My Love Affair with England: A Traveler's Memoir
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My Love Affair with England: A Traveler's Memoir

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  321 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Journalist and memoirist Susan Allen Toth brings her special England vivdly to life as she recalls her many trips there over the years, where she explored the countryside, traveled both second-class and in luxury, theatre-hopped, hunted for ghosts, and honeymooned. Humorous, bittersweet, and wonderfully eccentric, this is a delightful remembrance to be savored by those who...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 8th 1994 by Ballantine Books (first published 1992)
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This one has been lying on the bedside table, unfinished, these past 2 months, so it's time to shelve it as DNF. I'm typically not a big fan of memoirs, but I had been considering a trip to England this summer, and thought this book might inspire me. Ms. Toth fell in love with England on a study-abroad trip. She has gone back multiple times, often visiting London. Her stories were amusing at times, but some of it I could have skipped. I loved the stories of her hitchhiking across the UK, and vis...more
I haven't had so much fun since I went to England! Although I'm afraid no one else will really care much about this book unless they have spent time there.

I felt like Susan Allen Toth perfectly explained why someone can fall so in love with England and just itch to get back there again. I loved her descriptions of the gardens, the people, the funny quirks of the British, the manor houses . . . and although I will probably never be able to spend as much time there as she has, it reminded me of wh...more
I picked up My Love Affair with England again recently, for what must be the umpteenth time, in preparation for my upcoming vacation. I first read this cheery travel memoir when I was in high school and had no chance whatsoever of going to England because my parents didn't have any desire to go. I've since read it many more times. I've become familiar with the stories that Susan Allen Toth tells about her favorite country, so that they almost feel like bedtime stories.

Travel memoirs walk a trick...more
Nov 19, 2007 Kathryn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loves England and/or gardens
Shelves: non-fiction
Charming! Truly little vignettes of love for and about England, with some traveler's tips tossed in for good measure. Toth loves gardens and spends a great deal of time discussing them, and her section on Whinnie the Pooh's England was absolutely adorable! This added greatly to my joy and anticipation as I planned my trip to the UK!
I'm not sure how to accurately voice my feelings about this book. It was a fun read, given to me by my mother in preparation for my upcoming year in England. She thought I'd resonate with the author, who loves England for its literature and history. And I did. There were places where she came close to capturing what it is that so intoxicates me about the country of kings and poets, architects and scholars. But she also misses the mark, I think.

She is someone who likes to dabble in England, imag...more
I bought this little book at our library used book sale for $1.50 and have enjoyed it immensely. We just recently took our first trip to England and I was delighted to read about their adventures driving on narrow country roads as we had done! Really loved her insights and humor too. Wish I could visit this beautiful country as many times as she has, but maybe will get another trip in someday.
Joy Weese Moll
Feb 10, 2014 Joy Weese Moll rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Armchair Anglophiles and anyone who loves a beautifully-written travel memoir
My Love Affair with England is a loosely-joined, non-chronological, series of essays covering about thirty years of travel in England from 1960 to the early 1990s. The topics range from food and sheep dog trials to the theater and the royal family. As one could guess from the title, this is a romantic look at the country of Shakespeare’s theater, Wordsworth’s daffodils, and Austen’s Lyme Regis.

This is at least the third time I’ve read My Love Affair with England, even though I’m not usually a re...more
The way Toth writes is so readable and evokes the imagery of what she’s describing. When she writes of English gardens, medieval churches, the wild coast line walks I was transported. Toth also writes of her native Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and how her love of England transforms her everyday life. She is often asked why if she loves England so she has not moved there permanently? But then she relays stories of the time she worked in London for seven months and was miserable. It had much to do w...more
Etta Mcquade
Having been to England several times, I relished reading about the country from an intelligent American who had been there a lot. I particularly enjoyed the hilarious chapter of her going to England for the first time as a student in 1960 taking a six-week summer course entitled "English Art, Literature and Music 1660-1780." When the course was finished, she and another girl, also a student, hitchhiked around England, "because I knew my mother would not approve," she writes. (p. 58)

However, some...more
The book seemed to be interesting enough. I, too, keep returning to England to see the literary landmarks, museums, and castles. It was nice to recall my own memories and to nod in agreement to some of her observations. But it's a book so poorly constructed that I kept thinking I need to just type my travel journals and submit to a publisher. She had no objective or theme to hold this together as a book. There was no real purpose or meaning. The chapters were not in chronological order and the r...more
An unexpectedly enchanting account of the author's travels in England, which was particuarly nostalgic for me as a long-time Anglophile whose first travel abroad experiences were there. I, too, learned how to easily navigate the city of London during my week-long high school theatre trip, and feeling that I was returning to an old friend when I came back a couple of years later. I now regret I haven't visited England nearly as often or a long as Susan Allen Toth has--for me, this great armchair...more
I really enjoyed this book, but I would rate it more accurately 3.5 or 3.75 stars (for whatever that's worth). It was a little long and rambling at times. Toth is clearly passionate about the more traditional and classic elements of travel around England, which is nice to read, but I wonder if she is truly in touch with modern England. I didn't enjoy this book as much as "England for All Seasons," but anyone who is interested in England would certainly find pleasure in reading this book.
A friend let me borrow this book that she had placed on ILL since it's out of print and our library doesn't have it. I loved Toth's simple yet evocative language as she described travelling to England over the course of her life. I love travelling in England, and the city of London specifically holds a special place in my heart. I would caution that this book, though I loved it, might not appeal to readers who do not share my enthusiasm for all things English.
Good reading for commuting and escapism. The essays are different length, but generally short enough that you can finish one in a day's commute or one shorter bout of sitting. The author's love forEngland is almost palpable at time, but it doesn't make one retch, because it's an admiration and almost reflective celebration of different things all-English.... also, a couple of the essays definitively establish England as a vacation-only spot.
Julie Davis
#28 - 2010.

Rather a "forgotten classic" on my own shelves. Casting around for something light to read I came across this book which is truly a love letter to England. A very enjoyable travelogue/memoir, although I do wonder how she manages to find the money, not to mention the time, to do so much traveling abroad. Must be nice.
Jane Ellen
The frank and conversational style of Mrs. Toth, though not my preference, proved charming in this memoir detailing various encounters whilst visiting England. Offering some of the "real-life" experience for those of us unable to swim across the pond, Love Affair only increased my appetite for the Mother Country.
As an anglophile I have found her memoirs/travelogues to be among the very best. I feel like she is my doppleganger, even to the fact of being married to men 15 yrs our senior. In any case, although the books are at least 10-15 years old, they still were quite topical and helpful for our 2009 trip to England.
Loved this! And now I desperately want to go back to England! Toth is a great writer - she really brings scenes and locations to life. Her love of the country - which is not always smooth sailing - shines through.

And I now have a list of places I must see next time I'm in England!
Catherine Adde
Slightly dated, but still a favorite of mine: the author's answer to her friends who question her: why does she have to travel to England year after year, to the exclusion of most other places. Part biography, part travel memoir, well written and abouve all, FUN.
Linda Chudej
Since I haven't been to England--yet--it's on my bucket list--I can't speak for the authenticity of this book but I know one thing for sure--I hope England's exactly like Ms. Toth describes it. I love her books for their vivid descriptions and humor.
I read this book right before I left for London for a semester abroad in college. It is a quaint set of essays by a Midwestern college professor regarding her travels in England, and it made me very excited to live in another country for a few months.
As a frequent visitor to England myself, I enjoyed this one, however I was a bit disappointed that she didn't describe much of her visits to the north and focused mostly just on London and the south, where she spent most of her time.
Meaghan E
Adorable. A bit jumpy towards the end, leaving a feeling of a rushed ending, but in general, a pleasant memoir of many charming trips to the English countryside and cities. Will definitely be reading its successors.
Terri Barrentine
I Loved this booked I have read it several times. I always wanted to go to England and was able to go there through this book while reading it that is until my husband took me there for our anniversary.
Produced dreams of long rambles on narrow footpaths, hedgerows, British flora and fauna, beautiful gardens and country houses and antiquated architecture. What's not to like, except driving on the left?
I enjoyed this romp through England which took the reader mostly to the many gardens, public and private, that people may view. This would make a good vacation read.
Michael Harris
A HHI Friends of the Library find. A pleasant look at England through the eyes and mind of a life long England Traveler, who also happens to be a writer.
This book was the perfect read at the perfect time. I own it and am unwilling to let it leave my bookshelves
This is a good read for people who already love England. But reading it won't make you fall in love.
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Ms. Toth graduated from Smith College and Berkeley and received a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1969. She taught English at San Francisco State College and now teaches at Macalester College in Minnesota. Toth has contributed articles and stories to a wide range of magazines and newspapers. She has written two memoirs—Blooming: A Small Town Girlhood (1981) and Ivy Days: Making My Way Ou...more
More about Susan Allen Toth...
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