- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; New edition edition (25 Jun. 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140092633
- ISBN-13: 978-0140092639
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,070,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942: News from the Home Front, 1939-42 Paperback – 25 Jun 1987
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Loved and will be much re-read - only criticism is, I wanted more.
There are two volumes of the Henrietta letters and this is the first, which covers the period 1939 to 1942. Henrietta lives in Devon, a `safe area' in rural England. However, that is not to say that residents do not have their own concerns - from the threat of invasion, to taking in evacuees, digging for freedom, running sewing bees and jumble sales - these people were the backbone of the country during wartime. Anyone who has read anything about the Home Front knows that the WI virtually fed the country during wartime, while women volunteered as nurses, drivers and in so many ways kept things at home running. It is this that Henrietta reports on - reassuring those at home and in the forces that everything would be there for them when they return; that people could cope and would not fail in their task.
As a book though, this is utterly charming. We enjoy meeting Henrietta's friends and neighbours - the attractive Faith, who has the `Conductor' following her everywhere, boring people with his tales of unrequited love; Lady B, who writes letters to Hitler before bedtime, sternly informing, "just exactly what she thinks of him," and the rather argumentative Mrs Savernack, who sits on committees and "bosses everyone." Henrietta is frightened of big bangs, although when Londoners appear with their tales of the blitz, it results in some bad feelings between the locals and visitors. However, when Henrietta does re-visit the capital, "Here I am," says London, "knocked about a bit, but still here, and ready to give a welcome to a Country Cousin." I am delighted to give space to Henrietta, whose letters still read with warmth and humour. If you read and enjoy this, then I urge you to read the second volume, "Henrietta Sees It Through," which follows the news from the home front from 1942 - 1945.
The letters are supposed to be addressed to an old friend of Henrietta's, that she has grown up with, a soldier named Robert, that serves on the front. She has promised him to not write about the war and burden him with sad things when he obviously is not having too much fun himself. Instead she writes about her daily life in a "safe area" in Devonshire.
Henrietta might have been like the ordinary house wife in those days. She's the wife of a country doctor that is too busy to mind what his wife is up to. Her two children are grown and serving as soldier and nurse. Henrietta tries to be the heroic woman that her country asks her to be but she fails at being brave. She fails most things as a matter of fact. Dig for Victory is one of the things she is supposed to do but how can she when she has no talent for gardening? Through the book she tries her hand at several things and takes all new regulations with stride. Almost longing for invasion or bombs to fall so that she can prove herself. Her hardest hardship is to not get to be in a pretty uniform or feeling useful when everyone else seems to be doing their bit.
It's a funny book, hilarious at times because the village is so full of original characters. I truly recommend this book and I am glad that Bloomsbury has decided to publish old gems like these. They are probably all wholesome. There are several more like this in a sort of series. Readers choose for readers.
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