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The title of this novel usefully provides the prospective reader with a litmus test: if you find it whimsical in a charming sort of way, you’ll love the novel; if, on the other hand, you find it rather self-consciously arch, you’d better stick to sterner stuff with more trenchant titles, like War and Peace or Disgrace.

The title is useful also in alerting the prospective reader to the fact that this is unambiguously an exemplar of the sub-genre Book Club Fiction. Like the best-selling The Jane Austen Book Club, this book unabashedly announces its allegiance to the growing body of novels being turned out for the pleasure (and purchase) of the growing number of book clubs all over the world. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peal Pie Society is about a book club, for book clubs, and in a sense by a book club, in that the author wrote it at the behest of her own book club. It comes with commendations from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray. Love and Mavis Cheek, author of Mrs Fytton’s Country Life, both, to judge by their titles, mainstays of the book club circuit. It was the author’s only book (she died shortly after completing it), and it has been sold in thirteen countries.


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