Tagged with First World War novels

The Little Soul by Elinor Mordaunt (1920)

A very odd sounding novel, this, but notable for a sympathetic portrayal of a doctor who performs abortions. Review by Sue R: A  dramatic novel  set before and during World War One, it relates the story of Charles Hoyland,  “the little soul” of the title, and how he loses it. The epigraph at the beginning … Continue reading

The Sun in the Sands by Henry Williamson (1945)

Review by George Simmers (see his Great War Fiction blog here) When Chris told us that this month’s author would be Henry Williamson, my heart sank a little. I’ve read a fair bit of Williamson but he is not among my favourite writers. Reviewing one of his novels, J. B. Priestley described it as ‘a … Continue reading

The Beautiful Years by Henry Williamson (1921)

This is Williamson’s first published novel. I wondered, after hearing how the book presents a bleak picture of the years before World War 1 – years that are often presented as a golden ‘Edwardian sunset’ – whether the title is ironic? Review by Helen N: The plot concerns Willie Maddison, a motherless boy growing up … Continue reading

Henry Willliamson (1895-1977)

Henry Williamson (1895-1977) was a hugely prolific author (he  wrote over 50 books), best-known for his 1927 novel Tarka the Otter. As you might expect, given his birth date of 1895, Williamson fought in WW1 and his experiences there were extremely important to the direction of his life and writing. At our reading group discussion we got … Continue reading

Greenmantle by John Buchan (1916)

This month we have also read the Richard Hannay novels by John Buchan. Responses were very mixed! Some thought the later novels inferior to the first, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), others thought them a rollicking read! The five Hannay novels are: The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915); Greenmantle (1916); Mr Standfast (1919); The Three Hostages (1924); The … Continue reading

WW1 as a Holy Crusade? Ernest Raymond’s best-seller ‘Tell England’ (1922)

Review by Reading Group member First, a plot summary: Initially the narrator describes the public school life of himself and his two close friends.  Training to ‘rule the waves’ involves the internalisation of key English characteristics, viz. reserve, restraint, resilience. The teaching of such cultural values is reinforced by caning, ridicule and isolation. Counterpointing this … Continue reading