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One Fine Day

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  163 ratings  ·  26 reviews
It's a summer's day in 1946. The English village of Wealding is no longer troubled by distant sirens, yet the rustling coils of barbed wire are a reminder that something, some quality of life, has evaporated. Together again after years of separation, Laura and Stephen Marshall and their daughter Victoria are forced to manage without "those anonymous caps and aprons who li
Paperback, 179 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Virago UK (first published October 1947)
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Little Women by Louisa May AlcottAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryThe Help by Kathryn StockettLittle House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls WilderSense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Domestic novels
15th out of 37 books — 14 voters
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World War II Fiction
414th out of 605 books — 979 voters

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Community Reviews

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In this beautiful and lyrically told novel Mollie Panter-Downes chronicles a day in the life of the Marshall family, a middle class family living in post World War II England.
While Britain has come out of the war victorious, life has not returned to what it once was and for most, it never will.
The change the Marshall family feels most keenly is domestic. They have been left to manage a house and garden without the servants that they once had.
"And it suddenly struck him as preposterous how depend
One of the best short novels I have read in a long time. Exceptional writing.
Spotted this on Overbylass' site, it sounded like my kind of book - and was. Couldn't get a more fitting title - one day in the life of Laura Marshall. Every so often I crave a book like this, quiet, where nothing much happens (except life as it really is) but where I am given moments and thoughts that rush up from the past or loom in from the future. I found the reflective description superb, and could relate to the main character in so many ways.

