Here and Now: The Virtual Book Pile

I’ve been umming and awwing for a while now about how I can share the books I’m reading with you all (Home Front Solution #15). I didn’t want to bore you all with huge paragraphs on each one but still wanted to let you know when I found something brilliant so I’ve made this virtual book pile! Each one I read that is worthy of a share, I will write a little review on here and if I hugely fall in love with one or want to talk a little more about it, I’ve link the entry here to a bigger blog.

This book pile includes any physical and audio book that fits with my Home Front Solutions so expect Home Front, sustainability, recipes, the wider war, growing, gardening and anything else that grabs me.

I’m continuously reading so as I read a new book I’ll add it to the top of the pile so to speak so keep checking back as this page will update quite regularily and please let me know of any recommendations you have in the comments below.

If one of these has piqued your interest and you want a read, and you can’t find it in your library or get to your local bookshop, please use to buy online. I’m not affiliated to them or sponsored by them, I just love their mission is to support local, independent book shops via online sales.

Without further ado, here is the pile…

Stranger in the House by Julie Summers

The post war period isn’t one I had spent too much thinking about but after reading Millions Like Us (see review below) I got thinking about how it must have been for families reunited after, in some cases, nearly 4 years apart and this book is the just the thing to delve into it. For many families, the readjustment was really hard and this book uses first hand interviews, diaries and letters to tell the stories of those struggles. I found it a little discombobulating as there was a lot of different families but overall it gives a really good picture and helped me to understand that generation a lot more. 8/10

Elsie and Mairi Go To War by Diana Atkinson

I inhaled this book in a day which goes along way to showing how much I loved reading it. It isn’t my usual, this being about WW1 instead of WW2, but the life stories of the awe inspiring Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm and their adventures as the only female nurses allowed on the front line are incredible, whatever history era you are normally in to. 10/10

Bonzo’s War by Clare Campbell

My doggos are a big part of my life but I’ll admit I’ve never really though how they would fare on the Home Front so this book really caught my eye. You’ll learn all about the animal charities through the war including the in fighting, how 6000 dogs went off to fight on the front, the battle to keep pets feed and the secret government plot to reduce numbers. An interesting subject, though the book itself can be a bit repetitive and I found it a tad sensationalist. 6/10

Bomb Girls by Jacky Hyams

A really interesting book about a part of WW2 history I had never looked into before. The Munition Workers played an incredibly important roles in the winning of the war, not as glamorous as WREN’s or as noticably practical as the Land Girls, but they were the ones putting their lives at risk daily to make sure the bombs and the ammunition would get to the front line. This book is very well researched and uses the girls own words (or their families) to describe their time in the fatories. A must read 9/10

Histories of the Unexpected: World War II by Sam Willis and James Daybell

I got this book as I love the Podcast the chaps do, which is all about the unexpected history of the almost anything and this book is just as good. It shows the WW2 link between Blood, King Arthur, Cancer, Carrots, Mozart, Darkness, Cars, Pockets, Furniture, Mothers, Puppets, Cows, Handkerchiefs, Paperbacks, Gates and much more. It’s as intruging as it sounds and in bite-sized chapters so you can pick it up and put it down 8/10

The People’s War by Juliet Gardiner

I wouldn’t normally do a book as slim as this but I love collections of Home Front photographs and this is a really good set. I always find the background people are as fascinating as the foreground especially in crowd scenes and this book doesn’t disappoint and has also given me some great fashion ideas. A great book for inspiration or Home Front visual references. 6/10

How Britain Kept Calm and Carried On by Anton Rippon

This book is a giggle a page. It is a collection of funny stories collected from the 1970’s onwards, mainly about the Home Front and seems to cover all walks of life. I love hearing first hand accounts as you hear little tit bits about the Home Front that are too trivial to put in books, like failing knicker elastic and keeping your door open in a raid. My favourite stories include the chap who jumped through a bottomless boat, the old lady collected plague victim bones for salvage and when an air raid warden shouted down to a shelter asking if there were any pregnant women inside, with the response being “Give us a minute, we’ve only just got down here!” 8/10

Living on the Home Front by Megan Westley. Non-fiction.

