Thursday, January 27, 2011

(Sort-Of) Classic Lit: Henrietta Sees It Through by Joyce Dennys

Henrietta Sees It Through: More News from the Home Front, 1942-1945 is the sequel to Henrietta's War. The two novels are compilations of fictional letters, written by Joyce Dennys and published in Sketch magazine during World War Two. These letters are written by the middle-aged, empty-nesting Henrietta to her childhood friend, Robert.

Henrietta is the wife of a small-town doctor. They live in Britain, but their area of the country is relatively unmolested by the Blitz. The only damage German bombs do to the town is to break windows and blow down doors, but that doesn't mean that the people there aren't facing other problems and heartaches because of the war. Henrietta, along with her husband Charles and her friends Lady B, the Conductor, and Faith, make the best of the war. They give up, do without, and maintain patriotic attitudes, usually with a sense of humor.

Henrietta Sees It Through is a delightful read. Dennys has what my English teacher calls "that dry British wit." Most of the letters have humorous or ironic endings. Despite  the comedic slant, however, Henrietta still writes of the hardships and heartbreaks of the war, from going without silk stockings and elastic to dealing with the deaths of neighbors' sons. Along with the trials of war come the trials of being a small-town doctor's wife; Henrietta's little village has some unique - and sometimes irritating - characters. To wrap this up, Henrietta Sees It Through is a wonderful read for anyone interested in British literature, WWII, or just funny novels.

My copy of this book was received through GoodReads' First Look program. A reprint of the original 1986 edition, it was published by Bloomsbury in 2010.

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