Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Book Review: Au Revoir My Darling: an intimate war correspondence 1940-1945

For five years Eileen and Ken MacFarlane wrote to each other at least once, sometimes seven – times a week. In their letters they describe their daily lives and the depth of their relationship also comes through. The Mills and MacFarlane families from Rosanna had known each other for some time. The best letters are reproduced in this book by her daughter Heather Haughton.

Eileen especially brings alive the Home front point of view during those war years living in Heidelberg Melbourne, with a baby a toddler, and elderly parents living with her she decides to operate a poultry farm and save money eventually to build a home of their own on property in Montmorency. In addition she took the time to also build an air raid shelter.

Her letters are full of rich descriptions of life around the house and yard with references to local people, businesses and places.

In particular she gives a terrific description of the Victorian bushfires which took place January 1944 including locally “We’ve had a week off the worst bushfires yet..Altogether nearly half a million sheep, about 2,000 cattle, 3,000 horses and a quarter million of poultry. 3000 hectares burnt between Eltham and Heidelberg”.

This book is a surprise and welcome addition to our local history collection at Ivanhoe Library. A valuable primary resource of reminiscences especially of the home front during World War 2 in our local area.

A sample chapter from the beginning of the book can be downloaded on the publishers website at New Holland publishers

No comments: