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Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  621 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Spirited Henrietta wishes she was the kind of doctor's wife who knew exactly how to deal with the daily upheavals of war. But then, everyone in her close-knit Devonshire village seems to find different ways to cope: there's the indomitable Lady B, who writes to Hitler every night to tell him precisely what she thinks of him; the terrifyingly efficient Mrs Savernack, who re ...more
Paperback, 158 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Bloomsbury (first published 1985)
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(showing 1-30)
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Karin
This is a compilation of a set of fictional letters based one the real WW II experiences in Joyce’s town. While she and her family are given different names, everyone else in the book is fictional as is the childhood friend they are addressed to. They were printed in a London newspaper throughout the war.

The humour is lovely, the characters endearing and the writing good. Naturally, WW II was a serious time, but there is almost always a time and place for humour to help people cope, and I think
...more
Jenny Brown
Mar 29, 2011 Jenny Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightful classic English village humor. Think Angela Thirkell without the nastiness, snobbery, and tendency to run on. Agatha Cristie without the body in the library.

If you need something to help you cope with the sheer awfulness of life today--and the pervasive corrosive cynicism--this will do nicely.
Susan
Jun 04, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book consists of fictional letters from the pen of Henrietta Brown, a housewife and mother, married to local doctor Charles, written to her childhood friend Robert. However, much of the life of Henrietta mirrored that of Joyce Dennys; born in India, she attended Art School in Exeter (in the book, her lodger was also a fellow art student) and she was also the wife of a doctor, a mother and a writer and artist. During the way, the character of Henrietta became a propaganda tool; a comfort to ...more
Jan C
Jun 04, 2014 Jan C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For most of this book my rating was a ★★ or ★★★ rating. But as I read the last couple of entries I just began to see so much more of her humor. Not sure that I had realized that she had also done the illustrations. And I think it began to remind me more of the Lucia and Mapp stories that I had stumbled upon at the local public library, long before it was on PBS.

The biographical note at the conclusion advises that Dennys had put aside her artwork when she married a doctor (much like Henrietta) an
...more
Emily
WWII from the perspective of the home front in a small village in Devon. I was taken aback and disconcerted at how light-hearted and cheerful it is, frothy, even. But then one recollects that as a collection of newspaper sketches, many if not most of its original readers had plenty of of grim reality close at hand and probably cherished its wittiness greatly. It's enlivened by sketches by the author which add some period charm.
Anuja (abookishrendezvous)
Henrietta's War was a delightful read. Laced with British Humour, the book also managed to dole out pearls of wisdom, albeit in a subtle way.

The day-to-day struggles of individuals living in a village in Devonshire are chronicled in a balanced manner. The reader can glimpse the privations the British Public had to undergo during the Second World War.

But strength and individual good will fuel not only the patriotic fervour but also act like moonbeams on the water to help the sailor navigate his w
...more
Elisha Condie
Jun 07, 2011 Elisha Condie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is the first book of the two about Henrietta's experience in the war. Her narrative voice is so funny and wry and the little cartoon drawings that are scattered throughout the book are perfect.

I love their village in Devonshire where they are trying hard to be helpful to the war effort. Like, in order to train for the A.R.P. villagers pitch in and one night as Charles is walking home he nearly runs over a figure lying at the side of the road - " "Hullo, what's the matter with you?" and a
...more
Melinda Elizabeth
Nov 23, 2013 Melinda Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henrietta’s War is a charming collation of stories that ran in newspapers worldwide during WWII. Joyce Dennys was a frustrated homemaker who let her imagination run wild with her character Henrietta, and the vignettes compiled in this book are sharp and witty. The illustrations that compliment the stories are charming, and I loved seeing the ‘age’ in terms of fashion and props in the images shown.

The country townsfolk that Henrietta mentions in her letters to her dear childhood friend Robert ar
...more
Austen to Zafón
I have been reading a lot of domestic fiction from Britain of the 1930's and 40's, mostly diary-style and short stories. I must say that this book, which takes the form of letters from a housewife and mother in Devon to her "Childhood's Friend" Robert who is at the front, is gentler and more wistful than other books I've read in this particular genre. E. M. Delafield's funny "Provincial Lady" books, which I read snd enjoyed just before this book have a similar venue (small town, trying to make d ...more
Terence Manleigh
This delightful volume is compiled of an ongoing series Joyce Dennys wrote for Sketch during the early years of the Second World War. In the form of letters to a beloved childhood friend on the front, our heroine Henrietta keeps his spirits up with the very amusing doings of her Devon village on the Home Front as they prepare for invasion, bombings, making due on rations and making sure one's garden is the envy of one's neighbours. A quick enjoyable read and, in its subtle way, a inspiration abo ...more
Laurel Hicks
Cheerfulness in dark times.
Lady Drinkwell
May 17, 2016 Lady Drinkwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know this is written far too often on tee towels and mugs but "keep calm and carry on" sums this book up. lots of lovely characters, and a choir which I enjoyed.
GeraniumCat
May 23, 2012 GeraniumCat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, ww2, library
Inevitably I found myself comparing this to The Diary of a Provincial Lady which, of course, I love. But I also loved Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942, which is gentler and kinder in some ways. I assume that the setting is Budleigh Salterton, since the town seems to own several of Joyce Dennys's paintings of local scenes - they are full of the sort of characters who populate her book, which is rather joyous. I love the story, early on, that the local fisherman are telling the ...more
Nicola Mansfield
May 04, 2010 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reason for Reading: I am reading all The Bloomsbury Group books.

