Twenty hours have gone since I last wrote. I have been thinking of you. I shall think of you until I post this, and until you get it. Can you feel, as you read these words, that I am thinking of you now; aglow, alive, alert at the thought that you are in the same world, and by some strange chance loving me. In September 1943, Chris Barker was serving as a signalman in North Africa when he decided to brighten the long days of war by writing to old friends. One of these was Bessie Moore, a former work colleague. The unexpected warmth of Bessie's reply changed their lives forever. Crossing continents and years, their funny, affectionate and intensely personal letters are a remarkable portrait of a love played out against the backdrop of the Second World War. Above all, their story is a stirring example of the power of letters to transform ordinary lives.
‘Can you feel, as you read these words, that I am thinking of you now; aglow, alive, alert at the thought that you are in the same world, and by some strange chance loving me?’ The power of letters to irrevocably change lives is demonstrated most deeply by the wartime correspondence of Chris Barker and Bessie Moore. Former Post Office colleagues, their relationship began when Chris wrote Bessie a letter whilst on service in North Africa. What began platonically swiftly blossomed into a full-blown love affair, seen in its entirety, as over 500 letters survived. Though they only met twice before the war’s conclusion, they married; the sheer intensity of their mutual passion, set against the volatility of the war, is heady stuff indeed.
'What, one longs to know, is going to happen next to Chris and Bessie? ... The thrillingly intensive experience that they lived through will continue to resonate for as long as those sheets of paper are read' -- DIANA ATHILL Literary Review
'With Chris and Bessie it is the sheer, unclouded openness that captivates' -- John Carey The Sunday Times
Publication date: 05/02/2015
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
|Publication date:||5th February 2015|
|Author:||Chris Barker, Bessie Moore, Simon Garfield|
|Publisher:||Canongate Books Ltd|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, History,|
|Categories:||Second World War, Diaries, letters & journals, European history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,|
Chris Barker joined the Post Office at fourteen, working as a messenger boy and then as a counter clerk, becoming an active trade union member. He served as a signalman in North Africa during the Second World War. Bessie Moore was a colleague of Chris Barker's at the Post Office, before working at the Foreign Office, using her training in Morse code to translate intercepted German radio messages. She was thirty when twenty-nine-year-old Chris first wrote from North Africa. Simon Garfield is the author of fourteen acclaimed books of non-fiction including To the Letter, On the Map, and ...More About Chris Barker, Bessie Moore, Simon Garfield