Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Maigret and the Lazy Burglar by Georges Simenon

Usually, I’m a stickler for reading books in order, but I think blogging has influenced the way I read. After learning that one doesn’t have to follow the books in the Inspector Maigret series in the chronological order they were written, I decided to go with the flow and read them on a whim! The […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: Lunch with Mr. Biddle

Winthrop Biddle, the main character in Lunch with Mr. Biddle (published on 7 December 1940), is a confirmed bachelor who is not about to let the war completely cramp his lifestyle. As a popular member in the high society, Mr. Biddle had managed to get away from his Devonshire house and live with his affluent […]

The White Book by Han Kang

What a brilliantly unusual story! In Han Kang’s The White Book, the narrator is a writer who has temporarily moved to an unnamed European city, a “city of severe winters,” on a creative retreat. One day this writer decides that she should write a book about all things white, and makes a list of objects […]

Good Evening, Mrs Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: As the Fruitful Vine

Lucy Grant, the protagonist in As the Fruitful Vine (published on 31 August 1940), is a young woman who has never had her moment to shine in front of her family and friends. It’s not because Lucy never had anything worth celebrating – she has had a few big moments. But the timing has never […]

Four-Sided Triangle by William F. Temple

Four-Sided Triangle by William F. Temple is the first SciFi novel the British Library Science Fiction Classics series reprinted in their quest to unearth forgotten classics. The only other SciFi classic novel I have read before is H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine, so if you, like me, are a newbie to the genre and […]

Good Evening, Mrs.Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: This Flower, Safety

In This Flower, Safety (published on 6 July 1940), Miss Mildred Ewing, a wealthy spinster from London is trying to escape the war and go somewhere that promises her safety. Ever since the war began, Miss Ewing has been living at Hotel San Remo in the seaside with her elderly maid, Sparks, leaving behind her […]

The Hiding Place by C. J. Tudor

Thrillers have always been one of my favourite genres, but there was a time I was completely taken aback by the “girl” in the title trend. As much as I liked Gone Girl and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I didn’t like any of the “girls” that came after them, so by the time […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: It’s the Real Thing This Time

It’s the Real Thing This Time (published on 15 June 1940) is a story that is a bit similar to Meeting at the Pringles’. In this story, the protagonist is retired Major Marriot. He had fought in WWI, but now in his dotage, he has turned into a gardener attending to vegetable patches in his […]

Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom by Sylvia Plath

Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom is a short story Sylvia Plath wrote in 1952 while she was still a twenty-year-old student at Smith College. Plath wrote it for Mademoiselle magazine, but when they rejected the story, she revised it by changing its name to Marcia Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom, making it less ominous, […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: In Clover

In Clover (published on 13 April 1940) is another story concerning London evacuees and their hostesses from the countryside during the Blitz. In it, the twenty-four-year-old Mrs. Fletcher is to play hostess at her manor to the Clarks – a pregnant mother and her three children. Mrs. Fletcher is from an upper-middle-class family, and her […]

The Juniper Tree by Barbara Comyns

I was worried about reading Barbara Comyns’s The Juniper Tree when I discovered it is a retelling of an old Brothers Grimm tale of the same name. The original story (which you can find here) features a wicked stepmother who does something unimaginably nasty to her stepson. So I made up my mind to read […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: Mrs. Ramsay’s War

In the first Letter from London Mollie wrote on 3rd September 1939, she mentions as the Londoners began to evacuate the city, the English from the countryside were trying their best to overcome their traditional “dislike for strangers,” and open up their homes to a number of unwelcome guests who would be staying with them […]

The Secretary by Renée Knight

Christine Butcher, the protagonist in Renée Knight’s second novel, has been the personal assistant to Mina Appleton, a supermarket heiress for over eighteen years. From the first-day Christine was hired, she knew what Mina expected from her. For a handsome salary, Mina wanted Christine’s loyalty and availability at all times, and Christine never hesitated to […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: Meeting at the Pringles’

For most adults, wartime can be a stress inducer. However to the Pringle sisters, the protagonists in Meeting at the Pringles’ it has quite the opposite effect! Mollie Panter-Downes’s second letter to the New York Times written in January 1940 is about a group of women who have rallied to do their bit for the […]

Theory of Shadows by Paolo Maurensig

I was an enthusiastic chess player back when I was in high school. Those days I was living and breathing chess, and although it has been a while since I last played chess, I was thrilled to get my hands on Theory of Shadows, a novel based on Alexander Alekhine who became the World Chess […]