News from the Home Front 1939-1942
By Joyce Dennys
(Bloomsbury USA, Paperback, 9781608190492, 176pp.)
Publication Date: April 13, 2010
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Spirited Henrietta wishes she was the kind of doctor's wife who knew exactly how to deal with the daily upheavals of war. But then, everyone in her close-knit Devonshire village seems to find different ways to cope: there's the indomitable Lady B, who writes to Hitler every night to tell him precisely what she thinks of him; the terrifyingly efficient Mrs Savernack, who relishes the opportunity to sit on umpteen committees and boss everyone around; flighty, flirtatious Faith who is utterly preoccupied with the latest hats and flashing her shapely legs; and then there's Charles, Henrietta's hard-working husband who manages to sleep through a bomb landing in their neighbour's garden.
With life turned upside down under the shadow of war, Henrietta chronicles the dramas, squabbles and loyal friendships that unfold in her affectionate letters to her 'dear childhood friend' Robert. Warm, witty and perfectly observed, Henrietta's War brings to life a sparkling community of determined troupers who pull together to fight the good fight with patriotic fervour and good humour.
Henrietta's War is part of The Bloomsbury Group, a new library of books from the early twentieth-century chosen by readers for readers.
Joyce Dennys was born in 1883 in India. The family relocated to England in 1886. Joyce enjoyed drawing lessons throughout her schooling, which was often interrupted due to financial problems, and later enrolled at Exeter Art School.
She worked as a Voluntary Aid Detachment after passing her Red Cross exams. Joyce designed a recruitment poster to encourage women to join up.
She married a young doctor, in 1919 and moved to New South Wales. Joyce's work was constantly in print and exhibited in many galleries.
In 1922, Joyce became a mother. Her drawing took second place and she became increasingly frustrated. The struggle for women artists to have space to work is a theme that pervades much of her writing. She voiced her frustrations through Henrietta, a heroine she created. This character was to become very important to her, and she claimed: 'Henrietta was part of me. I never quite knew where I ended and she began.' These were later compiled into Henrietta's War.
“Wonderfully evocative of English middle-class life at the time … never fails to cheer me up.”—Susan Hill, Good Housekeeping (UK)