A short novel set over a summer s day in England in 1946 It revolves around a family, along with the many people they come across on this admittedly very busy day The book cleverly shows the many layers of society in post war England, their expectations for the future and the changes that have occurred since the war ended This is a country experiencing rationing, the decline of the privately owned stately home, the reduction of people in service and the continued exodus from the countryside to towns and cities The title had me thinking from the very beginning It is a hot summer s day, typical of the popular idea of the literary rural idyll, as well as portraying the yearning for a return to normality after the war years This was not to be for quite some time of course, and Mollie Panter Downes seems quite aware that this will be so Indeed, the ending of this lovely day introduces an unexpected change to the way the plot has been progressing, unnerving the reader and reminding us that the future is not easily predicted.Although it is a short book I found it helped to read it at a slower pace than I would normally have done, allowing the walks and cycle rides to stretch out the novel in imitation of the slower pace of life that the characters lead A fine story about life just after the war in a country that didn t quite know what to expect next. In this beautiful and lyrically told novel Mollie Panter Downes chronicles a day in the life of the Marshall family, a middle class family living in post World War II England.While Britain has come out of the war victorious, life has not returned to what it once was and for most, it never will.The change the Marshall family feels most keenly is domestic They have been left to manage a house and garden without the servants that they once had And it suddenly struck him as preposterous how dependent he and his class had been on the anonymous caps and aprons who lived out of sight and worked the strings All his life he had expected to find doors opened if he rang, to wake up to the soft rattle of curtain rings being drawn back, to find the fires bright and the coffee smoking hot every morning as though household spirits had been working while he slept And now the strings had been dropped, they all lay helpless as abandoned marionettes with nobody to twitch them The gardener who kept Stephen s garden growing and vital was killed in Holland The maid, nanny and cook left to help with the war effort and won t be returning Finding new help is all but impossible as the younger generation looks to expanding possibilities that have opened up beyond their country villages.Flighty Laura is left to keep the once beautiful, now crumbling, house together and keep dinner from boiling over, burning or being eaten by the cat Stephen is left with only the occasional help of a slow, plodding, half deaf old man in the garden Their daughter, Victoria, does not remember much about life before the war and does not understand her parent s present concerns and stresses.Mollie Panter Downes created a very powerful, character driven novel illustrating how life has been irrevocably changed on all levels of society following the war Through following the seemingly mundane day in the life of one family on a hot summer day we see an entire nation coming to grips with a new way of life and a new social order.While there is a strong sense of what has been lost throughout the novel, there is also a sense of hope and optimism But never, even then, had Laura felt quite this rush of overwhelming thankfulness, so that the land swam and misted and danced before her She had had to lose a dog and climb a hill, a year later, to realize what it would have meant if England had lost We are at peace, we still stand, we will stand when you are dust, sang the humming land in the summer evening Originally published in 1947 this novel examines the war and it s impact on those left to pick up the pieces of a post war life. Popular EPub, One Fine Day By Mollie Panter Downes This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book One Fine Day , Essay By Mollie Panter Downes Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You For my full review a beautiful novel this was a peculiar dreamy quality made it feel like of an impression than a story, as though Panter Downes was conveying the experience of post war life rather than anything specific to the particular characters she draws out so effortlessly We follow Laura Marshall as she goes about her day, safe and secure after the conflict but discovering herself to be living a life entirely different to the one that she had before The sun is bright, the air shimmering with heat, the tarmac soft on the road and the crops ripe for harvesting in the fields all that they have fought for all of these years has been returned to them Panter Downes paints England at its most idyllic there are no clouds in the sky, the storm clouds are all internal as the Marshalls contemplate what has changed and who they will be in this new landscape.One Fine Day manages to maintain a placid tone despite simultaneously dealing with the trauma of war The Marshalls are back together in their big country house with husband Stephen recently returned from the war He is startled to find his daughter Victoria a grown up girl of ten and still discomforted to find his wife in charge of the cooking and cleaning with all the servants gone Stephen looks back with longing to a time when the garden was not a jungle, when he could look out on it with pride and comment casually to visitors that his man was good on roses , but the gardener was killed in France He thinks of the food that their old cook used to serve and remembers guiltily that she died in an air raid Life pre war was simpler, tidier Victoria came to them spick and span in Nanny s charge while now they must look to their child themselves The anonymous caps and aprons who lived out of sight and pulled the strings are gone either killed in the conflict or moved on to work in factories and the workings of the home are exposed.The feeling of One Fine Day is of a nation who are exhausted, mentally and emotionally Stephen is tired, coming home from work and then having to spend his evenings trying to get some kind of order back in the garden, his