Love's Civil War: Elizabeth Bowen and Charles Ritchie, 1941-1973

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Simon & Schuster, Limited, Feb 4, 2010 - Diplomats - 489 pages
3 Reviews
The love affair between the celebrated writer Elizabeth Bowen and the elegant and charming Canadian diplomat Charles Ritchie blossomed quickly after their first meeting in 1941 and continued over the next three decades until Bowen's death.

Published for the first time, accompanied by extracts from Ritchie's remarkably candid diaries, the love letters of Elizabeth Bowen reveal an intelligent, passionate and wonderfully funny woman. In her letters and his diaries we hear the lovers' voices. Set against an ever-changing backdrop, from the Second World War to the Swinging Sixties, and featuring a glorious cast of socialites, writers and politicians, including Nancy Mitford, Iris Murdoch, Isaiah Berlin and John F Kennedy, Love's Civil War is at once a fascinating and intimate portrait of a great love that endures distance, circumstance and time.

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User Review  - paeonia - LibraryThing

A thirty-year love affair is recorded in Elizabeth Bowen's letters and Charles Ritchie's diary entries. Because there are more letters than entries the affair seems somewhat one-sided. At first I ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Myckyee - LibraryThing

I’ve always enjoyed epistolary novels and non-fiction books. There’s something about them that I find easy to read and I feel almost guilty as if I were reading someone’s secret diary and thoughts ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), an Anglo-Irish novelist, essayist, and short story writer, was born in Dublin. Her family spent winters in Dublin and summers in Bowen's Court, their ancestral home in County Cork. At the age of seven Bowen moved to England, where she married Alan Cameron in 1923. The couple divided their time between London, where Cameron held a position at the BBC, and Bowen's Court. Bowen's first book, "Encounters" (1923), was followed by several further collections of short stories and nine novels, including "The Hotel" (1927), "The Last September" (1929), "Friends and Relations" (1931), "To the North" (1932), "The Death of the Heart" (1938), and "The Heat of the Day" (1949), a tale of espionage set in London during World War II. An ardent supporter of the British war effort, Bowen volunteered her services to the British Ministry of Information during World War II, and was commissioned as an undercover agent to investigate whether the Irish public was wavering in its support for Irish neutrality. Elizabeth Bowen was awarded the CBE in 1948 and made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature in 1965. Her last novel, "Eva Trout "(1968), won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Victoria Glendinning is the award-winning biographer of Elizabeth Bowen, Leonard Woolf, Anthony Trollope, Edith Sitwell, Vita Sackville-West, Rebecca West and Jonathan Swift. Her novels, The Grown-Ups, Electricity and Flight, were critical and commercial successes. She divides her time between London, Provence and Ireland.

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