Rescued from oblivion by an impulse eBay purchase, the letters of Eileen Alexander are one of the great literary discoveries of the 21st century: an extraordinary woman writing to show what it meant to be a woman, and in love, during the Second World War.
In summer 1939, Eileen was an exceptionally bright young graduate leaving Cambridge with a First. She was tentatively in love, and war was brewing. She would spend the next years of her life in London, writing the most intimate, brilliant love letters of the Second World War. Eileen’s letters to Gershon Ellenbogen tell an incredible story. Her writing gives dazzling displays of intelligence and devotion, by turn generous, erudite, angry, scurrilous, and very, very funny. Eileen can find a biting or ironic quotation for every eventuality. She can skewer a pompous colleague in two lines of airmail. She writes frankly about sex, about ambition as an intelligent woman, about the terrible things that happened to her fiercest friends, and about the painful uncertainty of loving a man away at war. Told by an unknown master letter writer of the twentieth century, this is a unique story of war as it was lived by women – and an unforgettable account of ardent, real love as it unfolds.