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Archive > Group Reads ->August 2020 -> Nomination thread (A book set in, or about, the 1940s won by Table Two by Marjorie Wilenski)

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message 1: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
Our August 2020 theme will be 1940s - so that's a book set in, or about, 1940s that you would like to read and discuss.

It can be either fiction or non-fiction

Please supply the title, author, a brief synopsis, and anything else you'd like to mention about the book, and why you think it might make a good book to discuss.

If your nomination wins then please be willing to fully participate in the subsequent discussion

Happy nominating




message 2: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
I'll nominate...


Goodbye to Murder (1946) by Donald Henderson

Originally published in 1946, this classic thriller, by turns unnerving and moving in its depiction of a woman driven to murder, was one of only a handful of crime novels completed by Donald Henderson before his untimely death.

I've just read one of Donald Henderson's other books, Mr. Bowling Buys a Newspaper, also set in the 1940s, and it had a lot of powerful and evocative 1940s period detail. I expect Goodbye to Murder will also be awash with great details - and should be a provocative and compelling read too.

Goodbye to Murder (1946) is available at a bargain price (99 pence) for kindle users in the UK (and perhaps the USA too)

Much to her surprise, Thelma Winterton finds that she is more concerned about being late for her husband’s cocktail party than she is about having committed her first murder. Hurrying back to her flat she recalls the journey from bored orphan schoolgirl to bored housewife, to killer - and contemplates her next move. For Thelma's eyes are only just beginning to open to the extent of the oppression she has suffered at the hands of her insufferable husband and domineering mother-in-law - and she will do anything to escape, even if she has to hang for it.


Goodbye to Murder (1946) by Donald Henderson


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9074 comments Mod
Ooh, I do love Donald Henderson, Nigeyb... Am sure there will be lots of other nominations to tempt me, but I am very tempted.


message 4: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 4190 comments Mod
My first thought was Bosnian Chronicle which some of us were chatting about on another thread - but it feels a bit heavy for a summer group read. I'll have a think about something lighter and sunnier for August.


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9074 comments Mod
My first thought was Olivia Manning, but, although she wrote books set in WWII, she never published one during the Forties and the Balkan Trilogy is a little long. I will put my thinking cap on...


message 6: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 4190 comments Mod
I wondered about Daphne du Maurier but the books she published in the 1940s have historical settings.


message 7: by Susan (last edited May 24, 2020 03:05AM) (new)

Susan | 9074 comments Mod
I have long meant to read more Henry Green. My choice of nomination is partly because of what seems to be easily available, but I will opt for:

Loving Loving by Henry Green

One of his most admired works, LOVING describes life above and below stairs in an Irish country house during the Second World War. In the absence of their employers the Tennants, the servants enact their own battles and conflict amid rumours about the war in Europe; invading one another's provinces of authority to create an anarchic environment of self-seeking behaviour, pilfering, gossip and love.

225 pages, so not too long, and available on kindle in the UK at least.


message 8: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
Good choice Susan


Just to clarify, books set in the 1940s, but published afterwards, are fine - so Manning's books set in the 1940s would work

Even a historical book published in the 1940s but about a different era is also acceptable. That said, I personally think a book that gives us some insight into the theme are preferable (but that could even apply to some historical novels)

So plenty of scope

Looking forward to your nominations


message 9: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 4190 comments Mod
I haven't read Henry Green or Donald Henderson so those both sound interesting.

A book I'd love to read is Chanel's Riviera: Glamour, Decadence, and Survival in Peace and War, 1930-1944 but it's expensive and best saved for when libraries re-open.
Chanel's Riviera Glamour, Decadence, and Survival in Peace and War, 1930-1944 by Anne de Courcy


message 10: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
Yes, that sounds sensible RC



NOMINATIONS....

Nigeyb: Goodbye to Murder by Donald Henderson
Susan: Loving by Henry Green




message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9074 comments Mod
I have Chanel's Riviera, RC. If you ever fancy a buddy read, I'm there! I love Anne de Courcy's books.


message 13: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 4190 comments Mod
Ooh yes, definitely to Chanel's Riviera! I see the paperback is due out in June so hopefully the Kindle price will drop then. I haven't read de Courcy but have heard good things about her books.

There's another riviera book that I picked up when it was on offer: The Riviera Set - did you get that one? It starts much earlier, late 1800s, and goes on into the 1960s so might be a good pre-read? We could have a bookish riviera summer to compensate for no holidays (and you can revel in no packing, no flights, no airports!)
The Riviera Set by Mary S. Lovell


message 14: by Pamela (new)

Pamela (bibliohound) | 458 comments I'll nominate Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie. Published 1947.

It's a comedy so light reading for summer, and there's a charming film of it too which I'm sure many remember.


message 15: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 4190 comments Mod
Ok, so my nomination is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.

