MRS. Miniver woke up one morning with a sense of doom, a knowledge that
the day contained something to be dreaded. It was not a crushing weight,
such as an operation, or seeing one's best friend off to live in
Tasmania; nor was it anything so light as a committee meeting, or a deaf
uncle to tea: it was a kind of welter-weight doom.
At first it puzzled her. So far as she knew, she had no appointments that
day, either pleasant or unpleasant, and that in itself was good. To be
entirely at leisure for one day is to be for one day an immortal:
according to the Chinese proverb she ought to have been feeling god-like.
But the small, dull weight continued to drag and nag.
Clem put his head in, dishevelled from a bath. Not for the first time,
she felt thankful that she had married a man whose face in the ensuing
sixteen years had tended to become sardonic rather than sleek. It was
difficult to tell, when people were young and their cheek-lines were
still pencilled and delible. Those beautiful long lean young men so often
filled out into stage churchwardens at forty-five. But she had been
lucky, or had a flair; Clem's good looks were wearing well. The great
thing, perhaps, was not to be too successful too young.
At the moment his expression was anything but sardonic.
"She ought to be here by nine," he said eagerly, and vanished.
Mrs. Miniver remembered with a bump, felt dismayed, knew that her dismay
was unreasonable, and tried to argue it out of existence. A new car was a
thing to be pleased over; it was high time they had one. The old
Leadbetter had got to the stage when nothing less than an expensive
overhaul would do any good; it had developed sinister fumes, elusive
noises, incurable draughts; it was tiring for Clem on his long drives.
And a week ago, when Clem, straight from the Motor Show, had spent the
whole evening musing happily over catalogues, she had realized that the
game was up. Her usual attitude--that they didn't really need a new car
--was plainly untenable, and this time she could not even fall back upon
a plea for economy. They could perfectly well afford it now. Clem's plans
for the new building estate had gone through; and there was the
Vanderhoops' country house as well--a plum. Besides, this scene had
been replayed, with variations, many times, and they both knew that the
basis of her invariable reluctance about new cars was not thrift but
sentiment. She simply could not endure the moment when the old one was
Mrs. Miniver was a fool about inanimate objects. She had once bid
furiously at an auction for a lot described as "Twelve kitchen chairs;
also a small wicker knife-basket." Clem, knowing the size of their
kitchen, made urgent signals to her across the room. She stopped bidding,
and the lot was knocked down to someone else for more than its value by a
grateful but mystified auctioneer.
"You got mixed up in the lot numbers, didn't you?" Clem said afterwards.
"No," she said, guiltily. "I'm awfully sorry. It was that knife-basket. I
suddenly thought--so wretched not to be grand enough to be in a lot by
itself. Just tagged on to kitchen chairs like that. Clem--a small
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was thoroughly enjoying this book when it ended, mid sentence, on page 101. I was very disappointed to purchase a partial book.
Shame on you for not letting customers know this book is incomplete. It only has 101 pages, my guess you are missing over 200 pages. This book needs to be removed so no one else will be ripped off.
I bought a used 1942 copy of this book (not ebook) and loved the thoughtful meanderings of this pre-war book. It could almost be viewed as journal entries since there are spaces between the stories representing a slight jump in time. They all read beautifully on their own and as the author admits late in one of the stories, it is good to have a record of the time before the war since so much will have been lost or changed after the war. As others have noted, it is not at all like the movie, however Mrs Miniver and her family members are all present in the book. Since so many negative comments were made about the ebook being incomplete, I would encourage anyone to buy a used book for a few dollars to complete the story.
The book ended on page 101. B&N, stop ripping off your customers!
Back to the public library to finish this wonderful book.
I was raised working class with immigrant parents and don't normally like characters like Mrs. Miniver, an upper middle class British housewife with a country home and servants. Yet I was enchanted by these 37 essays that originally appeared in the London Times between 1937 and 1939. We don't even learn the first name of the lead character until the very end of the book. She is always Mrs. Miniver, and her husband is always Clem. The Minivers are close, but they don't ever act intimate. Even though the essays are in the third person (except for the letter at the end where we learn her first name), this is one of the most intimate looks into a woman's mind I have ever read. The author's love of language and the details of daily life are revealed through the thoughts of this delightful character. The essays were published in the Times every two weeks for the two years leading up to the British entry into World War II. Although the preparations for war are discussed in later essays, they mostly deal with the everyday lives of this typical middle class family. The essays became a symbol of the essence of British life and were published in book form as the war began. The US edition includes an additional essay where Mrs. Miniver prepares her first Christmas shopping list of the war. The American cinema made an Oscar-winning movie with the same title starring Greer Garson, but the plot of the movie has nothing to do with the subject of these brief disconnected short stories. This is a wonderful book that I will cherish for a long time. Highly recommended.
Like so many other readers, I picked this book up expecting the written version of the Greer Garson film. As soon as I read the author's thanks to the Times for allowing her to republish a series of articles carried by that newspaper in the pre-war years, though, I realized that wasn't what I was about to read. So I adjusted my expectations, settled back, and thoroughly enjoyed Mrs. Miniver in her original incarnation. The war doesn't begin until the book's final vignette, although its looming threat is hinted at many times in the earlier ones. Jan Struther's articles share with us the life of Mrs. Miniver, a happily married Londoner who has a second home in Kent and three perfectly normal children. Like other women of her time and class, she has no need to be employed at anything but living the proper social life, and directing the activities of her servants so that husband Clem will have a haven to come to every night and a competent hostess to entertain their friends and business contacts. Clem appears to be a building contractor, which makes such contacts especially important. So far, so boring. Except that Mrs. Miniver has a keen mind, and an equally keen awareness of her own emotions and the triggers that rouse them. Each article's vividly written descriptions of routine events in an average woman's life not only involve the reader's senses they also offer, subtly and therefore effectively, philosophical comments that any thinking person can't help responding to with recognition. We've lived what Mrs. Miniver has lived, all of us, despite being separated from her world by gulfs of time and space. Between those moments (at least one, but usually several, per article) and Struther's beautiful use of everyday language, this book turns out to be a quiet delight.