Tag Archives: Second World War

A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt

A Notable Woman Romantic Journals Jean Lucey PrattJean Lucey Pratt was born in October 1909 and began writing her journal in 1925, filling up 45 exercise books until her death in 1986. Her diaries have been edited by Simon Garfield in the collection ‘A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt’. As a young woman, she lived with her widowed father in Wembley before going on to study architecture and pursuing a career in journalism in London. She moved to a cottage near Slough in 1939, taking a job in the publicity department at a metals company during the Second World War and later ran her own bookshop. However, it was her ongoing search for a husband which preoccupied her the most throughout much of her adult life.  Continue reading

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Epitaph for a Spy and Journey into Fear by Eric Ambler

Epitaph for a Spy Eric AmblerLast year, I went to an event in London to celebrate the work of classic crime fiction novelists Eric Ambler and Margery Allingham and I’ve finally got round to reading two of Ambler’s best known novels ‘Epitaph for a Spy’ and ‘Journey into Fear’, reissued as Penguin Modern Classics for his centenary in 2009. ‘Epitaph for a Spy’ tells the story of Joseph Vadassy, a Hungarian refugee and languages teacher who is on holiday in the south of France. When his camera is swapped with one whose film contains sensitive photos of secret naval installations in Toulon, Vadassy comes under suspicion of being a Gestapo agent. To convince the police that he isn’t guilty of espionage, he must find out which of the guests staying at the Hôtel de la Réserve is the real spy. Continue reading

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A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

A God in Ruins Kate AtkinsonKate Atkinson’s previous novel Life After Life published in 2013 told the story (or rather stories) of Ursula Todd who lives her life several times over in many variations with very different outcomes. Her latest book ‘A God in Ruins’ is a “companion novel” rather than a sequel which focuses on the life of Ursula’s younger brother Teddy. Spanning his life across the twentieth century and four generations of the Todd family, it draws on Teddy’s youth at Fox Corner, his wartime experiences as a pilot flying a Halifax bomber followed by later post-war years with his family. He marries his childhood sweetheart Nancy but has a strained relationship with their daughter Viola who shows little appreciation for the horrors Teddy witnessed when he served in Bomber Command. Continue reading

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