Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mrs. Miniver” as Want to Read:
Mrs. Miniver
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mrs. Miniver

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,065 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
(From the dustjacket blurb)
This is the story of that charming British family who made their debut in the Court page of The Times shortly before the War. Mrs Miniver enchanted her public with her wit, sympathy and perception. She and her family became a household word, a clue in crossword puzzles and the subject of two 'fourth leaders'. The fan mail grew and grew and reader
Hardcover, 10th edition, 128 pages
Published 1943 by Chatto and Windus (first published 1939)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mrs. Miniver, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mrs. Miniver

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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)
Diane Barnes
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading two very intense and emotional books back to back, and needed something to read that was calming and undemanding. Not a mystery, or essays, or non-fiction, nothing that I had to think about at all. What I wanted in print form was a long, contented conversation with a good friend. I perused my bookshelves for about 30 minutes, pulling out one book or another, and rejecting them all. Then I spotted "Mrs. Miniver". Not sure why I had it, or when I purchased it, but there it ...more
Dec 23, 2014 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
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up out of the library on a kind of whim. I'd heard of it, and the movie, and was curious. What it turned out to be was a delight in many ways and yes, it's about a privileged woman from a privileged class, living at a time when privilege still ruled, and yet her sentiments, her concerns, her 'foibles' are remarkably, and stunningly, completely down to Earth. She knows what she has is special; she's grateful for it - home and health, family and loving husband, a secure place in ...more
*sigh* I gave up. This is one of those rare situations in which I find myself liking the movie more than the book.
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 21, 2013 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
Josephine (Jo)
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 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
Sep 26, 2010 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!
Like many others, I expect, I came to this through the Greer Garson film. The book is a series of newspaper columns written originally as an insight into a typical (though in fact upper middle-class) wife and mother in 1930s England. The advent of World War II brought about a different perspective to the everyday preoccupations, and the film developed this further, as the book was published only just after the war had started.

Being a newspaper column there was almost an expectation for a moral s
Elsa K
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't expect this book to not have a real plot. Each chapter can be taken individually and don't fit to form one overarching story. I didn't love that aspect about it. I did enjoy the writing style and the characters themselves. I felt like the author was astute about making observations of daily life. Like when Mrs. Miniver thinks the windshield wiper is saying something? I have totally thought that! A sweet little book.
Jan 06, 2015 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
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 13, 2012 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
Jan 29, 2009 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
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.
Judy Nelson
Jul 25, 2015 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!
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?!:)
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not quite what I expected because most of it happens before war breaks out, but a lovely, thoughtful, witty portrayal of the last years of the 1930s in the eyes of a middle-class English young mother.
What an exquisite treasure of a read. This is a book that is as pertinent and fresh today as when it was written. In a world of reality tv and high speed internet info this is the perfect reality check. Life as it truly was meant to be lived.
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-inventory
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
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book for my Book Hour on local radio (, and it was a sheer delight to read aloud, especially the chapter where she makes her first flight (but I can't give too much away!). I'd heard that this book was highly acclaimed for its effect on people during World War II, and it's a very small book, so before starting it I did wonder how this remarkable influence was achieved. Now, when I try to sum it up without spoiling the experience for anyone who hasn't read it, the express ...more
L.   (Your Migraines Are Podcasts Trying To Be Produced)
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
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
Feb 12, 2011 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
Oct 19, 2013 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.
Mar 03, 2016 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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • One Fine Day
  • The Lost Traveller
  • A Very Great Profession
  • At Mrs Lippincote's
  • The Provincial Lady in London
  • Miss Ranskill Comes Home
  • Miss Mole
  • Invitation to the Waltz
  • Wild Strawberries
  • The Semi-Attached Couple and the Semi-Detached House
  • The Brontës Went to Woolworths
  • Illyrian Spring
  • The Solitary Summer
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
  • Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942
  • The New House
  • The Rector's Daughter
  • South Riding
Pen name of Joyce Anstruther
More about Jan Struther...

Fiction Deals

  • War Brides
    $3.99 $2
  • Bluebeard
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad
    $10.74 $2.99
  • Orphan Train Girl
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Want Not
    $14.95 $2.99
  • Finding Rebecca
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Twelve-Mile Straight
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Cafe by the Sea
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Everybody's Son
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $2
  • The Word Game
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Cats Are Weird: And More Observations
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Wake Up
    $4.99 $2
  • The Way to London: A Novel of World War II
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ask the Dust
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Saving Abby
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Vanessa and Her Sister
    $13.99 $2.99
  • The King's Mistress
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Midnight Sun (The Northern Lights Series, No 3)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Cement Garden (Ian McEwan Series Book 2)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Under the Wide and Starry Sky
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen
    $14.95 $1.99
  • The Cove
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Jailbird
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fire by Night
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bagombo Snuff Box
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The High Mountains of Portugal
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Cat's Pajamas: Stories
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Thistle and the Rose (Tudor Saga, #8)
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Burgess Boys
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Waterfalls (Glenbrooke, #6)
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo (Shambhala Classics)
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Skinny Legs and All
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $3.99 $1.99
  • July, July
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Clock Without Hands
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Waiting for Morning (Forever Faithful, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Paris Wife
    $11.99 $2.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • If I Was Your Girl
    $9.99 $2.99
“...[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.” 8 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
More quotes…