My dad used to give me wonderful books for Christmas, and all these years since he's been gone, I have another Christmas book giver of the highest caliber, #1 Son. The book he gave me this year is a complete and total jewel of writing, Good Evening, Mrs. Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes. It's one of the titles in the catalog of Persephone Books. Honestly, I think I need to read all their titles; I've loved each one.
Mollie Panter-Downes published her first novel (a bestseller) at age 17. She wrote the London Letters for The New Yorker for fifty years, and during the Second World War, she also contributed a series of short stories about life during the war. (Her peacetime stories form another collection.) Panter-Downes paints perfect little pictures in each short story, bringing to life a specific locale and cast of characters. I wanted more, though each little story was a gem.
Her post WWII novel, One Fine Day, is available from Virago, and is now on my wish list!
The actual books published by Persephone are a delight to the eye and the hand. It was such a pleasure to read on our train trip yesterday.