Juliet’s name and address written inside the front cover of the The Essays of Elia Selected by Charles Lamb.    She is drawn into Dawsey’s world, and out of her own, as she learns more about this “book club”, The Gruensey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and its endearing quirky cast of members.

Book Club Party Ideas


Decorations for this book club party can reflect some of the items that the characters held close to their hearts.

A carpe diem paperweight was the only thing Juliet salvaged from her demolished apartment.

When Juliet went to Elizabeth’s cottage, she tells Sidney “In every nook, I find little things that tell me about her… shells, bird feathers, dried sea grass, pebbles, eggshells, and the skeleton of something that might be a bat”.  I can’t believe I actually found a bat skeleton on Amazon, so I couldn’t resist including it in the decorations.


“This is an album of songs from Guernsey, an island off Cornwall but much closer to Normandy, and the music is as odd and captivating as the particular brand of French in which it is sung. The music, even to a not-particularly-sophisticated ear, seems a combination of Celtic twang and French charm, with unexpected springs of rhythm amidst melodies that are as graceful as swans…”  –Robert Levine


For the appetizer, I served Bean Jar Soup, a dish that has been a part of the Guernsey culture for centuries, and Buttery Biscuits.

Bean Soup Recipes, buttery biscuits

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society came to be because of Amelia Maugery’s one hidden pig.  The Germans took all the pigs (or so they thought) in Guernsey to feed their soldiers and left the locals to survive off of potatoes, turnips and gristle.    I made Pork Chops and Apples with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce for our dinner.  “The dinner was a rare treat, but the company was better”.

Pork Chop Recipes

You must have a Potato Peel Pie for this book club party.  Searching around the Internet for inspiration for this recipe didn’t lend much information.  “Since there was scant butter, less flour, and no sugar to spare on Guernsey then, Will concocted a potato peel pie:  mashed potatoes for filling, strained beets for sweetness, and potato peelings for crust”.  I tried to stay true (as true as my taste buds would allow) to Will’s recipe.

potato recipes, beets

For dessert, I made Gache Melee, a traditional Guernsey apple dish that dates back for hundreds of years.

Warm Baked Apple Deesert

Book Reviews and Book Club Resources

Good Reads Reviews

LitLovers Readers Guide

Beyond the Book

Visit Guernsey today

It was the first unofficial meeting of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and it was past curfew.  John, Dawsey and Elizabeth were confronted by German patrol officers on their way home.  Elizabeth turned on her charm and told the officers how sorry they were for breaking curfew and how they had been attending a meeting of the Guernsey Literary Society, and the evening’s discussion of Elizabeth and Her German Garden had been so delightful that they had all lost track of time.   This made the patrol officer smile.    And the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was born.

My favorite quote from the book

That’s what I love about reading:  one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book.  It’s geometrically progressive – all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment. – Juliet Ashton

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