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Mary Ann Shaffer Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (With: Annie Barrows) (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon

Mary Ann Shaffer
Mary Ann Fiery was born December 13, 1934 in Martinsburg, West Virginia and had an older sister, named Cynthia. They grew up in the nearby Romney, West Virginia, however moved back to Martinsburg and attended high school there. She attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

She worked as a librarian, an editor, and in bookshops. Mary Ann worked in the public libraries of Larkspur, San Rafael, and San Anselmo during her career. She worked at Harper & Row, moving up from a receptionist job to an editor’s chair.

She died on February 16, 2008 at the age of 74. She died only months before her debut and only novel, called “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”, was released by Dial Press and is from the historical fiction genre. The cover art was done by Christian Raoul Skrein von Bumbala. The novel was a New York Times #1 Bestseller that sold more than three million copies, spending eleven weeks on the list and was licensed to more than thirty countries.

The novel was adapted into a Netflix movie in the year 2018. It was written by Tom Bezucha, Kevin Hood, and Don Roos and directed by Mike Newell. It starred Lily James, Glen Powell, Michiel Huisman, and Jessica Brown Findlay.

Mary Ann had become interested in Guernsey when she was visiting London in 1976. She traveled there because she had originally, planned on writing a biography on Kathleen Scott, the wife of Robert Falcon Scott (the English polar explorer). However as she was researching the subject, she went to Cambridge, England, but ended up discouraged to learn the subject’s personal papers were pretty close to unusable.

As she dealt with this frustration, she chose to spend a bit of her planned stay in England to visit Guernsey, which are notable for being geographically closer to continental France than the United Kingdom. However she got stranded there when this thick fog came down and all planes and boats were then forbidden to leave the island.

While waiting for the fog to lift, using the heat of the hand-dryer in the men’s room to keep herself warm, she read all of the books that were in the Guernsey airport bookstore. She found multiple histories on the German occupation of the islands during the Second World War. This includes “Jersey Under the Jack-Boot”. This started her fascination with the German Occupation of the Channel Islands.

Twenty years later, when she was goaded by her book club into writing a novel of her own, she naturally thought about Guernsey. She decided to write in the epistolary form, because she thought it would be much easier, for some reason. All she wanted to do was to pen a book that somebody would like just enough to publish, since writing and publishing a book was her lifelong dream. Several years of work later and her novel was born.

It was greeted by avid enthusiasm, first by members of her family, then by her writing group, and then by publishers all around the world when it was bought in the year 2006. It was not too long after that her health started declining, as she had become incredibly ill with cancer and asked Annie Barrows, her niece and the writer of the “Ivy and Bean” series, to help her complete the book. This is due to the editor of the novel having asked Mary Ann to do some changes would require some rather substantial rewrites. As a result of her rewriting and editing the novel, Annie is credited as a co-writer on the novel.

“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2008. January of 1946, while London emerges from the Second World War’s shadow, and Juliet Ashton (who is a writer) looks for the subject of her next book.

She is currently touring England to promote her new book, which she wrote under her pseudonym of Izzy Bickerstaff. The book is a compilation of comedic columns that she wrote about World War II. And even though she is under contract to pen another book as Izzy Bickerstaff, she writes a letter to her publisher informing them of her wishes to retire the pen name.

Who could possibly have imagined that she would find it in some letter from a man that she has never met once, who is a native of the Island of Guernsey, who has come across her name which was written in a book that was written by Charles Lamb. While Juliet and this new correspondent of hers exchange letters back and forth, she gets pulled into this man’s world, along with his friends. And it proves to be quite an eccentric world. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were found breaking their curfew by the Germans that occupy their island.

Juliet starts up a remarkable correspondence with each member of the society, as she learns their taste in books, about their island, and how the recent German occupation has impacted their lives. As she is captivated by each one of their tales, she journeys to Guernsey, and she discovers is going to change her forever.

This boasts a funny, charming, deeply human cast of characters (from phrenologists to pig farmers) who are all lovers of literature. This is a thoughtful and sweet novel that was written with humor, and warmth and it reads as a series of letters, coming across like the celebration of the written word in all of its guises that it is. And is one of finding connection in some of the most surprising of ways.

Fans of the novel cannot recommend others read this enough, as they found it to be a treat of a novel. At the core, this is a satisfying book about the magic that books hold and the love of reading; it also celebrates the impact of reading novels on people’s lives. Readers that did not know too much about the Channel Islands also found this to be an educational read that informs and entertains equally.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Mary Ann Shaffer

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