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on 14 September 2008
An extraordinary, surprisingly frank book, covering Helen Thomas's life with poet Edward Thomas from their intense adolescent passion up to his death at the age of 49 in the First World War. Written several years later, Helen is no mean writer herself, and her love of life, often in the face of wretched circumstances, is quite infectious. Maybe her good-will, for example towards other women is his life, is hard to credit, but we have his word for it, in letters and poems, that no-one knew him as well as she did. Very good on the period and its values too.
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on 15 February 2013
This is a beautiful, moving and tender book. It is a gentle account, in the main, of a marriage from the first meeting of Helen Noble and Edward Thomas, their slow friendship which evolved into courtship, wedding and marriage, which included the raising of two children and partly a younger third child. The marriage ended when Edward met his untimely death in the killing fields of France in 1917. This account is contained within As It Was and World Without End. Both were written by Helen following her husband's death. Her writing style is natural and simple, following the advice Edward had given her to just write about things that she knew about and had experienced, honestly and simply. Her unique style gives these two works much poignancy. The passage about their last evening and night together before he went off to war is utterly heart rending.

All, however, was not sweetness and light within this marriage. Because of Edward's desire to become a recognised writer and poet he rarely worked a `normal' job. He failed to be recognised within his lifetime. Recognition came posthumously. The consequence of this was that the Thomas family lived permanently on the financial edge. Morever, Edward was a manic depressive before the days when treatment was available. He was often away and sometimes unfaithful and sometimes mentally cruel to his totally devoted wife. Her love seemed to have known no bounds. Some would call this naïve and stupid, but actually her life defined, as it was, by Edward I found strangely to enoble Helen rather than to detract from her.

Peppered throughout much of As It Was and World Without End is an account of nature as observed and felt by Helen and more particularly Edward. This is sublime.

Later sections of the book include letters from Helen to various people. It is within these letters that we get a more balanced account of her life with Edward. They represent her life devoid of any gloss and make for interesting reading. Helen also gives accounts of various people who were important in their lives or like D.H. Lawrence were acquaintances, but fascinating nonetheless for giving snippets of what these people were like.

There is a section written by their youngest daughter Myfanwy and this gives a different slant on her parent's marriage and her experience of loosing her father, the effect upon her mother and their life afterwards. This section contains examples of her father's poetry.

Last but not least this book contains much that is of interest to the social historian, covering as it does the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Fascinating to read about their strolls across Wandsworth Common and walks to Richmond Park through largely rural areas, since covered by an expanded London.

A must read for all who appreciate sensitivity and raw human emotion.
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on 5 February 2012
Under storm's wing is a collection of writings by Helen Thomas (1877-1967) in which she recounts her relationship with the great poet of the First World War, Edward Thomas (1878-1917). Assembled by their youngest daughter, Myfanwy, the collection incorporates Helen's first volume of memoirs `As it was' (1926), which depicts how the couple met and fell in love and married in secret while Edward was still at Oxford, much to their parents' disapproval. Helen was expecting their first child, Merfyn, and life would prove to be difficult for the young family.
Helen's second volume `World without end' (1931) continues their life together and the hardship as Edward found it increasingly difficult to find work he enjoyed with a steady income, instead of being forced to write essays and reviews and awful `hack-work' to put food on the table. He suffered from depression and needed to be alone quite often, shutting poor Helen out of his life at times with three children to care for. Edward fell into an affair with Eleanor Farjeon which must have hurt Helen most of all, but she stuck by him and never stopped loving him.
The American poet Robert Frost encouraged Edward in his own poetry writing and Thomas published `Six Poems' in 1916 under the pseudonym of Edward Eastaway.
Edward enlisted in the Artists Rifles in 1915 and was sent to France. He was killed at the Battle of Aras in 1917, aged just thirty-nine, by a blast wave from a shell that whistled by so close to him, it stopped his heart. He will be remembered for such classic poems as `Adelstrop', `And you, Helen', `As the Team's Head-Brass', `Words', `After Rain' and `What shall I give'... the name of Edward Thomas shall remain immortal and these intimate portraits by his dear wife and child will be read and loved for always!
The book also includes Myfanwy's account of her childhood and personal letters and memoirs of meetings with W H Davies, D H Lawrence, Ivor Gurney, Eleanor Farjeon, Robert Frost (6 letters to Edward) and W H Hudson. But it is Helen, who herself is also a wonderful writer, who shines through as a very understanding, passionate and forward-thinking young woman for her time. For me, Helen's words bring to life the simple man of the English countryside and the great poet, with all his brooding melancholy and moments of tenderness; we are given the gift of glimpsing their life together, and sharing their tears, for I truly believe this is one of the most beautiful books ever written! Astounding and timeless!
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on 15 March 2015
This is a marvellous piece of writing, created in the aftermath of what must have looked like the suicidal choice of Helen Thomas' husband, the poet Edward Thomas, to enlist in the Artists Rifles in the middle of the Great War. The book, delightfully produced, also contains work by her daughter Myfanwy and Helen's letters and descriptions of her experiences and her meetings with several famous writers, including D H Lawrence. In his dedication to her, the poem entitled And You Helen, Edward Thomas says that if he had the power to give her anything she wanted, he would grant her "a far better art than mine can be". As far as prose writing is concerned he has succeeded in this in my judgement. Helen was a bohemian, very bright and remarkably forward looking for her time, although not a suffragette in any way. Her description of her seduction of the man she loved and married is very compelling and matched only by her fascinating account of an educated middle class woman creating a magical homelife while whipped by poverty and the torment of a husband who may have suffered from "manic depression". It's a book that I will give to my daughters and grand daughter as a help in understanding the heroism at the heart of women's domestic life, insofar as I understand it.
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on 17 February 2014
A very interesting collection of resourses. I read it as a follow up to "Now all roads lead to France" so it gave considerable insight into Thomas's life from others viewpoint.
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on 19 June 2014
An excellent book which recounts life at the time of the First World War.It helps you to better understand Edward Thomas' poetry.
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on 19 March 2015
Excellent service and very pleased with purchase
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on 1 August 2015
great item. arrived speedily. thanks.
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on 9 January 2016
A book for a Christmas present
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on 23 January 2015
Recommended reading
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