I fancy reading something set in the 1940s- any recommendations?

(72 Posts)
tethersend Thu 13-Sep-12 22:09:22

Please?

flubba Thu 13-Sep-12 22:16:31

The Soldier's Return by Melvyn Bragg. Post-war story. Apparently very much liked by a number of book clubs (I personally didn't enjoy it, but that's not to say you wouldn't - obviously! grin)

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters.

tethersend Thu 13-Sep-12 22:24:13

Thanks smile

Was The Night Watch televised recently or am I thinking of something else?

highlandcoo Fri 14-Sep-12 11:07:33

22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson and Nourishment by Gerard Woodward.

Both deal with the effect of a husband's absence during WW2 but are very different in tone. The first is more sensitive and disturbing; the second is quirkier with moments of black humour.

Some good books from this time from Persephone books smile

janesnowdon1 Fri 14-Sep-12 11:56:52

Oh yes I would second highlandcoo's books (both excellent especially Nourishment - funny and sad and also add the following:

The Slave's of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton - about a late 30's/40 year old unmarried woman who moves from London during the blitz to a sleepy commuter town boarding house (for increased safety) . There are some very strange paying guests and oversexed American GI's. It may not sound good but is terrific.
www.amazon.co.uk/The-Slaves-Solitude-Patrick-Hamilton/dp/1845294157/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347619818&sr=8-1

The Dreaming Surburb and the follow up The Avenue Goes to War by R.F. Delderfield follows the fortunes of the residents of a surburban avenue in Outer South London and is very enjoyable
www.amazon.co.uk/The-Dreaming-Suburb-R-Delderfield/dp/034096376X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1347619965&sr=1-2

www.amazon.co.uk/Avenue-Goes-War-R-Delderfield/dp/0340963786/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347620050&sr=1-1

Finally- London Belongs to Me by Norman Collins is about the tenants of a building on the eve of the second world war
www.amazon.co.uk/London-Belongs-Penguin-Modern-Classics/dp/0141442336/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347620141&sr=1-1

DuchessofMalfi Fri 14-Sep-12 14:13:21

How about Mary Wesley?

Or The Report by Jessica Francis Kane which is about the Bethnal Green Tube Station disaster.

Portofino Fri 14-Sep-12 14:17:35

I love the Camomile Lawn.

shrinkingnora Fri 14-Sep-12 14:30:14

A Town like Alice - Nevil Shute
Coming Home - Rosamund Pilcher

Seeline Fri 14-Sep-12 14:31:23

I was going to suggest the Delderfield books too. A bit old fashioned in their style now but I love them (and all his other books Horsemand Riding By series, To serve Them All my Days etc)

Themumsnot Fri 14-Sep-12 14:39:46

Angela Thirkell's books. They start off in the 1930s and go right through the war and the post war period. A lot of them are out of print now but some of them have been republished. The first two are High Rising and Wild Strawberries.

clippityclop Fri 14-Sep-12 14:41:28

Shellseekers by Rosamund Pilcher.

TheLightPassenger Fri 14-Sep-12 15:56:14

The Fortunes of War sequence by Olivia Manning - Balkan Trilogy and Levant Trilogy

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

All that I am by Anna Funder (more 30s than 40s)

thepeanutsparent Fri 14-Sep-12 16:06:54

Mary Wesley war trilogy - Camomile Lawn, A Sensible Life & Part of the Furniture.
The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford.

maltravers Fri 14-Sep-12 16:15:51

The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard (totally fab) and I second The Night Watch too.

NatashaBee Fri 14-Sep-12 16:32:27
Bunbaker Fri 14-Sep-12 16:40:40

Another vote for The Cazalet series (4 books). I watched in on TV several years ago and it was brilliant.

I couldn't read 'The Night Watch' - just found it painfully slow and didn't engage with the characters at all.

'A Town Like Alice' is one of my favourite books ever - it's just lovely.

'Breakfast At Tiffany's' is 1940s, I think.

'Goodnight Mr Tom' - I bet you've read that though!

Orangesarenottheonlyfruit Fri 14-Sep-12 16:50:11

Oh oh me, me!!!! <Waves hand desperately....>
Persephone Classics have reissued some forgotten early c20th writers that are BRILLIANT.
Have just finished Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple, about a husband and wife... and the au pair..., fantastic book. Amazingly deftly written, I really enjoyed it and it will stay with me for a long time. www.amazon.co.uk/Someone-at-Distance-Persephone-Classics/dp/1906462003/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347637736&sr=8-1

Also Mariana by Monica Dickens (Charles' granddaughter). A 30's/ 40's tale of growing up but fabulous and with a little more 'edge' than in I Capture the Castle. A great forgotten book. www.amazon.co.uk/Mariana-Monica-Dickens/dp/0953478017/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347637787&sr=1-3

The End Of The Affair - Graham Greene

And 'Brideshead Revisited' though a lot of that is pre-war memories.

Portofino Fri 14-Sep-12 18:13:02

I have downloaded the RF Delderfield books. I love, love, loved To Serve Them All My Days. I quite liked the Nightwatch.

tethersend Fri 14-Sep-12 21:09:46

Ooh, answers! Thanks smile

Right.

Have already read:

-22 Britannia Road

-London Belongs to Me

-The Report (One of the characters lives in my house!)

-Goodnight Mr. Tom

-Have seen the TV adaptations of The Night Watch, Brideshead Revisted & the Camomile Lawn

So that leaves:

-Nourishment

-The Slaves of Solitude

-The Dreaming Surburb & The Avenue Goes to War

-A Town Like Alice

-Coming Home

-High Rising & Wild Strawberries

-Shellseekers

-The Fortunes of War sequence

-Suite Francaise

-All that I am

-The Pursuit of Love

-The Cazalet Chronicles

-War Brides

-Mariana

-Someone at a Distance

-The End Of The Affair

(Are most of these set in England BTW? Don't care where they're set, just fancy something from the forties...)

Have I missed any?

I'm going to be very busy for a few weeks grin

Waswondering Fri 14-Sep-12 21:13:24

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

Excellent about what life was like in the Channel Islands - all told through letters and correspondence.

Also recommend Coming Home by Rosamund Pilcher - very easy read but deeply engaging (ie nobody dare speak to me while my nose is in this book!)

Love 1940s fiction!!

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