I read Marilyn Robinson's Housekeeping and loved the beautiful almost poetical writing. The bleakness of the place she describes, the bleakness of the lives of the two sisters and their grandmother and aunts made this a slightly uncomfortable read for me - at times I did wonder where it was going, but the images called up by Marilyn Robinson's writing will linger a long time in my head. The bleakness of the landscape is also echoed by the themes of loss and attachment
Nella Last's War, the diary of Housewife 49, describes the difficulties of housekeeping during World War Two. Nella lived in Barrow-in-Furness, then a ship-building town in north Lancashire, and fairly heavily bombed during the war. Nella's diary was written for Mass Observation, but edited and published after the end of the war. Nella's writing reveals her as being generally optimistic, cheerful under the circumstances and hard-working. She describes making dolls, which are sold in the Red cross shop set up in Barrow during the war as well as mending and making do with her own and neighbours clothes. A fascinatig read which added to my knowledge and admiration of those who stayed at home and kept the home fires burning during the Second World war.