Retro Reads

Want to recommend a wonderful book to other members? Please do so ... whether it's food or not, we'd love to find out more.

 
 
 

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maggie-

Retro Reads

I recently read - The best of Everything by Rona Jaffe.She wrote it in 1958.

It is a fascinating story of 4 young,bright women starting work in 1950's New York.It's a window on there lives, the choices they made, hopes, expectations, its brilliantly descriptive and truthful,do read it!!

Times have changed but maybe not that much....

Just wondering if there are are any other great Retro reads out there that you would recommend?

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Elpe

Retro Reads

I'm reading Margaret Forster's Diary of an Ordinary Woman. "Born in 1901, her life spans the 20th century. On the eve of the Great War, Millicent King begins to keep her journal and vividly records the dramas of everyday life in a family touched by war, tragedy and money troubles. From bohemian London to Rome in the 1920s her story moves on to social work and the build up to anoher war, in which she drives ambulances through the bombed streets of London."

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jampling

Retro reads

Have you read any of Helen Forrester's books? Twopence to Cross the Mersey was probably the most famed, but I have read and thoroughly enjoyed others.

She tells the story of her childhood in an initially well-heeled, middle class family in London, who lost everything in the depression. When Helen was about 9, they were forced to move to slum-like conditions in Liverpool, where they were ill equipped to survive on minimal funds.

I was particularly interested in reading about Helen's frustration with her mother, who only really knew how to cook things like steak or expensive roasts. Helen got to know a Portuguese family living in the same building and recounts how the mum performed miracles with meagre food allowances, turning out fantastic, nutritious stews/rice dishes etc.

I found her books fascinating.

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maggie-

Retro reads

Sorry for the late reply. Have been working away. Both sound interesting so have ordered from amazon. Looking forward to a good read.

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Kilmory

Retro reads

We were on holiday last month and saw in Sidmouth that RF Delderfield had lived there. It reminded me of how much I enjoyed his books perhaps 40 years ago.

I couldn't see any on the shelves in the library so ordered both volumes of 'The dreaming suburb' second hand from Amazon. The story is set in a new suburb built just after WW1 and spans the time from then to 1947 following the lives of the occupants of 5 houses. It's beautifully written and a fabulous saga, I don't remember the story after all this time so I feel as if I've found a new author.

Kilmory

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maggie-

Retro Reads

Hi Kilmory

Thanks... I have never read anything by this author so I've just ordered 'The Dreaming Suburb' sounds like a good tale.

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Liz from Cumbria

Delderfield

One of my very favourite authors, I loved his books.

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maggie-

Retro reads

I haven't had much time to read recently but I've just finished 'Twopence to cross the mersey' a compelling story and quick to read.Its a very honest chronicle of utter poverty in the 30's. I so want young Helen to succeed..... and I've ordered the next books, I need to know. Thanks Jampling for the recommendation. Am about to start the 'dreaming suburb'.

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jampling

Retro treads

I am so glad you enjoyed it, Maggie. I agree with you completely...very compelling and gave me an insight into the period - and location - that I hadn't had before.

Thanks for posting about your experience with it.

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maggie-

Retro Reads

'The Dreaming Suburb' reading this book was like eating a cream cake, a lovely treat! It is beautifully written, the language, he paints characters that you feel you know and you care about.The social and economic details of the time are very interesting too. Thanks Kilmory. I will definitely read the next part and more of his books. He wrote loads for TV apparently. It seems he's a forgotten author nowadays.

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Henrithecook

2d to Cross the Mersey


"Have you read any of Helen Forrester's books? Twopence to Cross the Mersey was probably the most famed, but I have read and thoroughly enjoyed others.

She tells the story of her childhood in an initially well-heeled, middle class family in London, who lost everything in the depression. When Helen was about 9, they were forced to move to slum-like conditions in Liverpool, where they were ill equipped to survive on minimal funds.

I was particularly interested in reading about Helen's frustration with her mother, who only really knew how to cook things like steak or expensive roasts. Helen got to know a Portuguese family living in the same building and recounts how the mum performed miracles with meagre food allowances, turning out fantastic, nutritious stews/rice dishes etc.

I found her books fascinating. "


My mother passed it on to me and I hated it. I wanted to slap the whole raft of characters - improvident mother, brainless father who made the situation worse by giving up more than he legally needed to give up so the family had nothing at all when they arrived in the slums. An awful pot-boiler.

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Henrithecook

Retro books

I've recently re-read "Diary of a Provincial Lady" semi-autobiographical book, written in the 1930s. Very entertaining. Dippy middle-class housewife on comparatively tight budget, dealing with children, husband and a motley collection of eccentric neighbours and friends.

I've also recently started on the "Tales of the City" series. I loved the serialised version on television in the '80s.

Currently reading a trilogy by Mollie Vivian Hughes with the overall title of "A London Family, 1870-1900" following Mollie and her family from childhood to married life. The three books were written between 1934-37. fascinating and in parts very funny and, as Mollie says, "Victorian children did not have such a dull time as is usually supposed"
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maggie-

Retro Reads

Elpe did you enjoy 'Diary of an ordinary woman'? what did you think?

I finished it last week. I warmed to Millicent and liked her, She was very fortunate throughout her life however, conveniently so...sometimes (I had to remind myself it was a novel) but I still wanted to know what happened to her and it was a good device. I think what stays with me is the generations of young men wiped out and affected by wars and the effects of living through a war.

It was very informing to read 3 books back to back which covered the same period of time but with very different social and economic circumstances. I learnt much.

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maggie-

Retro Reads

Hi Henri

I would highly recommend all the 'Tales of the city' books, very funny. Armisted Maupin has written 2 other books fairly recently which follow on from the original series, also worth a read.

 
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