Joyce Dennys who at the time was more known for her illustrations and aid work during WWI found her time more limited during WWII, being now taken up almost full-time as a mother and doctor's wife so she turned to writing, publishing a fictional letter from "Henrietta" to a dear "Childhood's Friend" on the war front about daily life back on the home front. The article proved so popular that Henrietta's letters became a regular featu
...more
Nancy
Feb 15, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joyce Dennys, an illustrator by trade, wrote this series of essays as a weekly column during WW II; they purport to be letters written by Henrietta (the local doctor's wife) to her Childhood's Friend, Robert, at the Front. Gentle, wry, and often laugh-out-loud funny, Henrietta's letters describe the daily struggles of ordinary Englishmen and -women, Keeping the Home Fires Burning. Of course, each letter is illustrated by one of Dennys's witty illustrations.

This may be my favorite Bloomsbury to d
...more
Bridget
Apr 07, 2016 Bridget rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
I've had this book on my Nook for a while, but just got around to reading it, and I'm so glad I did! The book is a collection of letters from Henrietta, who lives in a village in England during WWII, to her "dear childhood friend," who is serving at the front. She is writing to let him know that he is in her thoughts, but also to keep his spirits up by telling him how her family and others' in the village are doing.

The letters are, for the most part, short. But they are chock full of informatio
...more
Nigeyb
Jun 04, 2014 Nigeyb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The eponymous Henrietta is a middle-class, middle-aged housewife who lives in a small rural coastal town in Devon (based on Budleigh Salterton) that abounds with stereotypical World War 2 era English characters.

The extent to which you might enjoy "Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942" will depend on your tolerance for reading about the details of Henrietta's early WW2 observations of small town life as related in one-sided correspondence to her dear childhood friend Robert.

It's a
...more
Camille
Aug 30, 2012 Camille rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Henrietta's War is a sweet collection of letters written from perfectly average Henrietta Brown, to her childhood friend Robert, who is fighting on the front lines in France. She describes in vivid detail, and with charming cartoonish illustrations, daily life in war torn rural Britain. I was surprised to find that Henrietta and the other extraordinary characters she writes about are fictional, that this book is actually a compilation of stories written in letter form and published weekly in Ske ...more
Gabi Coatsworth
Written during World War 2 by Joyce Dennys as a series of humorous columns in the Daily Sketch, the gentle humor and cheerful ambiance of this book make it a perfect read on a winter day. Not as sharp as Angela Thirkell who covers much of the same ground, but sometimes you just want a book Nanny might have written.
Bookworm
Feb 06, 2015 Bookworm rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-care-for
I really wanted this to be good.. I do love my English reads... But I didn't feel the atmosphere of this one was right, so I didn't finish it. The "flirtatious"character Faith, was one reason, and the drama club meeting was another.
katie
Thank you, Josie!!! I loved this!
Linda
Jan 28, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5
So charming
Kate
May 05, 2017 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Dogs, garden tea-parties, bumbling vicars, fierce tweedy ladies who longed for Hitler to land so they could give him what for, and retired colonels -- this was the Home Front.

"While their army is engaged elsewhere, the inhabitants of a small town on the Devon coast are coping with the privations of war with a determination born of British backbone. Here is Faith, the town beauty, pasting lingerie silk to her windows to guard against blast damage. And Mrs. Whinbite, bohemian and free-thinker, ga
...more
Amy
Nov 03, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2016
My dearest friend Bryan sent me this book on my birthday and he has perfect taste because this was a total delight.
Diane
May 28, 2017 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
charming wwII letters from the home front. more on http://bookwinked.wordpress.com
Rachel M
Jul 07, 2016 Rachel M rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roberta
Joyce Dennys non era una scrittrice, bensì un'artista (pittrice) convertitasi in moglie e madre. Nonostante una vita soddisfacente, sotto certi aspetti Joyce è una donna frustrata nelle sue ambizioni e quando scoppia la guerra decide di fare qualcosa per sollevare lo spirito degli inglesi e creando un alter ego, Henrietta: una donna di mezza età appartenente alla middle class inglese, che vive in provincia con il marito dottore e due figli. Henrietta vive in un paese costiero del Devon, una zona ...more
Nadia
Jun 10, 2010 Nadia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a truly delightful book to read! I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading Joyce Dennys' book, Henrietta's War: News From The Home Front 1939 - 1942; in fact I read it straight through in one sitting because I didn't want to put it down. Here is the blurb from the back of the book (it'll give you an idea of what this little gem is all about):

Spirited Henrietta wishes she was the kind of doctor's wife who knew exactly how to deal with the daily upheavals of war. But then, everyone in her
...more
Becky
Apr 27, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How it begins...

October 18, 1939
My dear Robert,
It was good to get your letter and hear that you are in a 'perfectly safe place,' though I wonder how much of that is true and how much intended to allay the alarms of your Childhood's Friend. And why, when I and everybody else know that you are in France, must I address my letters to Berkshire? Well, well, I suppose They Know Best, and Ours Not to Reason Why, but I seem to remember that when I wrote to you in the last war I used to put "B.E.F., Fra
...more
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JOYCE DENNYS was born 14th August 1883 in India. The Dennys family relocated to England in 1886. Dennys enjoyed drawing lessons throughout her schooling and later enrolled at Exeter Art School. In 1919 Dennys married Tom Evans, a young doctor, and they moved to Australia. While living in New South Wales, Dennys's work was constantly in print and exhibited in many galleries. In 1922 Joyce became a ...more
More about Joyce Dennys...

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“To have visitors during a Day in Bed is a grave error. It means getting out to do your hair, make up your face, and have your bed made. A little talk on the telephone with some sympathetic friend who is really interested in your symptoms is the only social intercourse that should be allowed. A good deal of pleasure can be derived from asking for your fountain-pen and notepaper, and then not writing any letters.” 0 likes
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