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Miss Ranskill Comes Home [Paperback]

Barbara Euphan Todd , Wendy Pollard
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: £14.00
Price: £13.07 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Nov 2003
An unsparing, wry 1946 novel: Miss Ranskill is shipwrecked and
returns to wartime England.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd (6 Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903155363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903155363
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 624,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Home Sweet Home? 10 Nov 2005
From the start, Miss Ranskill proves she is not your ordinary woman when she uses her bare hands to scrape out a grave in the sand for the Carpenter, her sole companion on the desert island upon which she has been stranded for four years. I was fascinated with that rather grim beginning and compelled to read on. The story that follows - of Miss R returning to her home in England and discovering there is a war on - is clear-sighted and revealing. It goes beyond the classic 'woman on the homefront' tale to describe a lady who sees through the carefully engineered persona many women put on as they threw themselves into the wartime efforts. A brilliant read; one of my favourite Persephone titles.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miss Ranskill - not such an 'Ordinary' Woman 28 May 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is another absolute gem republished by Persephone Books. At the beginning of the book we perceive Miss Ranskill to be battered physically and mentally by the dreadful circumstances of her shipwreck (I'm not giving anything away here, we are told of the shipwreck soon after the beginning). As the story progresses we realise that here is a woman of great strength and courage, but an 'ordinary' woman nevertheless. Surprisingly, as the book goes on we also realise we are reading a story of deep love and grief. There are, however, many moments of hilarity.

Set against a background of WWII, we are also introduced to a cast of characters some of whom are funny, outrageous or sometimes heroic, but all coping with the War in their own way.

Beautifully written, moving and inspiring yet funny in parts, this is a wonderful read, which I wholeheartedly recommend.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird idea, clever book 23 July 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
...So this woman has been shipwrecked on a desert island, where she's been living with another castaway until he's died and she's been rescued. She's been fond of this man, and he was very self-reliant and useful on a desert island, though as he was happily married and she was socially somewhat above him and it's the 1940s, Nothing Happened. And now she's being brought back to England, into the Second World War, which so far she's pretty much missed...
So far, so loopy. But if you can accept this far-fetched premise, what you get is a shrewd and funny book about how people's outlook can be completely changed by their circumstances. Nice, thoughtful Miss Ranskill has really learned a new philosophy from her desert island life, and now she's dumped into a whole new world of ration books, the blackout, and telling on your neighbours when they buy on the black market. Her old friends are living a different life, preoccupied by the war, and are not at all helpful - in fact this is often a book about how nasty women can be to each other.
Miss Ranskill is splendidly dauntless, and she wins out in the end. It's fun. Read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See wartime Britain from a unique perspective! 9 July 2010
Shortly before the start of World War II, Nona Ranskill was swept overboard whilst on a cruise and was washed up on a desert island. The only other inhabitant of the island is a man known as 'the Carpenter', who had also fallen overboard on an earlier occasion. At the beginning of the book, the Carpenter has died and we first meet Miss Ranskill as she's digging his grave. After burying the Carpenter, Miss Ranskill makes an attempt to escape from the island - and luckily she is rescued by the British Navy. Returning to England after almost four years, Miss Ranskill discovers that it's not the England she left behind: in her absence, World War II has begun..

This may all sound very far-fetched, but Todd actually makes it seem believable. I thought the whole idea of someone being cut off from the world and returning home only to find themselves suddenly thrown into the middle of a war was absolutely fascinating. I particularly enjoyed the first half of the book which deals with the first few days of Miss Ranskill's arrival in England, when everything feels strange and surreal. Even the English language seems different and full of unfamiliar words. When she tries to buy food she can't understand why she's asked for her 'ration book', or why she needs 'coupons' to purchase clothes. This leads to some very amusing situations but at the same time you can't help but feel sorry for poor Miss Ranskill.

Although he's dead before the story even begins, the strongest character in the book is the Carpenter. He is constantly in Miss Ranskill's thoughts and his presence is there on almost every page in the form of flashbacks and memories.
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