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Mrs. Miniver

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  670 ratings  ·  102 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.
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Hardcover, 298 pages
Published 1942 by Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., New York (first published 1939)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,308)
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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
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booklady
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)
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Sharanya
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
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.
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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
☮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
Patrick
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
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.
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!
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
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L.  (I've Stopped Counting)
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
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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
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
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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
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Claire
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.
Sally Flint
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
Vanessa
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
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.
Julie
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
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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.
Alison
originally newspaper articles, so short set pieces about aspects of upper middle class life just at the outbreak of war in London and Kent. Mrs M expresses regret as she sees life changing and knows it will never be the same again, . everyday sights and sounds and problems and joys are lightly touched on, beautiful writing, some him out. a more bittersweet style than 'provincial lady' and less funny but with similar issues of husbands and children-insights and observations. really enjoyed this, ...more
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
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
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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.
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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
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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
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Isla McKetta
Admittedly, my favorite thing about this book was opening the front cover and finding a bookplate with my grandmother's maiden name and a pasted-in scrap of paper with the author's signature. But who can beat that. It's a quiet book, full of vignettes and observations of daily life. It threatens to change midway through when the war starts to loom but keeps calm and carries on in a really admirable and interesting way. Definitely an interesting look at a certain class of Brit in a certain era.
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!
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Pen name of Joyce Anstruther
More about Jan Struther...
Try Anything Twice: Essays & Sketches Women of Britain - Letters from England A Pocketful of Pebbles Sycamore Square The Glass-Blower and Other Poems

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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
“Mrs. Miniver suddenly understood why she was enjoying the forties so much better than she had enjoyed the thirties: it was the difference between August and October, between the heaviness of late summer and the sparkle of early autumn, between the ending of an old phase and the beginning of a fresh one.” 6 likes
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