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Monthly Highlights: September 2012

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With the scent of autumn in the air and school children trudging back to school, September was the perfect month for Jane Robinson’s crackling and feisty book about the Women’s Institute, A Force to be Reckoned With, now released in paperback. In addition to this, is the Virago publication of Tea by the Nursery Fire, Noel Streatfeild’s cosy account of a beloved family nanny at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Read on for more information on both.

A Force to be Reckoned With

Everyone knows three things about the Women’s Institute: that they spent the war making jam; that the sensational Calendar Girls were WI; and, more recently, that the WI were responsible for the slow-handclapping of Tony Blair.

In this first fully independent history of the WI, Jane Robinson illustrates how the WI became one of the most powerful and high profile organisations in the UK. Now nearly a century old, the WI’s ‘think globally, act locally’ ethic has placed it at the forefront of change from practical improvements on a village scale to national campaigning.

Based on WI archives, both local and national, and on first-hand accounts by members past and present, this is a history bursting with originality, unique influence, vivid personalities and an indomitable spirit.

Daily Mail, ‘This highly entertaining history of the movement shines a light on a far more radical and important organisation’

Daily Express, ‘An arresting read’

A Force to be Reckoned With is now available in paperback.

 

Tea by the Nursery Fire

Emily Huckwell spent almost her entire life working for one family . . .

Born in a tiny Sussex village in the 1870s, Emily went into domestic service in the Burton household before she was twelve, earning £5 a year. She began as a nursery maid, steadily progressing to under nurse and then head nanny, looking after two generations of children.

One of the children in Emily’s care was William, the father of Noel Streatfeild. Noel is the author of the well-known Ballet Shoes and one of the best-loved children’s writers of the 20th century. In Tea by the Nursery Fire, Noel tells Emily’s story, carefully pieced together from fact and family hearsay. With Noel’s characteristic warmth and intimacy, the reader is transported to Victorian and Edwardian life above and below stairs, and meets the extraordinary woman who raised many children with as much love and tenderness as though they were her own.

Daily Mail, ‘Streatfeild’s narrative skills have woven a delightfully warm and nostalgic story of a life as rigidly hierarchal below as above stairs’

Tea by the Nursery Fire is now available in paperback.

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