Cherry Ames Cruise Nurse (1948) by Julie Tatham

By Val Hewson and Chris Hopkins Cherry Ames, for anyone unfamiliar with her – and I would be interested to hear who does remember her and the career novels written for girls in the mid-20th century – is a young American nurse. She qualifies in the early 1940s and takes various jobs, including wartime service … Continue reading

Now, Voyager (1941), by Olive Higgins Prouty

The classic movie Now, Voyager (1942), starring Bette Davis, is so familiar that I can pretty nearly play it in my head. Claude Rains as Dr Jaquith tapping his pipe against a valuable Chinese vase in the hall of a great Boston house. Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale walking nervously down the gangplank of the … Continue reading

The Shuttle (1907) by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Book review by George Simmers: When my daughter was young I used to read to her regularly, and when she was ten or eleven we both greatly enjoyed the children’s books of Frances Hodgson Burnet. The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Editha’s Burglar. Wonderful stories. Frances Hodgson Burnet. was born in Manchester, … Continue reading

The Heat of the Day (1948) by Elizabeth Bowen

Book Review by George Simmers: The Heat of the Day is a novel set in 1942. The central character is Stella, whose lover, Robert had been wounded at Dunkirk. He now seems to be working in Whitehall. One day a mysterious man called Harrison comes to Stella’s flat and tells her that Robert is passing … Continue reading

Beau Brocade (1907) by Baroness Orczy

Book review by George Simmers. This month we are looking at books and writers connected with Derbyshire and Yorkshire, and this novel, despite being written by the Hungarian, Baroness Orczy, qualifies on both counts. It is set on the moors of Derbyshire, and Baroness Orczy, having married her theatrical collaborator, Montagu Barstow, lived with him … Continue reading

What Did It Mean? (1954) by Angela Thirkell

Book review by Hilary Temple. The twenty-third title in the Barsetshire series, this novel requires Thirkell to start with some recapitulation. The first sentence contains a reference to Queen Elizabeth II who by this date has been on the throne for two years, enabling the author to describe the effects of the coronation in June … Continue reading

Coronation Summer (1937) by Angela Thirkell

Book review by Hilary Temple. In this summer of celebrating the 70th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II it is interesting to read a celebration, quite untypical of her other work, by Angela Thirkell of the crowning of Queen Victoria but ingeniously published in the year of the coronation of King George VI. … Continue reading

The Luck of the Bodkins (1935) by P.G. Wodehouse

Book Review by George Simmers: July was Herbert Jenkins month at the Sheffield Hallam 1900-1950 Reading Group, and so I gave myself a treat by reading a Wodehouse. Before 1918 P.G. Wodehouse had a variety of British publishers, but in 1918 Picadilly Jim was taken on by Herbert Jenkins, and Wodehouse liked the way that … Continue reading

Giant’s Bread by Mary Westmacott (1930)

Book review by George S: This is the first of the novels that Agatha Christie published under the name of Mary Westmacott. It is an odd book, though an interesting one. (Warning: The review contains spoilers.) It begins with a prologue, the opening night of a new opera, The Giant, by an unknown Russian composer. … Continue reading