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Henrietta’s War

February 20, 2010

I won Henrietta’s War from Thomas at My Porch and was really excited to read it. The history behind the book is that  the character of Henrietta was created by Joyce Dennys in a series of newspaper columns that evolved throughout World War II.  Henrietta is a housewife with grown children living outside of London and is writing to her friend Robert who is fighting in the war. The novel is a collection of these letters.

I wanted to like Henrietta, but I just didn’t.  The only word I can think of to describe her is silly.  She is a silly housewife who, I felt, didn’t really think for herself and often acted childish.  For instance in one letter, Henrietta is looking for an appropriate material to use to put over the windows.  She gets obsessed with finding the right color for each room and ends up cutting up her husband’s new pajamas because they are the perfect match.   I may be being too hard on Henrietta, but I’m not a fan of those I-would-be-lost-without-my-husband type of characters from the 40’s and 50’s.

I will say that Henrietta’s War is chock full of really interesting insights into the war and living in Britian in that time.  Henrietta gives us a first hand account of how civilians were deeply affected and involved in the war.  Living in fear of invasion and bombs, making sure to keep black outs each night, Henrietta takes us on a fascinating tour of Britian during WWII.

So Henrietta is not my favorite, but I am glad I read her letters.  It made me realize that my own grandparents probably have very interesting accounts of living through WWII here in America and I would love to hear their stories.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2010 10:59 pm

    Kim, I’ve seen quite a few reviews on this book recently, and added it tome TBR list, but it won’t be a top priority. Thanks for your honest review.

  2. February 21, 2010 11:58 am

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. Hahaha I’ve just read your post on it. So you think Henrietta silly? I agree. But I suspect she allows herself to be silly but probably has a sensible head on her shoulders. Certainly her husband treats her like a child sometimes. It’s no wonder she allows herself to be “silly”. I ‘ve left my copy behind for my mum to read it:)

  3. February 23, 2010 8:07 pm

    I wasn’t particularly blown away by this book either.

  4. Jennifer permalink
    February 27, 2010 9:29 am

    I interviewed Grandma and Grandpa for a paper on WWII in college. I’ll see if I can find it – they did have some really interesting things to share!

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