Better times will come again - a fascinating insight into how ordinary people cope in extraordinary circumstances.
At the outbreak of the Second World War Constance Miles was living with her husband in the pretty Surrey village of Shere. A prolific correspondent with a keen interest in current affairs, Constance kept a war journal from 1939 to 1943, recording in vivid detail what life was like for women on the Home Front.
She writes of the impact of evacuees, of food shortages and the creative uses of what food there was, and the fears of the local populace, who wonder how they will cope. She tells of refugees from central Europe billeted in village houses and, later in the war, of the influx of American servicemen. She travels frequently to London, mourning the destruction of familiar landmarks and recording the devastation of the Blitz, but still finds time for tea in the Strand.
In a time when people were asked to put national interests above their own personal comfort and liberty, a time when they, too, were reassured that they’d meet loved ones again, Mrs Miles’s diaries makes for compulsive reading.
Constance Miles was the eldest daughter of Sir William Robertson Nicoll, founder of The Bookman and The British Weekly, a nonconformist newspaper. From Scottish roots, she grew up in London, where J. M. Barrie was among her family friends. Married to Major Elystan Miles, she had two sons, Harry and Basil. She lived in Shere, near Guildford, Surrey, where she wrote her war journals. Constance Miles died in 1962.