Tuesday, February 22, 2011

BOOK: Henrietta's War by Joyce Dennys

Henrietta's War by Joyce Dennys, 158 pages
 News from the homefront 1939-1942

A British book, set during the second world war, that is composed of letters, with a humorous mindset. If any of those appeal to you, this is your book. If I was Amazon.com, your inbox would look like this:
If you enjoyed La's Orchestra Saved the World, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and 84 Charing Cross Road, then may I recommend Henrietta's War?

Bloomsbury Group has made a series of  reprints of books from the early twentieth century 'chosen by readers for readers'. I bought the first six, including this and The Brontes Went to Woolworths, partially based on the good reviews these books were getting around the blogosphere last year, and partially because I liked the idea; also, they are so pretty. The full set, with similar covers but in different colours appealed to me visually, as well as the interiors by idea.

Joyce Dennys wrote this series of letters during the war, in the countryside of England These were published during the war, and then she put them away. She found them in 1985 while spring cleaning, and they were published that year. Henrietta's War, and Henrietta, appear to be quite autobiographical. Dennys was a doctor's wife, just like Henrietta. The letters Henrietta writes are to her dear childhood friend Robert, who is fighting at the front. Henrietta is relatively well off during the war - she still has help come in, she isn't in London during the worst of it and her husband is a doctor, but her goal is to distract Robert, so she writes amusing little vignettes, and tries to steer away from any misery or upsetting news. There are some wonderful characters in her town, the kind that caused the quote, "it's the old women of England who will break Hilter's heart in the end." they so want to do their part, but are often sidelined. Luckily, we have Henrietta, and Joyce Dennys to document their attempts.

I'll be looking for a sequel Henrietta Sees It Through: More News from The Homefront 1942-1945


  1. This sounds like my kind of book. Thanks for the review!

  2. This looks exactly like my kind of book! I have five of the Bloomsbury books, but not this one. Sadly, I haven't read a single one of them yet. I'll have to add this to the pile.

  3. I bought this book a while ago, not only because it sounds like a good read but also because the set looks gorgeous. Still haven't read it.

  4. As Bill Murray says in Groundhog Day: me, me, me.
    And I did love this book. Not the La book though I loved the other two. I can't wait for the sequel. I might like to read the first one over again and then the second. I'm smiling just remembering how very much I enjoyed it.

  5. kailana - it's really adorable

    karenlibrarian - I've liked it best so far. You must complete your set, and the sequel to Henrietta is out now, or soon. I'm slowly reading my Bloomsbury, like sucking on a candy to make it last.

    marg - isn't the set gorgeous? I just love them, and am gradually reading through them.

    nan - La was okay, I agree. I mentioned it because there was a conductor in Henrietta, and they put on some shows with bands and choruses, just like in La.
    Henrietta would be easy and enjoyable to read over and over. So delightful.

  6. Wonderful little book! I agree. I have the second one but haven't read it yet. I love these books too. I bought the second set from book depository as soon as they came out. They look so lovely together. I've only read the first set though. Wonder if they have a set coming out this year?

  7. I've got a copy of this one and I can't wait to read it -- in fact, I've been collecting titles from this Bloomsbury series, since I saw a photo of a pile of them that someone picked up at BEA and looked them up. So glad to know you enjoyed it so much that you plan to read on!


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