One of my favourite books and a great way to get you inspired about the Home Front. Written as a diary of her experience of living each day with rationing and no TV with the beginning of each chapter giving a detail history and background of living through the war, including rationing and recipes. An excellent book of living history. 10/10

The Battle of Britain July-October 1940 by Matthew Parker

I don’t normally venture into the military side of WW2 but I do enjoy an oral account of history and the fact this includes diaries and letters of the soldier who didn’t make it as well as those who did and includes german viewpoints make this an appealing read. It’s amazing to see how close the Battle of Britian was to failure and also how half the time is was running on a wing and a prayer. 7/10

The Archers – Ambridge at War by Catherine Miller

This book is a little bit of heaven, The Archers and the Home Front all nicely tied together with a village mystery? I don’t think a better book could exist. Perfect for a little Ambridge back story and lots of WW2 farming chat. I really hope there is a sequel. 7/10

Yours Cheerfully by A J Pearce

A sequel to one of my favourites and even lovelier than the first. I loved meeting with the characters again and seeing how they all got on. It did have me thinking more about a woman’s war time lot especially when it came to pay and workers rights which sent me down a history rabbit hole (which I never mind). 8/10

Dear Mrs Bird by A J Pearce

A book to warm you to your cockles and if you’re anything like me, have you chatting in plummy WW2 tones and calling everyone you meet Bunty. A heart warming story of a girl finding herself through a job in a woman’s magazine with laughter and tears along the the way. 8/10

Don’t you know there’s a war on? by Jonathan Croall

A collection of 35 first hand accounts of life from the Home Front. I really enjoyed reading stories from people I wouldn’t normally have heard from, highlights being The Pacifist Prisoner and The Shelter Warden. Only downside is it can be a little dry at times. 7/10

Millions Like Us by Virginia Nicholson

One of the most comprehensive accounts of woman’s lives during the 1940’s. I love that this book goes past VE and VJ day to talk about women’s experiences in the post war years and all the challenges and joys that brought. If you’ve read other female war time diaries, you’ll be familiar with some of the faces you’ll read about. 10/10

Green Hands by Barbara Whitton

Part of the IWM Wartime Classics series, this is based on her own experience of being a land girl and is a perfect balance of the humour and camaraderie of the girls with the hardship of their work. Couldn’t put it down. 9/10

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Not strictly war time but a really interesting look at society in the early post war years. I adore the TV programme but I think I love this book a little more. Very thought provoking about woman’s health and rights in the not to distant past. 9/10

Regeneration by Pat Barker

A fictional account of a real life encounter between an army psychologist and Siegfried after he had written his A Soilder’s Declaration and is had been read out in parliment. I don’t know what made me pick up this book as I’m not normally into WW1 or military matters but reading it opened up a part of history I had never thought about and I was instantly taken in. Brings up some interesting issues. 8/10

Love in the Blitz – Letters from Eileen Alexander

This is a collection of love letters written by Eileen Alexander to her beau throughout the war and it’s a beautiful read. Beginning just before the war when they frist starting courting, you can to tag along as their relationship blossoms whilst the war bundles along in the background. You only have her letters (her husband (spoiler alert) kept everyone she ever sent him) so you only get one side as such but it’s been so well collated that doesn’t really effect the story. A budding, real life romance and snippets of the Home Front in the background, what more could you want? 7/10

Blitz Spirit 1939 – 1945 Compiled by Becky Brown

Compiled from Mass Observation entries, this is a brilliant piling together of real peoples thoughts, fears, funnies and gripes throughout the second world war. It also shows a nice link to the pandemic and how silimar frustrations were felt for both. I love anything that is written from real experiences of the Home Front and this is one of the best. 8/10

Here and Now

Hatty Harley View All →

I am a pink haired, list lover with a silver lining outlook on life and a passion for reviving history.

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