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Book recs please - easy but lovely reads maybe wartime fiction

(62 Posts)
Grockle Tue 24-May-11 07:01:59

I haven't read book I loved in ages. I need something light & easy to read. Not Marian Keyes and such but something similarly easy with a little more weight. As a teen, I loved wartime romance type books and think I'd like to read some again blush but am open to anything that I can read whilst dealing with 3 small boys, a huge workload and poor health. TIA

LawrieMarlow Tue 24-May-11 07:07:24

I like books by Elizabeth Elgin which are definitely easy to read but I like them smile.

She wrote a series of books which start at WW1 and go through to WW2 and after following a family and others. The first one is I'll Bring You Buttercups which is showing at a silly price on Amazon but you can get in charity shops or libraries and I am pretty sure ordinary bookshops. There are another 4 in that series and she also wrote other wartime fiction.

TanteRose Tue 24-May-11 07:14:51

Small Island, Andrea Levy is good

Grockle Tue 24-May-11 07:37:57

I used to LOVE Elizabeth Elgin. I shall scour the library and look for Small Island too, thank you

elkiedee Tue 24-May-11 12:58:26

Some I've enjoyed recently, set in WW2 (a current reading obsession)

Barbara Euphan Todd, Miss Ranskill Comes Home
Noel Streatfeild, Saplings
Monica Dickens, Mariana
Marghanita Laski, To Bed with Grand Music
Mollie Panter-Downes, Good Evening, Mrs Craven (short stories)
Sarah Blake, The Postmistress
Catherine Hall, Days of Grace
Laura Wilson, The Lover, Stratton's War and An Empty Death (crime fiction)
(The top 5 of these are Persephone reprints of books published in the 1940s, which I collect)

KurriKurri Tue 24-May-11 14:46:26

The Cazalet Chronicles (a whole series) by Elizabet Jane Howard are good and set in wartime.

Also R.F.Delderfield has written a few set in and around WW2. The Dreaming Suburb and The Avenue Goes To War (the sequel) and Diana is a wartime story. (They may be a bit old fashioned but I often return to them as comfort books smile)

Atonement by Ian McEwan is set in the war - but it seems to be a bit 'marmite' - you love it or hate it.

steviesmith Tue 24-May-11 14:53:33

Agree with R F Delderfield. I loved A Horseman Riding when I was a teenager. I think that one ends with WW1 though. Also Henry Green was writing in the 30's and 40's. Caught was particularly good although it might be a bit too grim to count as light.

Rosamunde Pilcher?

SpangledPandemonium Tue 24-May-11 15:02:35

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

Not perfect but easy to read.

toughdecisions Tue 24-May-11 15:06:18

Also a big Delderfield fan.

Rule Britannia by Daphne Du Maurier
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

MurielTheActor Tue 24-May-11 15:48:01

You can't beat Elizabeth Bowen for wartime fiction - IMHO....

aliceliddell Tue 24-May-11 15:57:51

'Fair stood the wind for France' by HE Bates. (Tearjerker, nothing like 'Darling buds of May)

candytuft63 Tue 24-May-11 16:04:19

Anything by Mollie Panter-Downs.Have just read "The Postmistress" by Sarah Blake - really involving, couldn't put it down.

ColonelBrandonsBiggestGroupie Tue 24-May-11 19:09:03

Read Goodnight Mr Tom - it's a children's book but a superb one.

Also I read one called The Welsh Girl a couple of years ago which was okay and iirc was set in the 2nd World War.

Also, try Evelyn Waugh perhaps.

Grockle Tue 24-May-11 19:10:04

Oh wow, what a great list, thank you. I'll play on amazon later. I read Fair Stood the Wind for France for my English GSCE and really enjoyed it. I think that may be what started my interest in WW2 fiction. Thank you so much smile

jimswifein1964 Tue 24-May-11 19:14:46

Oooo, there's an Anita Shreve one thats fantastic and heart-wrenching at the end; about a woman who hides a stranded enemy ?pilot... I cant think of the title.....

bagelmonkey Tue 24-May-11 19:25:36

Robert Goddard - Take No Farewell

VoldemortsNipple Tue 24-May-11 19:37:16

Can I recommend The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer.

Paris, 1937. Andras Levi, an architecture student, has arrived from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to Clara Morgenstern a young widow living in the city. When Andras meets Clara he is drawn deeply into her extraordinary and secret life, just as Europe's unfolding tragedy sends them both into a state of terrifying uncertainty.

From a remote Hungarian village to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the despair of Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in forced labour camps and beyond, The Invisible Bridge tells the story of a marriage tested by disaster and of a family, threatened with annihilation, bound by love and history.

Ive just finished this book and really enjoyed it.

BoattoBolivia Tue 24-May-11 19:45:51

Following on from Goodnight Mr Tom, all the books by Michelle Magorian are brilliant. They are technically children's books, beautifully written, very powerful and mostly do to with the end of the war, evacuation and returning soldiers. Can't recommend them enough!

Grockle Tue 24-May-11 19:45:58

I really didn't expect so many responses, thank you. Goodnight Mr Tom is one of my all time favourite books. I cry every time. And The Diary of Anne Frank and the Silver Sword. Children's books can be great.

I am so looking forward to going to the library. I might see how quickly stuff from Amazon will arrive too grin

bonnetarte Tue 24-May-11 19:46:21

You might enjoy Pam Jenoff
here mostly have a wartime setting or indeed
April in Paris

piebald Tue 24-May-11 20:12:31

Charlotte Gray by Sebastion Faulks

elkiedee Wed 25-May-11 11:41:08

I second the recommendation of The Invisible Bridge - it's not so light, either physically or in content, though the new paperback edition is much more compact than the one I read from the library, but it's a very good read!

MoniDubai Wed 25-May-11 12:35:36

maybe The Story of Edgar Sawtelle or Mr Pip, some of my faves reveiwed on www.doindubai.com but also loved Nothing to Envy Barbara Demick non fiction but actually reads like fiction and very poignant, romantic

Lilymaid Wed 25-May-11 12:59:50

I'll second the recommendation for the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard - story of a wealthy family from 1937-47. I've just re-read the 4 books on my Kindle and wished there were more ...

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