The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is an epistolary novel told through a series of letters I picked up in 2008 when it was first published. Simply stated, I couldn’t get into this story by way of letters only, so I shelved it for ten years.
An entire decade goes by with nary a thought when the movie version pops on Netflix as a recommendation, so I watched it . . . two nights in a row! After seeing the movie, which I loved, I knew I had to give the book a second chance, which I did by way of Kindle Immersion read.
Before reading the novel I first went to the back of the book to read the Acknowledgments section followed by the About the Authors pages. There is a lot to be learned here as Mary Ann Shaffer is the Aunt of Annie Barrows. When Mary Ann became ill, she asked her niece, Annie, to finish the book, which of course she did.
Fortunately, it turns out the family is rich in fine storytelling and Mary Ann was the jewel in their crown, and as Annie points out, “Suddenly, the rest of the world had a seat at the table where I had been feasting my whole life, and, as with any family party, they clustered around Mary Ann, weeping with laughter – or sorrow – as her stories billowed forth.”
For three nights I read with new eyes knowing the backstory of these two authors and of course the film version. Each night delicious offerings were told by a team of five narrators navigating us through London and Guernsey with a feast of interesting characters by way of the written word. The only flaw, as Annie would say, is that the feast comes to an end.
May God Bless Mary Ann Shaffer for bringing this success story to the masses, and to her niece, Annie Barrows, for tying it into a neat package worthy of any story shared at the table, with laughter and tears in abundance.