Literature and War Readalong April 30 2012: Coventry by Helen Humphreys

With last month’s book we have left WWI behind us and move on to WWII. The first of the WWII books is Helen Humphreys’ novel Coventry. I thought this would be my first novel by this author but I have read another one before, The Lost Garden, a wonderfully lyrical coming-of-age story which I liked a lot. With this in mind I’m keen on reading Coventry. Helen Humphreys is British but she lives in Ontario, Canada. Helen Humphreys has won several prizes, she is the author of 4 novels, one book of narrative non-fiction and four collections of poetry. I have a weakness for poets who write novels or novelists who write poetry because the writing is usually far above the average.

On the back cover of the novel it says that Coventry is “a memorial to the terrible losses of wartime, and a celebration of remembrance, determination and resilience.” The book tells the story of two women and moves back and forth between 1919 and the night of the 14 November 1940.

Here are the first sentences

The swallow arcs and dives above the cathedral. Harriet March watches it flicker through the darkness ahead of her as she walks along the cobblestones towards the church. The bird moves in the night air with all the swiftness of sudden feeling, and Harriet stops at the base of the ladder, tracking the flight of the lone swallow as it shivers up the length of the church spire.


The discussion starts on Monday, 30 April 2012.

Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2012, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.