Love in the Blitz: A Woman in a World Turned Upside Down

By Eileen Alexander

‘Her voice is absolutely, beguilingly conversational … Intelligent, allusive, iconoclastic, captivatingly intense … This is the news from the domestic frontline: personal, unique, unexpurgated, without propaganda, as it unfolded and was experienced … Splendid’
William Boyd, Guardian

With the intimacy and wit of a Second World War Bridget Jones, Eileen Alexander offers a portal into life during the Blitz.

Eileen Alexander fell in love amidst the falling of bombs, finding a quotation from poetry at every turn. Graduating from Cambridge in 1939, she had just been injured in a car crash (the man she had a soft spot for was driving) and had firm ambitions of studying further, making herself useful and absolutely not getting married.

Her letters offer a love story and a unique snapshot of the home front, as well as resurrecting the voice of a profoundly funny writer.

‘I wonder what anyone would think if they suddenly came across my letters to you & started reading them in chronological order?’ Eileen wrote in 1941. ‘I think they’d say “This girl never lived till she loved” – and it would be true, darling.’

Format: ebook
Release Date: 30 Apr 2020
Pages: None
ISBN: 978-0-00-831122-3
Eileen Alexander was born in Cairo and grew up in a cosmopolitan Jewish family before moving to Cambridge as a student. She graduated from Girton College with a first-class degree in English in 1939, and worked during the Second World War for the civil service in the Air Ministry. Eileen went on to be a teacher, writer and translator, including translating some of Georges Simenon’s works.

‘Once in a while, just at the right moment, a truly gorgeous real-life love story appears out of the blue, or in this case out of a chance purchase on eBay. Some of wartime’s funniest, most unexpected and possibly unintentionally sexiest letters. Eileen has an insatiable eye for funny stories amid the strange circumstances of war. There are echoes of intimate, Mitfordian shorthand and a touch of the self-deprecating, self-doubting Bridget Jones about her.’The Spectator -

‘It has been a long time since I enjoyed a book as much … Of the hundreds of books about World War II that I’ve read, this is one of the best. Imagine how [Austen] might have witnessed the Blitz, and you have a sense of this wonderful book’New York Times -

”'Eileen emerges as a force of nature, and her voice is one of the real joys in these remarkable letters. She was clever and caustic, without being cruel; intellectually brilliant and revelling in that fact… a memoir of hope and resilience, as much as of love” - The Times

”'A trove of dazzlingly literary love letters. These are as [Oswyn] Murray rightly concludes, 'some of the most beautiful and vivid” - love letters of the Second World War’Daily Telegraph

‘The great value of Eileen’s book is that it takes you out of our present troubles into a world even more dangerous and destructive, which people nevertheless survived’Sunday Times -

‘This remarkable treasure trove of letters gives a unique insight into home-front life and romance’Mail on Sunday -

”'Superbly entertaining … on almost every page there is a gleaming little starburst of life … She is immensely clever and her literary judgements are delicious. Her writing is a diary-like outpouring, a stream of consciousness in which she relives her days in the glorifying imagined gaze of her recipient; it is a mass of aperçus, jokes, observations and confessions.” - TLS