Mary Ann Shaffer

Mary Ann Shaffer (December 13, 1934 – February 16, 2008) was an American writer, editor, librarian, and a bookshop worker. She is noted for her posthumously published work The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which she wrote with her niece, Annie Barrows. It was turned into a movie in 2018 featuring Lily James as Juliet Ashton. 

Mary Ann was an alumna of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She married Carl Richard Shaffer in 1956, and in 1958 they moved to California, where they raised two daughters, Morgan and Liz. She worked in the public libraries of San Anselmo; Larkspur; and San Rafael during her career. She also worked at Harper & Row, advancing from a receptionist position to an editor’s chair.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

2008

A moving tale of post-war friendship, love and books, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is a captivating and completely irresistible novel of enormous depth and heart.

It’s 1946, and as Juliet Ashton sits at her desk in her Chelsea flat, she is stumped. A writer of witty newspaper columns during the war, she can’t think of what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from one Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance he’s acquired a book Juliet once owned – and, emboldened by their mutual love of books, they begin a correspondence.

Dawsey is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and it’s not long before the rest of the members write to Juliet – including the gawky Isola, who makes home-made potions, Eben, the fisherman who loves Shakespeare, and Will Thisbee, rag-and-bone man and chef of the famous potato peel pie. As letters fly back and forth, Juliet comes to know the extraordinary personalities of the Society and their lives under the German occupation of the island. Entranced by their stories, Juliet decides to visit the island to meet them properly – and unwittingly turns her life upside down.

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