Mrs. Miniver
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Mrs. Miniver

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  477 ratings  ·  83 reviews
As a best-selling book and an Academy Award-winning movie. Mrs. Miniver's adventures have charmed millions. This edition features an additional short piece by Struther titled "Mrs. Miniver Makes a List," published in "The Queen's Book of the Red Cross," for Christmas 1939.
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published 1942 by Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., New York (first published 1939)
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Linda
Apr 26, 2008 Linda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: historicals
I love popping into a person's life through a book and then popping back out. Mrs. Miniver lives a middle class life in England (Kent is where her second home is) with her husband and three children right before World War 11 breaks out. The reader gets to see and understand how Mrs. Miniver (as she is called throughout most of the book) thinks and deals with her pretty much typical life. Don't expect action, adventure, thrills or chills in this one. But do expect to be privy to how a seemingly a...more
Lisa
Jan 25, 2011 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Virago Reading Week Challenge
My copy of Mrs Miniver is an original wartime edition of this famous little book, which began life as a puff-piece in The Times but when war came the story grew to become the voice of stoic Britain. The cover is austerity brown paper, there are no pictures – only text – on the front and back covers, and the pages are speckled with age. It feels like the very book that my mother would surely have read.

The Minivers are from the ‘professional classes’. There’s a boy at Eton, daddy is an architect....more
L.
Dec 31, 2011 L. rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: england, ww2
A bland story about a bland woman and her bland life despite the time being one of the most emotionally explosive of the past one hundred years. There's absolutely nothing to it. Nothing exciting, or mysterious, or tragic is going on unless you want to count a dismal dinner party. (And no, I don't want to count a dismal dinner party.)

The Minivers have three fine and healthy children. They live a somewhat affluent life; enough to afford a vacation home and weekend trips to the country. It's all L...more
☮Karen
3.5 stars. The first half of the book was lacking for me as Mrs. Miniver and her family seemed shallow and entirely carefree in their upper middle-class, pre-war existence, worrying only about dinner plans and social calendars. This would all change in the second half. It also seemed these Brits almost spoke a different language than the English I know, as some of the terms and places were unfamiliar to me; and my mind would wander off. When rumblings of war began, even though the war is hardly...more
Jennifer
Oh how I love reading about everyday people in Britain during WWII. The fact that there is so much material out there means I’m not alone. This book is in no way about action or adventure of war. Instead it is overflowing with observations about human nature that were amazingly accurate - the kind of thing that you never thought of before but once put into words you realize that so many feelings and actions are universal to the human race. Mrs. Miniver musings include trying to put words to the...more
Heidi
Feb 20, 2009 Heidi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Heidi by: Jane Brocket
Shelves: classics
This book is a jewel, a masterpiece of language and characterization. I've never seen the movie, and I'd never heard of the book until I read a review in The Gentle Art of Domesticity. I read it slowly in order to relish every chapter. And then I gave it back to the library before writing down some of the spot-on observations. Here are just a couple I can remember (but not quote perfectly):

* One of the benefits of marriage is having someone's eye to catch at the right moment.

* Being friends with...more
Margaret
More a series of episodes (originally written as such for the Times) than a novel, Mrs. Miniver is a sensitive, beautifully written look at life in England with the threat of World War II looming. Mrs. Miniver (whose first name we don't learn until nearly the end) is quietly intelligent and observant, noting moments of humor and beauty as she deals with the travails and delights of her daily life.
Lisa
Oct 19, 2013 Lisa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Book Club
Shelves: fiction
Set during WWII in England, this novel seemed to me to be a series of vignettes tied together by Mrs. Miniver and her wholesome family. At times funny, charming, and sometimes dramatic--but forgettable later.
I had to wonder if American TV writers took a look at this book, followed part of the pattern, and developed The Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Best, My Three Sons, etc.
A very fast read.
Amy
I really can't believe I haven't read this book before now. What was I thinking? For me, this was a little piece of book-heaven. Every new vignette hit home for me in a different way. Chapter one, was probably my favorite. It perfectly expressed my love of fall for me. I even copied it entire into my quotes journal. In another lifetime, I could've been Mrs. Miniver. Loved it!
Qnpoohbear
This volume of short stories provides snapshots of the daily life of an ordinary Englishwoman with an ordinary family. She's enjoying her 40s more than her 30s because she feels "suspended between summer and winter, savouring the best of them both." She has an ordinary husband with whom she can share a look every now and again when something significant happens. She also has three ordinary children: Vin, away at Eton most of the year; Judy, age 11 and Toby. There's also Nannie, a cook and a hous...more
Elisabeth
What may come as a surprise to those who are familiar with the beloved 1942 film adaptation is that Mrs. Miniver is not really about World War II. But it's one of the loveliest pieces of writing you'll find anywhere. It's not a novel but a collection of short stories, originally published in the Times. I originally supposed that the filmmakers must have drawn different incidents from the stories and woven them together into a plot for the movie, but there is far less connection than that. I'd sa...more
Ruth Hill
I remembered seeing this film several years ago, but I couldn't even remember who the star was--I thought it was Bette Davis (It was really Greer Garson). I remembered it being an epic film, but that's all I remembered.

