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Mrs. Miniver

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  834 Ratings  ·  120 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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Petra X
Ok finished the book. One final thought to complete the review. Mrs. Miniver did have something rather excellent to say on marriages and social life. She said that there was often one of a pair that you liked less than the other, or that one of them would always outshine the other (don't we all know couples like that?) and it was such a shame that you always had to invite both for dinner and couldn't have them over separately.

She said that a friend always had two dinner parties. One for the peop
Can't remember when I acquired this old book but it bears a 1940/1942 publication date.

If you’re familiar with the 1942 Mrs. Miniver film staring Greer Garson, the book, Mrs. Miniver, by Jan Struther is much better, mostly because its missing the propaganda aspect so appreciated at the time and since deplored by film critics.

(view spoiler)
Dec 23, 2014 Sharanya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is told as a collection of vignettes from the life of a privileged woman in England just as WWII is breaking out. Books like these are almost a guilty pleasure for me - I love reading books set in London around the war, but I can't help feeling annoyed that Britain and the hallowed empire were still hanging on to many of their former colonies then, including my own country. However, those thoughts still need a little more watering. Struther writes BEAUTIFULLY: I had to catch my breath ...more
Jan 25, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Virago Reading Week Challenge
Shelves: c20th, britain, fiction
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.
Aug 21, 2016 Josephine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book which was the inspiration for the beautiful old film Mrs Miniver. The little stories of the life of an 'ordinary English housewife' were first published every few weeks in The Times. Each small chapter in the book is also a small chapter in the lives of the Miniver family. There are the usual domestic events of course, but with the outbreak of war Mrs Miniver has more to reflect upon than just the family and entertaining, such as black outs, evacuees and the prospect of life nev ...more
Linda Orvis
Apr 26, 2008 Linda Orvis rated it really liked it  ·  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
Mar 04, 2016 Sara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016

Anticipation:3- The movie is a guilty pleasure, but the book? Hey, here's a 1942 edition for 6.50.

Enjoyment:5- Oh my god, it's Lydia Davis meets Downton Abbey-- the latter stole liberally from the movie by the way. No Theresa Wright (sniff) or Walter Pidgeon getting strafed and going off to Dunkirk while sounding like the most Midwestern Brits ever, but a series of vignettes chock full of passages like these.
"Between a woman who thought that for her kitchenmaid to use face-powder was the begin
Jan 11, 2015 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I found this filed amongst the Fiction in my local library, this isn’t a novel, nor is it exactly a collection of stories. This slim book is actually something else, a genre which is now pretty more or less extinct: it’s a collection of short written sketches that were originally published in The Times in the late 1930s. They’re essentially fictional, but though they do (apparently) bear some loose resemblance to the life of their author, they are written in a rich novelistic style that w ...more
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
Dec 06, 2014 ☮Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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
Mar 21, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2, 2013
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
Delightful and surprisingly philisophical. Tales and extracts from Mrs Miniver's life as wife and mother, and such a lovable lady! The only thing I had against it-it ended right at the begining of the second world war, leaving me feeling cheated-what happens? Does everyone come home safely? What goes on?!:)
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.
Hannah Lynn
90 pgs in and I'm so disinterested. I thought this would be perfect. gentle slices of life, set on the homefront of WWII. (My old copy smells good too) but halfway through the book I found myself just utterly bored. I found myself questioning why I should care about this female character that's not even barely developed. I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Sad.
Sep 26, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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!
Gabi Coatsworth
I loved this book. There's some absolutely wonderful writing in it, but none of it is pretentious.
Her son is disappointed because he can't sail his boat on the pond. "Oh, well,we can watch the others," (he said) and trotted off to the pond with Clem, his feet beating crotchets to his father's minims.

