August Book Review: Nella Last’s War

Before I even got home from college in May, I had goals for the summer. They included things like praying, being able to run slightly longer distances, dancing at Nationals, etc…and they also included reading. I’ve had a goodreads (promise I’m not sponsored) account for a while but I haven’t been consistent out using it. This summer I wanted to keep track of how many books I read so I decided to use it! It was a great tool for finding new authors and books. I really recommend it. Find me on Goodreads here.

Nella Last’s War: The Second World War Diaries of ‘Housewife 49 was one of my many summer reads. Nella Last wrote a diary for the Mass Observation Archive from 1939 until 1966 as the British Government encouraged regular citizens to document their lives during the war. Her work was originally published as a book in 1981 and was republished in 2006.

Nella Last was a regular housewife who lived in  Lancashire, England. Her diary provides fascinating insights on the day-to-day life of an ordinary woman face with extraordinary difficult circumstances brought on by war. Nella’s diary describes daily problems she encountered with housework and cooking as well as her volunteer work. When reading, you can also clearly see how the war personally affected her; while in some ways it gave her fulfillment and the chance to work outside the home, she also struggled with fear, especially for her son Cliff who joined up to fight.

Nella Last’s War is a wonderful and unique read, it provides incredibly personal insight to what daily life looked like during World War II. Nella is a wonderful writer, as I read, she became a friend. You really feel you are able to get to know Nella and her personality as you read, her style of writing is intimate and enjoyable.

Let me know if you give the book a try! I hope you enjoy getting to know Nella as much as I did.

–Mary Grace


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