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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and moving memoir which cleverly uses diary extracts.
I received a review copy of this from [...] ahead of paperback publicatinon in March 2014.

The Girl from Station X is a fascinating memoir of a girl from a life of privilege flung into a very different lifestyle during World War II. Elisa Segrave found her mother Anne's diaries in an attic when clearing her house. Anne and Elisa have never had a good...
Published 6 months ago by Portybelle

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Unresolved Mother-Daughter Relationship
The Girl from Station X, the story of a fraught mother-daughter relationship is a brave book, if at times a sad one that is difficult to read.
Elisa Segrave's troubled relationship with her mother came to a head when Elisa's marriage broke down, she had two young children to care for and she got breast cancer. Her mother Anne wasn't there for her at this crucial...
Published 4 months ago by turnerpage


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Unresolved Mother-Daughter Relationship, 23 April 2014
This review is from: The Girl from Station X: My Mother's Unknown Life (Hardcover)
The Girl from Station X, the story of a fraught mother-daughter relationship is a brave book, if at times a sad one that is difficult to read.
Elisa Segrave's troubled relationship with her mother came to a head when Elisa's marriage broke down, she had two young children to care for and she got breast cancer. Her mother Anne wasn't there for her at this crucial time and as her mother declined further into dementia, the author found that she could no longer deal with her unreasonable behaviour.
In the process of clearing out her mother's home while she was still alive, Elisa found a collection of Anne's diaries written from the age of 15 until her early 40s. Through the diaries, Elisa sees a whole new side to her mother and one that she comes to admire, particularly her distinguished work during the war years.
Anne is a wonderful diarist and her frank account of her time at Bletchley Park (the 'Station X') of the title makes for fascinating reading. So too does her honesty about the ups and downs of working in such a place, working with eccentrics and that despite the importance and responsibility of her work, at times, it probably was boring and even a bit depressing.
The flow of the diaries is interrupted though by the author's own reaction to what has been written and although that can be a useful device if it's done for explanatory reasons, here it becomes intrusive and too much like a troubled daughter's therapy session. This was the only time in the whole book that Anne's voice could be heard yet every time she lets rip, there is the author analysing and commenting upon what's been written – even if it is merely a youthful outburst in what was, after all, a private diary.
The story of her mother's life is told solely from Elisa's point of view and there is no advocate for Anne, giving her side of the story. Elisa has proof from her mother's diary that she was indeed loved by Anne in her early childhood, until her brother Raymond climbed the fence and drowned in his grandmother's swimming pool. 'My mother was only forty-two when I, my father and my two remaining brothers lost her – to grief.'
It seems sad to me that Anne bears the brunt of her daughter's resentment as the family dysfunction seems to run deeper than one generation and Anne herself might not have been given enough maternal love and affection.
After reading the diaries and understanding the terrible circumstances that Anne faced after losing not just one but two sons to early deaths, Anne is still not able to atone herself for her perceived sins and the longed for redemption and resolution between mother and daughter sadly never happens.

This review was first published at lambertnagle.com
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1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Written, 7 April 2014
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This review is from: The Girl from Station X: My Mother's Unknown Life (Hardcover)
Bought this book as I'd read so many about. Bletchley and it looked interesting and informative, however after only a few pages, was very disappointed, for what I read, it appears to be written in excerpts from her mothers diaries, and I didn't find it flowing.

Not impressive as described
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3.0 out of 5 stars interesting, not captivating, 5 Mar 2014
This review was first published at M's Bookshelf - http://mssbookshelf.blogspot.be

The Girl from Station X tells the story of a young woman who's life was forever changed by the War. She went from being a "spoiled rich girl" to someone who actively worked for her country... while struggling to find herself. But it's not just another story about the War. By using quotes from her mother's diary and adding additional information, Elisa gave us a new, original sneak peek into the past. I loved how she made the story fluent by 'talking together' those diary quotes.
Unfortunately though, the story never really captivated me. Elisa's relationship with her mother isn't a very good one, and although I understand that she was struggling to connect with her mother and that she now found a new way to get to know her - through her diaries, their relationship often stood in the way of her mother's story about her youth. Too often I felt Elisa was trying to justify her frustrations with her mother and it came across as 'bitter', in a way... Luckily this was mostly the case for the first part of the book and it really was a fascinating 'snapshot'.
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2.0 out of 5 stars i wanted to love this book but..., 23 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Girl from Station X: My Mother's Unknown Life (Hardcover)
i was excited at the thought of reading this book. discovering a cache of diaries written by your Mother detailing her life, particularly during the War which you had little knowledge of, a young vibrant woman.
however the mother/daughter relationship was a little too close to comfort for me, so i struggled to read it, i will try again on a sunnier day.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not what you expect, 16 Feb 2014
The back of this book states that Elisa Segrave found a cache of wartime diaries belonging to her mother Anne Hamilton Grace.
After reading the back of the book, I was eager to review this book as I was looking forward to finding out more about life at Bletchley Park during World War 2. I know the back of the book states that "Segrave attempts to recreate her mother's life before and after the war", it was, however still disappointing to discover that it was page 103 before there is any mention of Anne Hamilton-Grace's involvement in the war and unfortunately the war period ended on page 250. Prior to this, the first 102 pages of the book were dedicated to Elisa Segrave recounting her mother's early and very privileged life and then the rest of the book (pages 251 - 355) is then devoted to her very privileged life after the war.
I was rather disappointed to find a book whose title suggested it was about the war dedicated so few pages (less than half of the book) to the war.
I cannot say the book gripped me but there were parts that interested me. I would definitely recommend this book if you are interested in social history but don't buy it if your interest is World War 2.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Mother?, 16 Feb 2014
By 
C. Bannister (Jersey, CI) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This memoir was born out of the difficult relationship Elisa had with her mother Anne. When Anne started suffering with dementia probably caused by her alcohol abuse, Elisa was left with the task of clearing the former family home. In the attic she found a box, filled with notebooks; Anne’s diaries written from the age of fifteen.

