July 2013 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.
Combining a thrilling first-person account of life during the Second World War and an intimate family memoir, this is an original and highly effecting read. In The Girl From Station X, Segrave opens the pages of her mother's diaries to us and recreates her extraordinary life as a debutante turned code breaker both before and after the war.
'A typical day on the 4 to 12 shift, as I am at present, so that the sheer agony of it may be placed on record for me to look back on, perhaps one day in the far distant future when this period may be seen like a nightmare and be mercifully semi-observed in oblivion so that I shall remember only the glory of my position as the first and only woman on the watch and holding the most responsible position of any woman in the Hut.' October 12th 1942. When Elisa Segrave uncovered a cache of wartime diaries written by her mother, she had no idea that she would be brought face to face with a character utterly different from the troubled woman who had become so reliant on her. Now, on the pages before her, Segrave encountered Anne Hamilton-Grace, a young woman who had grown up in immense privilege and luxury but who leapt at the first opportunity to join the war effort. Through determination she excelled in the world of secret intelligence. Leaving the world of finishing school and hunt balls behind her, Anne's journey took her to Hut 3 at Bletchley Park, to Bomber Command in Grantham and, finally, to a newly liberated Germany. In The Girl From Station X, Segrave opens the pages of her mother's diaries to us and recreates her life both before and after the war. At once a vivid recreation of a dramatic era and a powerful portrait of a mother-daughter relationship, this is an original and affecting work about what it means to come to know someone through their writing; about how Anne unwittingly found a way to link her life with her daughter's decades after they had given up trying to communicate.
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
'This combines intimate family memoir with extensive material about the code-breaking work at Bletchley Park, at which her mother excelled.'
'This compelling memoir offers a fascinating window onto the intense, sexually liberated world of wartime London and postwar ruined Germany. It is also an impressively honest, bruised account of a woman who finds herself face to face with a dead mother she realises she has never seen clearly before.'
Lara Feigel, author of The Love-Charm of Bombs
Publication date: 06/03/2014
Publisher: Union Books
|Publication date:||6th March 2014|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, Reader Reviewed Books, History, Reading Groups,|
|Categories:||Biography: historical, political & military,|
Elisa Segrave is the author of The Diary of a Breast, about her battle with cancer, and the novel Ten Men (both published by Faber.) She writes for many newspapers and magazines, including the London Review of Books, the Guardian, the Independent and The Lady. Below is a Q&A with this author. 1. How did you first come across your mother’s diaries? In autumn 1997, my mother’s large house in Sussex was put up for sale. She had had Alzheimer’s already for five years; she was almost helpless, and for a year ...More About Elisa Segrave