HISTORY

Love in the Blitz: The Long-Lost Letters of a Brilliant Young Woman to Her Beloved on the Front

Harper. May 2020. 480p. ISBN 9780062888808. $28. hist
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In 1939, author Alexander had just graduated from Girton College, Cambridge. The year before, she’d met fellow Cambridge student Gershon Ellenbogen, and on June 29, he set out to drive her to London, but they had an accident en route. Recovering in the hospital, she began writing to him and wouldn’t stop until March 26, 1943, when they were married in London. Between those dates, she sent her boyfriend, fiancé, and finally husband more than a thousand letters, determined not to lose him even when he was overseas. Alexander died in 1986, Gershon in 2003; he had saved all her letters. Eventually, they were listed for sale on eBay, ending up in the hands of a competent, respectful editor and compiled here. Alexander’s adoration for Gershon shines through in every letter, and so do her observations on the opinions and foibles of the people around her. You’ll laugh out loud at unbuttoned descriptions of friends, family, and coworkers while learning more than you’d expect about life in London leading up and during to World War II.
VERDICT This treasure trove of love letters, cultural history, and memoir should make a wonderful addition to all World War II collections.

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