"All those windows, she thought in horror. For
This was the first book by this author that I really had difficulty getting through. Despite being beautiful and intriguing on a psychological and sociological level, it felt rather dull to me most of the time. It isn't really my kind of book at all, I'm afraid. I'm not sorry I read it, but would not wish to read it again or recommend it to anyone with a brief attention span.
Anastasia Hobbet
Someone said, "It's like Virginia Woolf!" and I ordered it. But no one's like Virginia Woolf. It's more like Barbara Pym, but without her wit, irony, clarity, or eye for the perfect single detail--leaving only Pym's choice of character type and setting. A very thin Pym.
One Fine Day racconta, attraverso gli occhi di Laura Marshall, del marito Stephen e della loro figlia Victoria, la giornata (la bella giornata del titolo) di una famiglia qualsiasi in un paesino rurale inglese, Wealding. E' il 1946 e le persone stanno cercando di tornare alla normalità. Peccato che la normalità, dopo i devastanti anni di guerra, non esista più, o per lo meno assomigli assai poco a quello che un tempo si riteneva normalità. Molte persone sono andate in guerra e non sono tornate, ...more
Currently my favourite book, for the sheer dizzy intensity of the summer day described. Even when I'm not reading the book, I can feel the summer heat and the sense of Laura's shocked surprise at being alive. The war is over, she has survived, and this is the summer day she never expected to see, a summer day in peacetime. This is the day she realises in mind and body that she is alive, when somehow the heat of the sun warms her senses into life. So she can see and hear the people around her wit ...more
Julia Tracey
Hard to read this book without the song, "One FIne Day," playing in my mind. But it's really the story of one fine day, that is, no rain, beautiful weather -- and the chance for all the members of this family to reassess the way life was before the war, during the war, and since the war. It's the middle class readjustment -- no more servants. The end of a class who is idle. The husband knowing he will take the 8:47 train to London for another 20 years, or til he drops dead. The mother knowing sh ...more
A tone poem of a summer day in 1946 in a village in England. Nothing much happens, so don't read this if you want plot. Instead, Panter-Downes gives a word painting from the perspective of a wife, her returned husband, and their young daughter. Everyone thought life would return to normal after the end of the war, but you can't roll back seven years. The big houses can't be kept up because the domestic help went off to war or to factories and never came back. Even middle class women have to do w ...more
Beautifully written.
Set in a hot day in July 1946.
The war has ended and life will never be the same again for the middle classes.
Mollie has an eye for character.
This is such a wonderful book which I devoured in a day.
It has a beautiful cover on the original Virago edition which I recently bought in a charity shop.
WWII has ended, and in the English countryside, Laura is trying to run her deteriorating house and garden in the upper-class manner to which she and her just-returned husband had been accustomed before the war, but, she's not skilled at any of these chores, she's not well-organized, servants are no longer available. While her husband was away, she and her daughter picked up meals any old way, but now, she wants to return to candlelit dinners with a bit of old pomp. It's all too much for her, as ...more
Excerpt from this little gem- one day in the life of Laura Marshall of the English village, Wealding. She has just gone to fetch her straying dog from a gypsy who lives up on the the hill. . . "Laura looked at him, wondering about him. For instance,how old? Difficult to tell, for he was sparely built, and this queer solitary life up here had failed to stamp him with any of the usual identification marks. He was like a letter without a postmark, no clue given as to how far or how long he had trav ...more
A very gentle and poignant study of a rural English village in the months after the end of the Second World War. Set over one day and following the lives of a middle-class woman, her husband and their daughter, the novel follows their actions and thoughts as they adjust to "normal" post-war life and anticipate its challenges. It's not one of those books I couldn't put down and I read it over the course of months rather than weeks, but it's one I kept coming back to and it was easy to pick up aft ...more
Paulo Migliacci
One fine book. (Too many gladioli, though.)
Reading this book is like eating really good quality dark chocolate. There's not much of it, but you don't need much to get a fix because the writing is exquisite. There's not even that much of a story, but it doesn't matter a jot. You read this book for the sheer pleasure of reading the words within. It is a portrait in words of a post war family on a hot summer day. Not a word is wasted. I can't think why it took me so long to discover Mollie - she is right up my street.
Beautiful poetic writing about the emotional changes in people following WW2
Dotty Finlow
Beautifully written, a gentle snapshot of a moment in time which would never be quite so gentle ever again. A very real feeling of a time lost and the unknown hovering. Maybe it was because it was so subtle I could put it down and pick it up without any sense of needing to turn the page to see what happened next.
Fantastic book - a picture of a lost world.... with a message at the end we would all do well to heed today.....
I've been lent this to read - I have to have my own copy!
I enjoyed the first couple of chapters greatly - the writing seemed to be exactly the sort I find pleasurable. After a while though, the 'fine day' became rather wearying, and the stream-of-consciousness and sudden shifts between perspectives, hard to follow. It's a case where style has overwhelmed substance.
Gabi Coatsworth
I've listed this as a classic, because it should be. A beautifully written novel - it's evocative and somewhat elegaic. not as piercing as her World War 2 pieces for the New Yorker, it still got under my skin. Read it when you have time to savor the writing. You won't regret it.
Jan 04, 2013 Janis rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
It was a beautifully written book...the language lyrical almost poetic...the action takes place in a single day, and most of it in the imagination of the main protagonist...highly recommended...
Florence Millo
I think I just wasn't in the mood for a book written in such a hushed tone. I will come back to it and try it again another time. I just found it boring.
A true gem of a novel about how one British family deals with the aftermath of World War II. I am so glad I discovered this beautiful book!
Amanda Waters
Sep 11, 2012 Amanda Waters marked it as to-read
Shelves: ra
post-World War II England, lyrical, meloncholy but hopeful. Recommended by Work in Progress
Austen to Zafón
Read for my postal book group. Will write a review later.
Absolutely beautiful.
Michelle McMonagle
Michelle McMonagle marked it as to-read
Nov 20, 2014
Alice Randall
Alice Randall marked it as to-read
Nov 18, 2014
Catherine marked it as to-read
Nov 15, 2014
Ms. Beak In A Book
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Nov 15, 2014
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Mary Patricia "Mollie" Panter-Downes (25 August 1906—22 January 1997) was a novelist and newspaper columnist for The New Yorker. Aged sixteen, she wrote The Shoreless Sea which became a bestseller; eight editions were published in 1923 and 1924, and the book was serialised in The Daily Mirror. Her second novel The Chase was published in 1925.

After her marriage to Aubrey Robinson in 1927, the coupl
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