Love in the Blitz: The Long-Lost Letters of a Brilliant Young Woman to Her Beloved on the Front

Eileen Alexander, edited by David McGowan and David Crane. Harper, $28.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-06-288880-8
This collection of letters written by literary translator Alexander (1917–1986) to her future husband, Gershon Ellenbogen, between July 1939 and March 1946 proves a remarkable aggregate of public and personal history. It begins with, per editor Crane, a “remarkably forgiving letter” from Alexander to Ellenbogen after she is badly injured in a car crash while he, a friend and fellow Cambridge student, is driving. The ensuing correspondence (of which his half is lost) traces their deepening bond, as he serves in the RAF and she in the Army bureaucracy, and shares details of ordinary British life during WWII, perhaps most dramatically of blitz-era London. “I’ve been nervous in Air-Raids before, but last night I was Terrified,” Alexander writes, noting elsewhere, “gas-mask practice is at 10 and I’ve left my mask at home again.” She also shares “libelous” gossip about her friends (“Darling Jean Swills Pink Gin with Terrific Swagger—It’s my private opinion that she’s a bit of a Wild Oat”) and describes familial roadblocks to their relationship, as when her parents are scandalized by her plans to stay with Ellenbogen near his training camp. Any reader with an interest in cultural history or a love of romance will find this a book to savor. (May)
Reviewed on : 01/08/2020
Release date: 05/26/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 480 pages - 978-0-06-288882-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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