Westwood by Stella Gibbons

Most people only know Stella Gibbons for writing Cold Comfort Farm, her first novel. But she went on to write more than 20 novels and Westwood, published in 1946 was believed to be Gibbons’ own personal favourite. Set in wartime London, Westwood is a coming of age story. It is the story of Margaret Steggles, … Continue reading

C S Forester’s Hornblower and the Atropos (1953)

Review by Val H: Boy’s Own Plus.  That’s Hornblower and the Atropos: an exploration of leadership within an exciting swashbuckler. The action takes place after the Battle of Trafalgar.  The Royal Navy’s Horatio Hornblower is recently promoted to captain, taking command of the King’s smallest ship, HMS Atropos (like Hornblower, an interesting name: Atropos was one … Continue reading

The Happy Return (1937) by C. S. Forester

Review by George S. The Happy Return was the first of Forester’s Hornblower novels to be published, though later books would fill in the hero’s earlier career. The book’s beginning plunges us straight into the action, with Captain Hornblower arriving in South America to begin a risky mission.

Cloudless May (1943) by Storm Jameson

Review by Sylvia D For our women writers and World Wars One and Two session I read Storm Jameson’s Cloudless May (Macmillan, 1943 and still in print) which is a political and psychological exploration of the fall of France in the Second World War. The writing reveals a considerable knowledge of French landscape, culture and … Continue reading

High Wages (1930) by Dorothy Whipple

Review by Sylvia D. High Wages is one of Dorothy Whipple’s early novels. It was first published in 1930 and was republished by Persephone in 2009 and the quotes in my review are taken from this edition. The title comes from an old saying; ‘Experience doth take dreadfully high wages, but she teaches like none … Continue reading

Tadpole Hall by Helen Ashton (1941)

This is a war novel which focuses on the home front rather than on active service. It is 1939 and the village of Lambscot is facing the threat and then the certainty of war. At the centre of the novel is Colonel Heron, a widower who lost an arm in the First World War and … Continue reading

The War-Workers* (1918) by E M Delafield (EMD)

  This month we have been reading books about women in war… I was looking things up for this review and found: ‘…those who knew her books…were astonished at her power to detect and expose humbug, self-importance, careerism and conceit.  The woman who by self-imposed martyrdom inflicts constant trouble and annoyance on her family and … Continue reading

That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis

This is the third in C.S. Lewis’s Science Fiction trilogy but unlike the first two books which were set on Mars and Venice respectively, this book is set on Earth shortly after the book was written in 1945,  in Edgestow – a Midland University town (possibly modelled on Durham). The protagonists are Jane and Mark, … Continue reading