When I picked up this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. It was a shorter book than I had been reading--which was really nice! And the chapters were short. I also liked the setting--England before WWII and during it.

I have to say that I was not exactly enraptured by the story nor...more
Mandolin
Snippets of every day life in the years preceding World War II are captured in the most charming way in this little book. A collection of short stories and essays written by the fictional Miss Miniver, the book has neither plot nor fully developed characters (except for Mrs. Miniver herself) and yet it fulfills that one basic requirement of great literature: it leaves an impression on the mind that lasts long after the final page has been turned. Mrs. Miniver's musings on life, family, love, hap...more
Ann-Marie
Mrs. Miniver is perhaps the best-humored housewife ever. Each chapter is a vignette of a certain “more remarkable” moment in her life, which is carefully observed and which prompts reflections that are sometimes funny, sometimes profound. (Happily married and well off, she has good reason to be good humored, and with a cook, a parlor maid, and a nanny to look after the children, she has ample opportunity to reflect.) The weather and the changing seasons also provide touchstones for reflection.
...more
Gale
QUIET DREAMS FROM GENTLE DIGNITY OF THE HEART

This fragile piece of literature should be included in a course of feminist literature called Woman's World. The setting happens to be pre WW2 Britain (London, the country and Scotland), but Struther's sentiments and gentle insights into a woman's heart are truly timeless and universal in appeal. All mothers can relate to Mrs. Miniver's private thoughts, triumphs and fears re her children, who grow up by three years in these short pages. All wives ca...more
Mona
When I was about three-fourths finished with this book, I went online to Goodreads to check what other books Struther had written. Surely there were more adventures featuring the instantly likeable and relatable Mrs. Miniver. Surely Struther had left a wealth of beautiful writing.

Sadly, no. This is the only Mrs. Miniver book. And though Struther did write one other book (or rather, collection of short stories, like this book), it is one of the classic, dark-green cover Virago editions and thus...more
Sara
What a treasure! A collection of installments (originally published in The Times, I believe), each chapter chronicles a brief "chapter" in Mrs. Miniver's life. More than that, each chapter is a glimpse inside Mrs. Miniver's mind and heart.…an intelligent, witty, robust mind and heart! I savored every page, and especially appreciated Struther's impeccable use of language and subtle sense of humor. It's regrettable that there's not an entire series of Mrs. Miniver books. Highly recommended!
Nicole
A series of vignettes that capture a woman and her view of her family. This is a woman who weighs the intimacies of family very highly. For her a diary is one of those trivial objects made momentous by its "terrible intimacy", and the dull brown calf one she had first chosen for 3s.9d. would not do, instead she chooses to honor those intimacies in a diary in green lizard at 7s.6d.

"Mrs. Miniver was created when Peter Fleming, brother of Ian, asked Jan to brighten up the Court Page of The Times: h...more
Ali