Mrs Miniver shares a silent comment with her husband, and then...It seemed to her sometimes that the most important thing about marriage was not a home or children or a remedy against sin, but simply
L. (Climbing Mt. TBR one page at a time)
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
Feb 20, 2009 Heidi rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Judy Nelson
Jul 25, 2015 Judy Nelson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that I have read and reread for years. The vignettes are short and beautifully written. I loved the author's sharp observations of common events and sights - the last leaf trembling on a tree. Even with the cloud of imminent war over every sketch, Mrs. Miniver finds joy and delight in marriage and family. My copy was published in 1940 and shows it!
Mar 08, 2016 TwoDrinks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Wonderful. Normally, I'd list all the quotations I like in a book, but I'd be on at it until the next century with this book. This book is both outmoded and current at the same time, an absolute delight to read.
Feb 13, 2011 Melee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 28, 2015 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is nothing like the film (which is a plus in my mind). Lovely, lyrical and enjoyable. It's just small moments in a life, but they are beautifully limned.
Mary Lou
Jun 10, 2016 Mary Lou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mrs. Miniver, a woman of means, ruminates on the little things that make a life in the months leading up to and immediately following England's entrance into WWII.

The first half of the book - pre-war - was charming, but lacked cohesion. There was no plot, no story line - just little vignettes that were gentle and lovely, but didn't really go anywhere. I assumed, wrongly, as it turns out, that this would change once war commenced. Unlike the movie (which, I admit, I liked better than the book in
Mar 15, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a surprising and delightful book this is. I was vaguely aware of the role it, and the subsequent film adaptation, played in garnering domestic US support for intervention in the Second World War, but didn’t really understand why it had had such an effect.
It’s not really a novel, or even a collection of short stories, although the overall effect becomes almost novelistic. Mrs Miniver is a collection of short (2-3 pages) articles originally written for and published in The Times. Caroline Min
Sally Flint
Apr 08, 2015 Sally Flint rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
I read this after listening to it being discussed on Radio 4s WorldBookclub programme. The speakers made it sound such fun that I felt I had to try it. And indeed it was quite, I guess, entertaining. It chronicles the the life of well-to-do Mrs Miniver who philosophises about family and her world in a fairly whimsical sort of way. Life is pretty idyllic for the Miniver's and her reflections are of the type of wondering in awe as a daughter learns the same lessons she once learned, but the idyll ...more
Aug 11, 2014 Vanessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh this is wonderful! I haven't seen the film, but having seen the trailer on YouTube it looks like the sort of overblown drama that can only get by in extreme situations like wartime. But the book! It's so lovely, so funny, so clever. Mrs Miniver is a woman who has plenty of cash and home comforts, but that doesn't stop her from taking each moment and savouring it like a last chocolate. She writes critically about married couples (a great mistake socially), social reform (why does it take a war ...more
Aug 30, 2015 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because I have recently finished Helen MacInness' Assignment in Brittany. Mrs. Minniver is set in the year and half before Assignment, and across the English Channel from Brittany. The books form a nicely balanced pair of perspectives on the days surrounding the beginning of WWII. Assignment follows a British intelligence agent who is dropped behind the lines in Brittany and who comes to know and appreciate the good and decent people of France who face the increasingly cruel and ...more
Oct 19, 2013 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  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.
This is such a charming book!

Mrs. Miniver is about the daily life of a well-to-do woman living in London with her husband and three children in the two years leading up to World War 2. Each chapter is the briefest snippet of her activities - from Christmas shopping to to picking hops with a farmer. She spends weekends at their country home, a couple of weeks each year in Scotland, attends a few house parties, and even goes on her first flight. Along the way she shares her insights into the perso
Marianne Ashby
charming is a good description.....but it didn't hold my interest. couldn't finish it, but i will keep it in my lists to read one day. i love that it is just a nice lady doing her normal routine, finding something extraordinary in her life each day.
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Pen name of Joyce Anstruther
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“...[F]ireworks had for her a direct and magical appeal. Their attraction was more complex than that of any other form of art. They had pattern and sequence, colour and sound, brilliance and mobility; they had suspense, surprise, and a faint hint of danger; above all, they had the supreme quality of transience, which puts the keenest edge on beauty and makes it touch some spring in the heart which more enduring excellences cannot reach.” 7 likes
“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
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