Over on the cornflower blog today Karen writes again about the Bloomsbury Books reissue of Henrietta’s War by Joyce Dennys. She points out that the second Henrietta book
Henrietta Sees it Through, will only be published if sales of the first one are good enough.
I can’t recommend the books highly enough, I simply love them, but I wonder if the market is there? We already have the original Andre Deutsch editions, which were followed by Penguin paperbacks.
The prices on Amazon are simply ridiculous. I’ve picked up several copies of each book over the years and given away or sold them. I just don’t believe they are that scarce.
I bought the books when they came out, probably after hearing them read on the radio, and have reread them often since. They are wonderful. I love Henrietta, who is always cold and says she could cope with anything if she had a hot water bottle; so very much the way I feel myself. Then there’s husband Charles who makes her a badge saying, 'LABD' (Looking After Busy Doctor) when she worries about not doing war work; comforting Lady B; overbearing Mrs Savernack and ditzy Faith, who plants bright red geraniums when she fears supplies of rouge will run short. Almost every character is affectionately portrayed and the reader becomes fond of them and full of admiration for the way they ‘keep calm and carry on’. So if you haven’t yet met Henrietta do buy Henrietta’s War, which I guarantee to please.
Illustration from The Over-Dose
The two Henrietta books were compiled from articles written for The Sketch during the War. Joyce Dennys (1893-1991) had already written a number of plays and several books; she also illustrated books by other people, including Adults Only by Beverley Nichols. Here’s a much-shortened bibliography.
Mrs Dose, The Doctor’s Wife, 1930
Repeated Doses, 1931
The Over-Dose (This Really is the Last One), 1933
Economy Must be Our Watchword, 1932
And Then There Was One (autobiography), 1983
Henrietta’s War, 1985
Henrietta Sees it Through, 1986
Joyce Dennys, aged 93
Signature from my copy of And Then There was One