I think Mrs. Miniver becomes one of those characters in fiction, that, like Sherlock Holmes, readers can't quite believe is not real, or at least never lived. Although some stories are loosely based on incidents in Jan Sturther's own life, this is a charming work of fiction that rings very true indeed. It is no wonder that upon its appearance it was so instantly popular. With honesty and gentle humour, Jan Struther examines the everyday occupations of an upper class wife and mother in an England...more
Christine Sinclair
It is quite impressive that Hollywood was able to turn this series of vignettes into a movie, but both the book and the movie are unforgettable. In Mrs. Miniver, Jan Struthers creates a character who is observant, eloquent, wise and humorous. She also presents several O. Henry-like surprise twist endings, as well as luminous descriptions of the English countryside and London. A lovely little book with a big impact.
Corey
Despite its upper class perspective, despite its veering occasionally toward the sweet or precious, this is quite good. What saves her is her style, pithy, witty, observant. Written in 1939, she paints a picture of an idyllic place and time--England between the wars--tilting toward the dark clouds of WWII.
Paul Taylor
Prompted to read Brighton Rock by the Slightly Foxed edition of his memoirs, I picked this up on the strength of Ysenda Maxstone Graham's biography of the Real Mrs Miniver, again published by Slightly Foxed. Unashamedly well heeled middle class and clearly intended to be motivational I can see why Churchill was delighted by it; the epitome of Keep Calm and Carry On. In contrast I would not be surprised to hear that copies of the book would have been burned in the street in the bombed out East En...more
Sally
Apr 06, 2009 Sally marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE the movie!!! It was one of mom's favorites. I still remember the first time I watched the movie with my mom when it was on TV (many, many years ago). I recently bought the book (at half.com) and it is currently in the ever-growing pile by my bedside. Some other movies from that era that my mom considered "must sees" included: "Ben Hur" (currently reading the book), "The Best Years of Our Lives", "El Cid", "How Green Was My Valley" (LOVE this book,too), "Lilies of the Field", "Pride of the...more
scarlettraces
i can see why this is beloved, but the air of privilege kind of pissed me off. this review, which sums it up pretty well, points out that it's an idealised existence memorialising happier times (and Struther's wiki entry notes she suffered from depression) but Mrs Miniver is still clearly intended to be "an ordinary sort of woman who leads an ordinary sort of life - rather like yourself", as the commissioning editor for the pieces requested. (the intro to my Virago Classics ed is oddly hagiograp...more
Graceann
Please see my detailed review at Amazon Graceann's "Mrs. Miniver" Review"

Please click that the review was helpful to you at Amazon so that my rating continues to climb!

Nothing at all like the movie, and though I loved the movie, I'm not complaining. I got a much better idea of what makes Mrs. Miniver tick, and I think I'll appreciate the film all the more, even though nothing at all from the book happens to Greer Garson. What I got here was humor, beautiful turns of phrase and a deeper understa...more
Dianna
This book takes you not only into Mrs. Miniver's life, but into her mind. She is such a fun character; I love getting into her thoughts. Her observations make this one of the most quotable books I have read. And somehow, the author manages to make all the little droplets of wisdom fit naturally into the book, and not sound like she's trying to be clever.

Instead of an action-based plot, this book seems to be more about the evolution of Mrs. Miniver's thoughts and life, especially as affected by W...more
Sarah
This book is a collection of columns written by Jan Struther in the run-up and early days of the Second World War, using her own family as inspiration for the life of Mrs Miniver.

It's a very different world, not just because of the impending war, but because Caroline Miniver and her husband are terribly upper middle class and have a house in Kent and staff and generally live a life which is very different to my own. But they are still very sympathetic characters, and some of Struther's writing i...more
Melee
I had no idea that this wasn't a straight novel but rather a collection of short stories that were published in a newspaper years ago. It doesn't really matter, though, because I absolutely loved it. There was a smile plastered on my face practically the whole time I was reading it. The whole thing was full of insights and thoughts I wanted to write down. Mrs. Miniver is a kindred spirit, I think.

Something about these stories reminded me of Bess Streeter Aldrich's stories. Not the plots, but the...more
Lisa
I had seen the movie as a teen in the early 1960s when we were crazy for the Beatles and all things British. Even though the film was set in WWII it was still England! A year after I had seen the movie I found a copy of the book in a used bookstore and bought it and was surprised to find it was a compilation of short stories--actually newspaper columns. Liked the book a lot and still own it and re-read it about once a year. I've since read about the author and the scandals that surrounded her--t...more
Adrienne
i've read this book a number of times over the past few years::the book originally appeared as a series of newspaper columns and is basically an observation on upper middle class family life in england just before the 2nd world war::its a pleasant::easy read::after reading this i developed a passion for bronze chrysanthemums :) ::british class system aside 5 stars::but if you're into social history and the deprivations and unjust social system of britain at this time::well 0 stars::
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Try Anything Twice: Essays & Sketches Women of Britain - Letters from England A Pocketful of Pebbles Sycamore Square Women of Britain; Letters From England, With Running Commentary By Beatrice Curtis Brown and an Introduction By Jan Struther [Pseud. ]

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“A single person is a manageable entity, whom you can either make friends with or leave alone. But half of a married couple is not exactly a whole human being: if the marriage is successful it is something a little more than that; if unsuccessful, a little less. In either case, a fresh complication is added to the already intricate business of friendship: as Clem had once remarked, you might as well try to dance a tarantella with a Siamese twin.” 6 likes
“...[T]he mechanics of life should never be allowed to interfere with living.” 5 likes
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