translated by Michael Hofman Given all the tragedy, destruction, and horrors of World War II I don’t often stop to consider what life was like for “normal people” under the Nazis. But of course Hitler was a dictator and a tyrant, the Nazis were made up of people who supported him and his rise to […]
translated into English by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky When I saw this mentioned in some magazine or other I had to order it. I was vaguely aware of the Russian front during World War II, vaguely aware that women signed up and fought for Soviet Russia, but I knew very little more than that. […]
For a film described by IFCO as only containing “moderate” violence Dunkirk certainly packs a punch. The opening stars quiet, but tense, but quickly explodes into action and violence. And remains tense. IF I had to pick one word to describe the film, tense would be it. You watch the whole film waiting for the […]
This collection brings together into a single volume the best of Nella Last’s prolific outpourings, including a great deal of new, unpublished material from the war years. Capturing the everyday trials and horrors of wartime Britain and the nation’s transition into peacetime and beyond, Nella’s touching and often humorous narrative provides an invaluable historical portrait […]
Resistance Has a Code Name.
January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written […]
Rec’d by Maggie Stiefvater on her tumblr. When I read the first few lines of Stiefvater’s review of The Secret Horses of Briar Hill I knew I had to try it. A book that feels like “it has always existed” with winged horses! How could I resist. And those wonderful illustrations. So I finally got […]
Small Change : book 1 Eight years after they overthrew Churchill and led Britain into a separate peace with Hitler, the upper-crust families of the “Farthing set” are gathered for a weekend retreat. Among them is estranged Farthing scion Lucy Kahn, who can’t understand why her and her husband David’s presence was so forcefully requested. […]
Starting in 1947 The Night Watch tells the story, in reverse chronology, of various people in and around London during the Blitz. Their stories progress by going backwards in time, so that when we leave them they have it all to experience. Their loves and losses, the air raids and rations, these things are all […]
It is 1944 and American pilot Rose Justice is working in England, she has joined the ATA and is hard at work transporting planes for the RAF, and occasionally flying important people about. Returning from one such mission she encounters a doodlebug or Vergeltungswaffe flying bomb. In her efforts to divert it from its course […]
In post World War II England Jean Paget is tracked down by a solicitor. She is the only surviving member of a client of his, and so stands to inherit his wealth. But because the client didn’t trust single women to run their own finances the will stipulates that Jean is not to receive the […]
It is still a hugely powerful and effective read, I reread it because I suggested it for a new book club I’ve joined and thought I should refresh my memory. I’m not sure it was a great choice for the club, it is quite hard to find here in in Ireland and the second hand copies people have been buying has quite small print. Plus it is a big long book. But it is a great book club read because of its contents, imo anyway, we will see when we meet up at the end of the month.
I adore the character of Gertie Nevels. She is just a wonderful person, and yet at the same time she isn’t idealised or held up as some shining example. She is a person who makes the best out of what she got, and what she got is not a lot.
Spoilery discussion to follow.
It is a great book and everyone should read it.
original review :
The world is at war, and the army is stealing away the men, and those that are left are being hauled off to work in the factories in order to assist the war effort. In rural Kentucky Gertie is lucky enough to still have her husband around, he drives the coal truck, but knows that this situation cannot last. He has his date with the army already lined up. But she is preparing as best she can. She has been saving her money and almost has enough to offer on a nearby farm. Without having to pay half what they earn on rent Gertie and her family will be able to plan for the future. But on the eve of her plans coming to fruition all is ruined and she must uproot her family and follow her husband to the city of Detroit.