Margaret's Reviews > Miss Ranskill Comes Home

Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd
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Dec 03, 13

bookshelves: british-literature, persephone, authors-tu
Read in August, 2007, read count: 1

Barbara Euphan Todd is well-known for her series of children's books about Worzel Gummidge, a talking scarecrow (I've never read any, but I'd heard of them), but much less known for Miss Ranskill Comes Home, her only adult novel, which I read in a lovely Persephone edition.

The book opens with a shock: Miss Ranskill, marooned on a desert island for years with only the Carpenter for company (the man, also marooned, already on the island when she washed ashore), now must bury her only friend, who died suddenly. Fortuitously, she is rescued from the island soon after and returns to England -- but it isn't the England she knew, for she was marooned before World War II broke out, and England is in the midst of the Blitz.

Her process of readjustment is funny and bitter at once, as she strives to figure out how to deal with blackouts, rationing, air raids, and the myriad of other wartime things she's never known before, and with an unexpected legacy from the Carpenter (not what you might think). It's an odd but wonderful book, one of the best Persephones I've read.
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