Those of you who follow us on Facebook and Twitter will already know how very excited we are to be publishing These Wonderful Rumours!, the newly discovered wartime diaries of a young school teacher, which will be available to buy next week. Now we are very pleased to give you a sneak peek at the handwritten diaries and artefacts which came together to become this wonderful book.
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May’s diaries, which were presented to Virago in pristine condition by the late author’s son, shine a unique and surprising light onto life on the Home Front. At the outbreak of World War Two, May Smith was just twenty-four. She lived in a small village near Derby with her parents, and taught at the local elementary school. The war brought many changes: evacuees arrived in the village; nights were broken by the wail of the siren as bombers flew overhead; the young men of May’s circle donned khaki and disappeared to far-flung places to ‘do their bit’. But a great deal remained the same: May still enjoyed tennis parties, holidays to Llandudno and going shopping for new outfits – coupons and funds permitting. And it was during these difficult times that May fell in love.
These Wonderful Rumours! is the perfect accompaniment to books such as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Nella Last’s War (dramatised on the BBC as Housewife 49) and has something for readers of everything from social history and nostalgia memoirs to fiction and non-fiction set during World War Two. Through May Smith’s observant, witty and sometimes acerbic diary, we gain a new understanding of how the people of Britain coped with the uncertainty, the heartbreak and the black comedy of life during wartime.
For more fun titbits from These Wonderful Rumours! you can now follow @MaySmithsDiary on Twitter.
And stay tuned to the website for exclusive extracts from the book – coming next week!
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