Group Read Number 3


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is a story, told in letter format, which discusses life in Guernsey under the German occupation in World War 2. The reasons for my choosing this book are: partly I felt that such a real subject would be a good contrast to the last group read, and that the style of writing was also a different way to engage the reader.

I love historical fiction as I think that not only are you enjoying a good story, you actually learn a little about the subject matter at the same time. When I first read this book, many years ago, I found it engaging and informative as I had known little about the occupation of the Channel Islands prior to this. I fell in love with the characters and really felt that I knew them; I really value an authors ability to engage me in this way.

The book has received incredibly high praise and good reviews externally which I hope will mean many people will enjoy it.

Dawn (Reader Development Team).

Thank you Dawn for choosing the third group read. If you would like to read along with us you can request a copy from Bury Libraries. Not a customer?  Why not join us today?

We would love as many people to join in and submit comments about your experience reading any of the titles featured in the group reads. You can add your comments here on the blog – in the box at the end of each post – or you can join us on Facebook.

We look forward to hearing from you.

The Reader Development Team.


9 thoughts on “Group Read Number 3

  1. Forgive my simplicity, but this is just a lovely book. It’s told with such warmth and detail that you can’t help but care about the characters. Set just after the Second World War, it’s told in the form of letters between a writer, Juliet, her agent Sidney, and the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society who share their experiences of island life under Nazi occupation. Although the subject is bleak and upsetting in places, the authors have such a light touch that it is completely readable and leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling instead of a harrowing book hangover. Definitely recommended. As an aside, we have a small claim to fame in this novel, as Juliet explains that when her flat was flattened by a bomb during the war “Luckily, I was away in Bury when the V-1 hit”.

    There’s also a lovely quote in the book which I’d like to share with all of the bookworms out there;

    “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 on to a third book. It’s geometrically progressive – all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment”


  2. An unusual book with an unusual title. If I was to describe it in one word I would say charming. It is funny, quirky and warm hearted, and although the subject matter is bleak, as bibiofi says, it leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling. I cannot rate this book highly enough.


  3. I remember reading the start of this book a few years ago as part of a reading group; I must say, I couldn’t engage with it at all and decided not to finish it. I’m not usually keen on novels written in the form of letters. However, after reading the above comments I may return to it in the future for the warm fuzzy feeling! Great blog by the way and thanks for all the recommendations.


    1. Hi Wendy,
      We know what you mean about the letter writing style of the book; if you check Nics comments below she found this hard too. It is good to know that other comments made by the group may encourage you to revisit it, or perhaps better still the next group read will be right up your street! Thank you so much for your comments.
      Best wishes from The Reader Development Team.


  4. I really enjoyed reading this book although it did take me a bit of time to settle into the flow of the letter writing. However, once I had adjusted to the style of the book I was totally absorbed and transported. The letters make the experiences that are described intensely personal and moving. As usual, whenever I read about people living in times of major conflict, I am humbled by how brave, creative and stoic humans can be. As a parent I find it heartbreaking to think that I would ever be in the situation described; where I am waving my children off as they undertake a perilous sea crossing without me, believing that this is the safest and best option for them! I totally recommend this book, be prepared to laugh and cry!


  5. Having surprised myself and read a book again I have to say I enjoyed it. The insight into how the people of Guernsey a small island coped with trials of the occupation amazes me. How would we cope nowadays? Would we be as stoic as these people were. Reading the book people are caring,helpful and ingenious. They can also be vindictive and rather nasty as well. I recommend reading this book. Don’t let the format put you off.


    1. Thank you Margaret for you comments. We agree, this is one of those books that highlights the complexities of humans and the behaviours exhibited in the face of extraordinary conditions. Thank you for reading along with us.


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