I'm guessing that many others will have read this as I did (oh my, it came out in 2008!) but it's so charming and heart-warming despite some dark war-time events that I'm dying to read it again. Set in 1946.


message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9074 comments Mod
I have The Riviera Set too. Always up for a holiday with no packing or planes. Let me know when.


message 17: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 4190 comments Mod
I thought there was a strong probability that you'd got that too, Susan! You usually have more books on the go than me so when would suit you? I'd be happy to slip it into June but you might have other buddy reads then?


message 18: by Judy (last edited May 24, 2020 07:23AM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4278 comments Mod
I am thinking of nominating one of the 9 Furrowed Middlebrow titles which were reissued last year that are set during and immediately after WW2, but am spoilt for choice as to which one to go for.

http://furrowedmiddlebrow.blogspot.co...

Would anyone particularly recommend any of these? I'm quite tempted by the two titles set in (and published during) the immediate aftermath of the war, Peace, Perfect Peace by Josephine Kamm or Wine of Honour by Barbara Beauchamp.


message 19: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited May 24, 2020 07:42AM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) Nomination:

Originally pub'd in 1945, Night Has a Thousand Eyes by Cornell Woolrich

One of Cornell Woolrich's most famous novels, this classic noir tale of a con man struggling with his ability to see the future is arguably the author's best in its depiction of a doomed vision of predestination.

There was also a film starring Edward G. Robinson. Wikipedia's synopsis of the film, which I think closely follows the book:

The film opens in New Orleans, where John Triton (Robinson) is "The Mental Wizard", a nightclub fortune teller. During a show one evening, Triton suddenly urges an audience member to rush home, cautioning that her son is in danger. As the story unfolds, Triton struggles with his new-found psychic ability ... (The remainder removed as I'm not sure how much is spoiler-ridden.)


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9074 comments Mod
For this group, there is only one buddy I will be reading for June, RC, so I would be happy to fit it in. I will set up a thread.


message 21: by Susan (last edited May 24, 2020 08:39AM) (new)

Susan | 9074 comments Mod
Judy, I don't want to sway you, as I have already nominated, but looking at the Middlebrow titles, there are loads I like the look of. Nothing to Report, Table Two and Wine of Honour all look intriguing. Whichever you plump for, from Middlebrow, I am sure it will be interesting.


message 22: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 4190 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "For this group, there is only one buddy I will be reading for June, RC, so I would be happy to fit it in. I will set up a thread."

Excellent! Your description is much fuller than the one I saw - can't wait to get into this one. I usually like to read history/non-fiction alongside fiction so I'll probably start next weekend.


message 23: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9074 comments Mod
Sounds good.


message 24: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4278 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Judy, I don't want to sway you, as I have already nominated, but looking at the Middlebrow titles, there are loads I like the look of. Nothing to Report, Table Two and Wine of Honour all look intriguing..."

Thank you Susan - I will look into it a bit more before deciding which to nominate. :)


message 25: by Tania (new)

Tania | 917 comments Judy wrote: "I am thinking of nominating one of the 9 Furrowed Middlebrow titles which were reissued last year that are set during and immediately after WW2, but am spoilt for choice as to which one to go for.
..."


I was considering Wine of Honour, I have a copy somewhere. I have a reservation on The Riviera Set at the library, but who knows when it will turn up now.


message 26: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
Roman Clodia wrote: "Ok, so my nomination is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer."

There was a TV adaptation of that on BBC on Friday night - it's currently on iPlayer...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...


message 27: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
Thanks for all the nominations. Below is the summary so far. Please let me know if I've left any out


NOMINATIONS....

Nigeyb: Goodbye to Murder by Donald Henderson
Susan: Loving by Henry Green
Pamela: Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie
Roman Clodia: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
Elizabeth: Night Has a Thousand Eyes by Cornell Woolrich





message 28: by Tania (new)

Tania | 917 comments I've found out that I actually own Table Two which was written and set during the blitz. I really enjoyed The House Opposite, which was the other one set during the blitz. I'd happily get Wine of Honour (or any of the others), if that is chosen.


message 29: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4278 comments Mod
I really liked the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - the film that was on the other day was actually a cinema film originally and I went and saw it, but also watched it again on TV!


message 30: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
Judy wrote: "I really liked the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - the film that was on the other day was actually a cinema film originally and I went and saw it, but also watched it again on TV!"

Thanks for clarifying that Judy


message 31: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
I know Judy is thinking about a nomination?


Is anyone else nominating? Or thinking about it?


message 32: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 4190 comments Mod
Judy wrote: "I really liked the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - the film that was on the other day was actually a cinema film originally and I went and saw it, but also watched it again on TV!"

Thanks Judy and Nigeyb - I missed the film at the time.


message 33: by Judy (last edited May 24, 2020 12:50PM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4278 comments Mod
Thank you for your thoughts on the Furrowed Middlebrow books, Tania - I really like the look of Wine of Honour, which both you and Susan mentioned, but have decided to nominate Table Two by Marjorie Wilenski , which you also both mentioned. Table Two by Marjorie Wilenski

This is the Amazon blurb:

“It’s awful to think that there are nine of us here to-day at this table and in six months’ time we may all be dead,” said Miss Purbeck. “There were thousands killed last night, so the bus conductor told me.”