Anne was the heir to her mother’s fortune which meant that she rubbed shoulders with the elite of England. The pre-war years are filled with travel, finishing schools and seemingly endless parties. The war years tell an entirely different story of a privileged young woman working as a WRAF, including a lengthy stint in intelligence and a posting at Bletchley Park. I found the diaries, especially those written during World War Two really interesting, as Anne documented her daily life as a WRAF, her satisfaction for feeling useful for the first, and only, time in her life. Elisa has cleverly selected enough to give a true sense of the young woman’s first experience of connecting to her colleagues, a very different experience from the cosseted world of her earlier years.

It takes some time though to get to this part, the beginning starts with a seemingly endless litany of how difficult, indecisive and uncaring Elisa’s mother was. The abuse of alcohol, interesting never mentioned by either family or friends, the selfishness of her endless travels and some tragic losses from Elisa’s perspective is the background which makes reading the young woman’s adventures far more poignant.

The power of this novel is the understanding it gave Elisa about who her mother really was, although at several points her interjections about her mother’s faults led me to believe that perhaps the misunderstandings between this mother and daughter perhaps ran too deep ever to be truly healed.

I received a copy of this book from Lovereading as part of their review panel in return for my thoughts on this memoir.
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3.0 out of 5 stars So disappointed, 15 Feb 2014
By 
L. Brown "linby" (Nottingham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The girl from Station X I thought was going to bring alive events at Bletchley Park,perhaps that was my misinterpretation of the wording on the book cover. In fact the picture of Bletchley painted in this book is of a dire place that no-one would wish to work in.
I found this book hard going; the first 60 pages were just a rant about how Elisa didn’t like her Mother. Some of the comments she made about her Mother’s actions I did find hard to relate to, however once she found her Mother’s diary I think Elisa wouldn’t have made those comments.
Once the diary entries began I started to take more of an interest, only to find that they were interspersed with comments from Elisa. The diary entries also seemed to jump around in time and I got confused about where and when the entry referred to.
My interest was waning when my hometown was mentioned. Not a very well known place and unbeknown to me apparently had a wartime base. I began to be engaged again and I was intrigued, unfortunately no real information about it was really shared.
I do love social history and for those small insights into life in this period I was grateful. However, I found most of the book to be ramblings that did not interest me.
Several very well-known people and others I see have praised this book so maybe it will be to your taste, but not sadly to mine.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and moving memoir which cleverly uses diary extracts., 13 Feb 2014
I received a review copy of this from [...] ahead of paperback publicatinon in March 2014.

The Girl from Station X is a fascinating memoir of a girl from a life of privilege flung into a very different lifestyle during World War II. Elisa Segrave found her mother Anne's diaries in an attic when clearing her house. Anne and Elisa have never had a good relationship due in part to Anne's neediness and alcoholism. Elisa is fascinated to gain insight into her mother's early life and wartime experience: something Anne has never shared.There is a particularly touching letter to Anne on her first birthday, from her father serving in WWI. It is all the more poignant as he dies in an accident just a few weeks later.

As someone who has researched my own family history, I would love to have such a precious resource as Anne's diaries. The diaries are very cleverly woven into the story. While there are sometimes complete entries, there is often an odd phrase dropped into the narrative. Elisa expands on the entries by explaining the historical context or what has been happening in the family at that time.

Ultimately, this book is as much about the mother-daughter relationship as it is about Anne's wartime work. Elisa comes to understand Anne better and even, in a way, to admire her. It is sad that it is too late to build and repair their relationship due to her mother's illness. It is clear that Elisa also finds this distressing.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, 12 Aug 2013
This review is from: The Girl from Station X: My Mother's Unknown Life (Hardcover)
A fascinating world war 11 story. With a mother diaries and the mother and the child's relationship. All other reviews from amazon are very good and will help readers read about The Girl From Station x.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deeply moving book, 14 Aug 2013
This review is from: The Girl from Station X: My Mother's Unknown Life (Hardcover)
Was hardly able to put this book down. It is beautiful, touching, honest in its depiction of all aspects of a daughter's love - enfuriation, deep disappointment, empathy, humility and forgiveness all entwined in the sheer complexity of human emotion which unfolds and which I feel sure is a gift as much as a burden.
I cannot believe that anyone with any sadness in their relationship with their mother, however different in its detail, will not relate to what Elisa Segrave has given in this book - and take great comfort from it. A masterpiece in my eyes.
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The Girl from Station X: My Mother's Unknown Life
The Girl from Station X: My Mother's Unknown Life by Elisa Segrave (Hardcover - 27 Jun 2013)
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