Hermione Ranfurly, “To War with Whitaker”

Well, hello! Yes, I’m back. I know, I left without saying good-bye, and that was rude. I’m sorry. I left you at Outlander, right? I’ve read a lot since then — I know you have, too — and guess what?

I can’t remember most of it.

So here we are again. I’m going to keep things shorter for now, and skimp on the images. I stopped blogging because it was taking so much time, and actually I have managed to write a book since then. So that’s good.We’ll just see how this goes, shall we?

Up today, a book that was recommended to me by a new friend. We moved quickly in our book conversation from the marvelous Patrick Leigh Fermor to the delightful Countess of Ranfurly whose diaries of World War II were have been collected and edited into a delicious memoir. The newlywed Lady Ranfurly — clearly a woman of great charm and determination — followed her husband Dan to the Middle East and managed to stay there after his capture and internment in an Italian prison camp. Working as a secretary in various hot spots, she met much of the British High Command (and some Americans as well: not a huge fan of Eisenhower). Lots of stiff upper lip and whimsical but not annoying detail. The Whitaker of the title is her husband’s valet, gloomy and fat but extremely loyal, whose parallel adventures with the war machine add comic notes. If this is the kind of thing you like, you know who you are.

About carolwallace

I spend most of my time writing and reading. Most recent publications: the reissue of "To Marry an English Lord,"one of the inspirations for "Downton Abbey," and the historical novel "Leaving Van Gogh." I am too cranky to belong to a book group but I love the book-blogging community.
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14 Responses to Hermione Ranfurly, “To War with Whitaker”

  1. Cricket Callahan says:

    So glad you are back!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Raymond Mendez says:

    Welcome back!

    Mention of DDE brings to mind an encounter he had with L. Bernstein. A summary from the WGBH website: “You know, I liked that last piece you played; it’s got a theme. I like music with a theme, not all them arias and barcarolles.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, speaking to Leonard Bernstein after a White House concert in 1960

    Leonard Bernstein was so taken by President Eisenhower’s remark that 30 years later, he produced a song-cycle called “Arias and Barcarolles” with a theme Bernstein described as “The politics of love.”

    I wonder what Paddy Fermor would have thought, had he witnessed this.

  3. Mary Nicoll says:

    So glad to have you back. Thank you for bringing this book to my attention!

  4. Katharine Davis says:

    I’m delighted you are back!

  5. carolwallace says:

    Thank you, Kitty! All well with you, I hope?

  6. Nancy Casserley says:

    Welcome back- we missed you!!
    Thinking of women of charm and determination who follow their men to war and elsewhere, I’m reading the very good 2015 biography of Clementine Churchill by Sonia Purnell. Talk about two challenging characters working out a life together! Readers of Lady Ranfurly’s memoir might like this also.

  7. carolwallace says:

    Thank you, Nancy, I will look into that. I’ve always wondered how Clementine tolerated Winston — who appears quite often in “To War with Whitaker.” Maybe best result of that book is a sense of how utterly grim WW2 was all over the globe…

  8. Virginia Arndt says:

    Ginny Arndt says
    I’m glad you are back too. I’m next on our Pequot Library list for the biography of Clementine Churchill, – highly recommended to me. Then on to To War with Whitaker.” Thanks, Carol.

  9. Judith Rodgers says:

    Carol! So good to get this from you. I’m glad to hear you’ve been writing–I knew something was up, it had been so long. Hope you’re in fine fettle.

    Judith Rodgers

  10. And just like that, I’m able to log on. Thank you. It’s a relief to know I can drop in here now and then and find, most of the time, that you’ve read and reviewed something I’m considering.

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