“You certainly are our little ray of sunshine,” said Elsie scornfully.


Marjorie Wilenski’s only novel, as biting and funny as Barbara Pym at her crankiest, follows an office of women translators at the fictional Ministry of Foreign Intelligence in London as they bicker, manoeuvre, and shift allegiances just before and then in the thick of the London Blitz. Its two main characters are sharply contrasted—the clever, efficient but terminally bitter middle-aged Elsie Pearne and the cheerful, pretty young newcomer Anne Shepley-Rice, whose once affluent family has fallen on hard times. Their colleagues include a fresh air fanatic, a busybody, an inept supervisor and her trusty deputy, the dithering, chatty Mrs Jolly, and a former lady’s companion who delights in bad news and disaster.

The cast of Table Two are instantly recognizable to any office worker of today. But this portrayal of a 1940s office is a rare treasure for modern readers, showing, with vivid detail and dark humour, how a group of independent, capable women experienced some of the darkest days of World War II.

‘The most striking novel about women war workers this war has produced’ Elizabeth Bowen


message 34: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 4190 comments Mod
Sorry, sorry, but could I change my nomination please? I want to watch Guernsey...Potato Peel while it's on iplayer so wouldn't want to read it again so soon if it won.

Instead, I'll nominate At Mrs Lippincote's by Elizabeth Taylor.

Blurb:
Mrs Lippincote's house, with its mahogany furniture and yellowing photographs, stands as a reminder of all the certainties that have vanished with the advent of war. Temporarily, this is home for Julia, who has joined her husband Roddy at the behest of the RAF. Although she can accept the pomposities of service life, Julia's honesty and sense of humor prevent her from taking her role as seriously as her husband, that leader of men, might wish; for Roddy, merely love cannot suffice - he needs homage as well as admiration. And Julia, while she may be a most unsatisfactory officer's wife, is certainly no hypocrite.

I like a good tensions-in-marriage book!


message 35: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4278 comments Mod
I read At Mrs Lippincote's a couple of years ago and thought it was very good. Some great nominations!


message 36: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1030 comments I have Nothing to Report if you're still thinking about that one.

Loved the movie Whisky Galore - TCM showed it a month or so ago.

I need a few more hours to think about a nomination.

As noted elsewhere, I also have The Riviera Set: Glitz, Glamour, and the Hidden World of High Society.


message 37: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9074 comments Mod
Ooh, I have wanted to read Table Two and At Mrs Lippincote's, plus I love Donald Henderson. Which to choose?!


message 38: by Tania (new)

Tania | 917 comments I loved At Mrs Lippincote's, it's one of my favourites by her.


message 39: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
Thanks all


Below is the summary so far.

Please let me know if I've got anything wrong


NOMINATIONS....

Nigeyb: Goodbye to Murder by Donald Henderson
Susan: Loving by Henry Green
Pamela: Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie
Roman Clodia: At Mrs Lippincote's by Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth: Night Has a Thousand Eyes by Cornell Woolrich
Judy: Table Two by Marjorie Wilenski





message 40: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
So I think we've got all the nominations?


Last call for nominations


message 41: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4278 comments Mod
I believe Jan was thinking about a nomination, Nigeyb.


message 42: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1030 comments All I could come up with was a book about the Bataan death march - Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath. It's not on sale on Kindle here - $12.99. I have it in hardcover - started it quite some time ago and need to get back to it. Very readable.


message 43: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9074 comments Mod
Is that a nomination then, Jan? In the UK it is on Audible/hardback/paperback.


message 44: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
That is a nomination from Jan. I'll aim to get the poll up later today - probably this evening


message 46: by Lynaia (new)

Lynaia | 468 comments I have a copy of Whiskey Galore on the way. I’ve never read anything by Compton Mackenzie before but I have been interested in trying him and this looks like it could be a lot of fun!


message 47: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
If it's half as good as the film it should be a wonderful read Lynaia


In other poll news, Table Two by Marjorie Wilenski is out in front and looking odds on for the victory in a few days

There's still time to vote


message 48: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8561 comments Mod
Pollwatch....


Table Two by Marjorie Wilenski still out in front with the total number of votes at 11 for the 24 hours or so, suggesting everyone who wants to vote has now voted

There's still a bit longer to vote though if you haven't done so....

https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/2...


message 49: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9074 comments Mod
Some really strong nominations this month. Although Henry Green never caused any interest, I am still keen to read more by him. I might turn to Party Going instead, as I do not need to stay within the 1940's.


message 50: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4278 comments Mod
I would also like to read a book by Henry Green - I've been meaning to since reading The Love-charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War and that was a few years ago now!


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