8 ENCHANTING BOOKS LIKE THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY

Since I first read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in 2018, a decade after its publication, I’ve been on a mission to find other books like it. I’m not sure how I went so long without knowing about it. It’s not like the book was a hidden gem: in 2009, it was a New York Times bestseller. It was perhaps the hoopla surrounding the film adaption, which was also released in 2018, that piqued my attention.

In any case, I came upon this work amid a really awful reading slump. I dug out the only other book in my purse, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, one morning in a coffee shop, anxious to divert myself from my failure to get through 1984 (sorry, George; it was me, not you). I was immediately enthralled. I knew this novel was going to be a favorite as soon as I read this passage:

I’m so delighted your letter and my book both ended up in my hands. I’m curious as to how the book ended up in Guernsey. Perhaps books have some sort of hidden homing instinct that guides them to their ideal readers. What a thrill it would be if that were true.

I was correct. Every year, I’ve made it a point to reread it.

It’s taken me a while to figure out what it is about this story that I find so compelling. Even before we get into the Good NaziTM narrative, it’s not ideal. Despite all the sadness and grief contained inside its pages, it still makes me smile. I really like the epistolary format, and I really like the idea of Reading Keeps You From Going Gaga (Really. I adore the beauty of the connections between Juliet, Dawsey, and the rest of the gang (that’s a genuine phrase.) and, above all, I adore the beauty of the connections between Juliet, Dawsey, and the rest of the gang. It’s a story about finding joy and companionship in the face of adversity. These are topics that I will always be drawn to.

As a result, I started hunting for works such as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I’m looking for novels that have comparable themes and formats. And with the same vivacious wit. Now, there aren’t many books that include all three of these features, but there are many that have at least two of them.

HELENE HANFF’S 84, CHARING CROSS ROAD

Cover of 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

I recently finished this book and was struck by how much it reminded me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I wouldn’t have been shocked if they were all authored by the same individual because the writing styles are so similar.

This isn’t a novel, either, like TGLAPPS: it’s a series of true letters between an American writer and an English bookshop.

STACEY LEE’S THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL

Cover of The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Jo Kuan, a 17-year-old girl who moonlights as an advice columnist when she’s not working as a lady’s maid, is the protagonist of this historical YA novel. Jo doesn’t hold back in her writings when it comes to pointing out society’s flaws, which has resulted in a clamor from a slew of irate bigots who want to find out who she is.

You’ve got more issues than anyone should have to deal with when you throw in a mystery letter, a nasty employer, and a legendary criminal.

THE EMMY LAKE CHRONICLES #1: DEAR MRS. BIRD PEARCE, A.J.

Cover of Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Emmy aspires to be a war journalist, so she leaps at the chance to work for one of the country’s most influential publications. Except…she’ll be working for a woman’s magazine, where the editor and advice columnist have neither patience or sympathy for what she refers to as “Unpleasantness.”

Emmy is irritated by her boss’s refusal to respond to letters from people who have genuine concerns, so she discreetly responds to one. Then there was another. There’s one more. She’ll soon be too far in to turn back. Will her actions put her employment in jeopardy?

LOVE ALAINE, DEAR HAITI MAIKA AND MARITZA MOULITE BY MAIKA AND MARITZA MOULITE

Cover of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika and Maritza Moulite

This book centers on Alaine Beauparlant and is written in an epistolary format. Her family sends her to Haiti when she is expelled from school. Alaine has to volunteer for a nonprofit once she arrives, which she despises. Trying to juggle flirting with the gorgeous intern with a potential family curse? Why not, right?

NATALIE JENNER’S JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY

Cover of The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

This story takes place in Chawton in the 1940s. When Jane Austen’s home is endangered, a group of readers band together to try to save it. Their sole bond appears to be their love of her works. As they attempt to establish The Jane Austen Society, they learn that Austen’s stories are more personal than they believed – and that they have more in common than they think.

THE PROFESSOR AND THE HOUSEKEEPER YKO OGAWA YKO OGAWA YKO OGAWA YKO OGAWA

Cover of The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yōko Ogawa

A great mathematics professor suffers a serious head injury, leaving him with only 80 minutes of short-term memory. A young housekeeper is hired to work for him, and a strange friendship develops as they are introduced over and over.

GABRIELLE ZEVIN’S STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY

cover image of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, illustration of the front of a bookstore, painted red, with a big display window and a door

A.J. Fikry has a reputation for being a snob. A.J. pushed everyone away in the aftermath of his wife’s death. His bookstore is now in trouble, and he has misplaced his precious collection of poems. When a mystery item comes at the business, though, A.J. may just realize that happiness may be found once more.

HELEN SIMONSON’S LAST STAND BY MAJOR PETTIGREW

Cover of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Major Pettigrew strikes up a friendship with Jasmina Ali after his brother’s death. The Major and Jasmina quickly fall in love after bonding over the death of their husbands and a mutual love of reading. Will their small community, on the other hand, tolerate a relationship between a guy they regard as the ultimate English gentleman and a Pakistani shopkeeper?

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