Skip to main content

Review: Mrs. Tim Carries On, by DE Stevenson


Pages: 307
Original date of publication: 1941
My edition: 1973 (Holt, Rinehart and Winston)
Why I decided to read:
How I acquired my copy: Ebay, March 2011

Mrs. Tim Carries On is the highly delightful sequel to Mrs. Tim of the Regiment, which follows the adventures of Hester Christie, wife of an Army Major. It is 1940, the war is fully underway, and Tim has been sent over to the front, leaving Hester with their two children Betty and Bryan. As Hester explains in her own way:
I proceed to explain my own peculiar method of ‘carrying on’. None of us could bear the war if we allowed ourselves to brood upon the wickedness of it and the misery it has entailed, so the only thing to do is not to allow oneself to think about it seriously, but just to skitter about on the service of life like a waterbeetle. In this was one can carry on and do one’s bit and remain moderately cheerful.
In her diary, Hester promises not to talk about the war except for the times when she worries—which, as it turns out, isn’t often. She deals primarily with the everyday life of being an officer's wife--some of it good, some of it tiring. Although the war is raging outside her little corner of England and her husband is away at war and her son is away at school, Hester always manages to remain cheerful about her situation—she even manages to retain her sense of humor through it all. I enjoyed the part of the novel where she travels to London and witnesses firsthand the air raids (there's even a brief mention of children in the subways, which ties in nicely to the book I read before this, Barbara Noble's Doreen).

However, she’s not nearly as funny in this book—maybe it’s the war-related stresses that she has to deal with. But Hester is realistic, and that’s why I like her so much, both in this book and Mrs. Tim of the Regiment. I love that she never becomes too dull about her children and their accomplishments (or lack thereof, as witnessed by Bryan and Betty’s letters home). It’s too bad that the Mrs. Tim books are out of print and therefore hard to find; they’re fantastic comfort reads.


Comments

Helen said…
Did you know that Bloomsbury reprinted the Mrs Tim books in 2010!? I have new paperback editions of them.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972 Originally published: 1944 My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press) How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…

Review: Jane Austen's Letters, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye

Pages: 667 Original date of publication: 2011 My copy: 2011 (Oxford University Press) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, April 2013
This is a compilation of many of Jane Austen’s letters, most of them sent to her sister Cassandra between 1796 and 1817, the year of her death. Although many of Austen’s letters were destroyed by her sister in order to preserve the family reputation, the collection contains over 160 letters in which Austen gives her sister details about her life in Chawton—as well as giving us a tantalizing glimpse of what was going through her mind as she was writing her novels (especially the novel that was to become Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions). There are other letters here, too, giving advice to her niece and professional correspondence to publishers—as well as a couple of letters that were written by Cassandra Austen after Jane’s death.
To the sisters, the letters acted in the way that phone calls do today; Austen’s news is all about pe…

2015 Reading

January
1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

February
1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

March
1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…