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

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


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)

NormanTheForeman Thu 13-Sep-12 22:17:23

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.

misspollysdolly Fri 14-Sep-12 11:56:43

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.

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

Finally- London Belongs to Me by Norman Collins is about the tenants of a building on the eve of the second world war

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Fri 14-Sep-12 16:44:16

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.

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.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Fri 14-Sep-12 16:56:50

The End Of The Affair - Graham Greene

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Fri 14-Sep-12 16:58:03

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


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:


-The Slaves of Solitude

-The Dreaming Surburb & The Avenue Goes to War

-A Town Like Alice

-Coming Home

-High Rising & Wild Strawberries


-The Fortunes of War sequence

-Suite Francaise

-All that I am

-The Pursuit of Love

-The Cazalet Chronicles

-War Brides


-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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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