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1940s-set Novels

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by Rocketblast, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. Rocketblast

    Rocketblast One of the Regulars

    Can anyone recommend any good novels set in the 1940s? Preferably British Home Front, maybe a bit of romance, but any suggestions would be good.

    Personally, I would recommend Andrea Levy's 'Small Island', which the BBC recently made into a 2-parter.
  2. Anything by Graham Greene.
  3. The Wolf

    The Wolf Call Me a Cab

    I think you'll probably enjoy "The guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer andGAnnie Barrows.

    The Wolf
  4. They're not novels, but you may be interested in the TV series "Foyle's War". It's about a police detective and the cases he solves on the British homefront during the Second World War.
  5. That's a lovely little book!

    Most of Mary Wesley's books - I'd start with The Chamomile Lawn.
    Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers (moves around a bit, but there is a good chunk of the action set in the 40s) and Coming Home.
    Elizabeth Jane Howard's The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, Casting Off
    And to keep you busy for quite some time, Anthony Powell's 12 volume Dance to the Music of Time, which goes from the early 30s to the mid 60s but spends most time in the 40s.
  6. Rocketblast

    Rocketblast One of the Regulars

    That's fantastic - I will look into some of those. I have read a bit of Graham Greene, and I read Camomile Lawn years ago but may look into some of their other novels. I have just found a series of novels by Margaret Mayhew on Amazon which look promising.
    I feel a shopping spree coming on!
    Thank you all - keep suggestions coming please!
  7. Corky

    Corky A-List Customer

    Alan Furst: Spies of the Balkans

    We had the opportunity to meet Alan Furst last month. An amazing fellow and a world-class storyteller.

    Alan's newest book is Spies of the Balkans.


    If you love espionage novels, you will have noticed that just about every author in the genre is plugged as "the new LeCarre," or "as great as LeCarre." We think that only one author really deserves that praise, and that author is Alan Furst. Furst's ten novels all take place before and during WWII in Europe. From Paris to Belgrade, from Warsaw to Rome, Furst's accidental and sometimes dark and reluctant heros wage war against Hitler not on the front lines, but in elegant hotels, neighborhood cafes and back alleys of Europe's great cities. Furst is a masterful novelist whose books have the unnerving and uncanny ability to place the reader in the streets of Nazi-occupied Europe in WWII, right there next to living and breathing Resistance fighters. Furst creates tension and momentum so palpable that the reader looks for cover in a doorway—and a gun. His new novel, Spies of the Balkans, turns Greece"s Salonika into the world's most dangerous and thrilling place. Fiction doesn't get better than this.

    You may wonder "If this guy Furst's novels are so good,why haven't any of them been made into movies?"

    Dick Clement (a British screenwriter whose credits include, The Bank Job, Across The Universe, and Tracey Takes On, with Tracey Ullman) currently has a deal with the BBC to begin filming one of Furst's novels next year.

    Look for it to appear on Masterpiece Theater sometime in the future.
  8. Smithy

    Smithy I'll Lock Up

    Furst's novels are brilliant (I'm a fan) but not Home Front or set in wartime Britain which seems to be what the original poster is after.

    Rocketblast, just a few that I would recommend are "The Burning Blue" by James Holland, "That Summer" by Andrew Greig (this has quite a passionate romance in it), "Under an English Heaven" by Robert Radcliffe, and "The Fire Fighter" by Francis Cottam (set during the Blitz in London).

    HTH a little bit.
  9. Creeping Past

    Creeping Past One Too Many

  10. Marla

    Marla A-List Customer

    My favorite British Home Front novel is Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther, the book on which the Academy Award winning movie of the same name (with Greer Garson) was based.

    The book gives insight into what life was life for average families in Britain during WWII. I highly recommend it!
  11. Good Ol' Days

    Good Ol' Days New in Town

    One book that I'm reading right now is 'Suite Francaise' by Irene Nemirovsky. It definitely is worth a read..so yeah, I recommend it!
  12. Rocketblast

    Rocketblast One of the Regulars

    Oh yeah, I read Suite Francaise and it's great - and her story is so fascinating as she was sent to Auschwitz before being able to publish the novel.
  13. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    If memory serves, Ms Garson holds the record for the longest acceptance speech in Oscar history for that win - 2hours and 20 mins, according to what I read! :eek:
  14. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva. It's set in Britain during WW2. It's a thriller, though, so not sure if that's exactly what you're looking for...
  15. Story

    Story I'll Lock Up

    "Eye of the Needle", Ken Follet
  16. I strongly recommend this novel. I've read it myself several times. It's an excellent WWII homefront spy/espionage book and thrilling to read.

    Just a note - It may be tricky to find. I'm not sure if it's still in print.
  17. Rocketblast

    Rocketblast One of the Regulars

    Thank you for all these suggestions - my birthday is coming up in a few weeks and my Amazon wish list is now bursting at the seams with 1940s novels!
  18. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    I second the recommendation. There's plenty of copies on Amazon right now, too. :)
  19. Check out the books of Neville Shute. In particular I think "Pastoral" and "Requiem for a wren" may be on the theme you want.

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