Tag Archives: Persephone Books

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: Cut Down the Trees

Cut Down the Trees is another gem in this collection. Up until now, in most of Downes’s stories, we saw the British upper-class struggling to adjust to WWII conditions. But that’s not the case here. In Cut Down the Trees, Mrs. Walsingham is the owner of a stately home that has seen better times. During […]

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

Miss. Catherine Birch, the protagonist of It’s the Reaction (published on 24 July 1943), is a middle-aged woman living alone in her London apartment. Initiating and carrying out conversations has never been Catherine’s strong suit, so she tends to avoid people even at work despite longing for friendships – when her colleagues from the ministry […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: The Hunger of Miss. Burton

The Hunger of Miss. Burton, published on 16 January 1943, is a funny little story. Miss. Burton, the story’s protagonist, is a spinster who has been a school teacher for years. With her best days behind her, and nowhere to go, during the height of WWII in England, she is stuck in a countryside school […]

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

When the Butlers’ London flat got destroyed on a fateful day during the Blitz, it had only felt natural to the Parsons to invite the Butlers over to their Oxfordshire cottage. Both these young couples have been great friends for the longest time, so cohabitation had seemed like the perfect idea to all parties involved. […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: War Among Strangers

The stories in Good Evening, Mrs. Craven are definitely taking a sombre tone now. War Among Strangers had been published on 17 January 1942, so Mollie must have written it right after the Pearl Harbor attack. In it, Mrs. Bristowe is the wife of a British civil servant. When WWII broke, she and her husband […]

Good Evening, Mrs Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: Goodbye, My Love

In Goodbye, My Love (published on 13 December 1941), Adrian Vyner is a young man who has just been called to serve in WWII. Adrian is to leave London in four days, so he and his wife Ruth have a lot to do before that, and on the top of that list is to pay […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: Literary Scandal at the Sewing Party

Mrs. Ramsay’s sewing party is back in full swing once again with some recurring characters from Battle of the Greeks! Before Mrs. Ramsay started hosting these parties, she had always taken their small Sussex village to be a “sleepy hamlet where nothing ever happened.” But now, thanks to her new lady friends, she knows nothing […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: Fin de Siècle

Fin de Siècle (published on 12 July 1941) is one of my favorites in the collection! Don and Ernestine Merrill are a young bohemian couple from London. Up until the first few months of the war, they had been fierce pacifists who never shied away from making disparaging remarks of the “military caste.” But now […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: Battle of the Greeks

Mrs. Ramsay (from Date with Romance and Mrs. Ramsay’s War) makes an appearance again in Battle of the Greeks (published on 8 March 1941). In this story, the women from the village get together at Helen Ramsay’s place once in every two weeks to stitch pyjamas as a part of their war effort. Usually, these […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]