How’s this for a bookie’s dream come true? Heading to work on the subway this morning, I got a seat and pulled out my London Review of Books to read. In my usual LRB fashion I first took in the personals, because they’re so eccentric ("Man seeking woman to read The Hobbit with…."), next I read the London Review Bookshop ad, always a two-page spread highlighting books for sale relating to a particular theme (this time fashion and dressing up), plus "some other recommended titles." Among the other titles was Elsie & Mairi Go to War: Two Extraordinary Women on the Western Front, by Diane Atkinson.
"Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm met in 1912 at a Bournemouth motorcycle club. When war broke out, they immediately volunteered for service on the Western Front….The Great War gave these two young women the chance to have ‘the time of their lives,’ allowing them a degree of fame, independence and responsibility that would have been inconceivable in peacetime."
I thought how much I would love to read that book — last night I finished the first ever English translation of Agnes Humbert’s deeply shattering yet inspiring World War II memoir, Resistance, now in paperback, (click here for LJ’s book review, here for review of the audio book), and wanted to read another book about women putting their lives on the line in war. I was in that state when I needed my next book fast, to keep my reading spirits up. Too bad Elsie and Mairi could only be summoned from across the ocean.
I arrived at work and went to my cubicle, stepped over my crates, shelves, and boxes of galleys, and saw a messengered book envelope on my chair, from Pegasus books. I opened it and there were two galley copies of Elsie & Mairi Go to War, to be published by Pegasus in the states on June 15th!
I’m in clover! Elsie, Mairi, and Margaret will Go to
War Work on the subway together tomorrow!