daughter barely remembers him and his wife has suddenly become middle aged Laura is uncertain in her resumed role as wife, concerned by the prospect of disappointing her husband, her daughter, dreading her mother s judgment Mrs Heriot laments that after the trouble she took in bringing Laura up that her daughter should find herself doing housework is a tragedy, wishing that she had married the other man, who still manages to keep his servants Both Stephen and Mrs Herriot are intensely nostalgic, they have expectations for Victoria s up bringing, that she should have the Heriot trimmings , learn the piano, have accomplishments, but Laura is quietly becoming aware that the era of being decorative is over and that it is perfectly clear that Victoria would have to work seriously for her living.Reading this as a twenty first century woman gave me real pause Mollie Panter Downes is capturing a moment of real social change What is the use of having the agile foot and nimble finger that Mrs Herriot so prized How many of us have held on to these skills in this day and age Laura marvels at the child conceived out of a wedlock by a village girl by a Polish officer, thinking it a strange thing that this working class child should have such exotic genetic heritage after generations and generation of his family have lived in the village Moments later, the boy s uncle declines Mrs Marshall s kind offer to come and work in her garden since he will be leaving to get a job elsewhere soon travel during the services has opened his eyes to the world beyond the village Laura knows, as Stephen is unable yet to accept, that the caps and aprons will not be coming back, no matter how many notices he has her put in the paper.I was reminded of Gone with the Wind in an odd way, of how helpless Ashley Wilkes and his peers were once transplanted to a world without slaves to manage their lives the oppression on which the system was based is different but the strange way in which the overlords have relied on others is the same The irritation that Mrs Herriot feels that the working class no longer wish to work in service is mirrored by the kindly contempt felt by the working class Mrs Prout, who does still come in to the Marshalls to clean for a few mornings a week and who watches bemused as poor Mrs Marshall lets the milk boil over while tending to a bird that has fallen out of its nest, or her inability to stop the dog from running off But by contrast, Laura is beginning to acknowledge that perhaps, after all they have been through, keeping up appearances is not as vital as they had all believed She considers how little she minded the gentle chaos of repeated house guests during the war, when they were a cluster of women with husbands far away, all making do and helping each other.As Laura travels round the countryside, trying to track down her errant dog, she witnesses a series of events caused by war She meets a war widow who is making a remarriage to a man who is not in any way the equal to her first husband The jagged shock as the woman looks back at Laura and dares her to comment is fiercely felt there is nothing to be said She visits the home of the local squire, about to be sold to the nation, while the local rascal makes a profit in the soaring building trade, the accepted social order tipped on its head Laura travels up the hill and remembers coming here on a picnic with a pregnant friend, whose husband was killed without ever meeting their child The emotional moment as Laura rejoices that she is free, after five years of terror, that she still has the things that matter most it is a beautiful moment of patriotic delight and relief, something that I feel could only have been captured so perfectly by a survivor The world had changed, the culture of deference was gone, but how can one do anything other than be recklessly glad to have come out on the other side One Fine Day is a powerful piece of work, managing despite its short length to catch the reader off guard Panter Downes seems to have caught that particular moment in amber, as the world tried to decide how to move forward, what to do better and what to give up entirely I was reminded of the film A Diary for Timothy which I studied at university, which is an account of the first six months in the life of a baby during 1945, but what I remember most is the way that the narrator, with words scripted by E.M Forster seems to reflect on the world which is on offer to this child and how we can make it better There are obvious parallels to be made between Laura Marshall and other parallel 1940s literary ladies, perhaps the one who springs most immediately to mind is Diary of a Provincial Lady but there is less slapstick and naturalism to Laura We sense her spirit, how her quiet demeanour masks determination just as she decided against the suitor approved by her mother, she is deciding how she will lead her life One Fine Day is a keenly observant novel, tracking not just the Marshall family but also the village and by extension England as a whole as the nation rebuilds and recovers from harrowing warfare Despite the darkness that it recalls, this is a warm and uplifting book which champions survival and fresh beginnings and makes one feel a sense of pride in those generations who truly lived this experience. Perfect read RTF At the time Panter Downes was writing this novel, thousands of families were adapting themselves to the changes that came with the end of the war One Fine Day goes right to the heart of those difficulties Mollie Panter Downes doesn t limit her story to a plot driven domestic drama, although a small middle class family are the focus She is a superb observer of people and communities, and demonstrates an astute understanding for the challenges for people coming out of a long, uncertain conflict.Laura and Stephen Marshall and their ten year old daughter Victoria must learn how to live with each other again in this new world A world inhabited by widows, where food is as strictly rationed as ever, and domestic help is hard to come by The Marshalls garden is badly overgrown, attended to by a man too old for the work Laura is helped in the house by her daily Mrs Prout a local woman who jibs at calling her employer Madam Laura is vague, distracted a slightly bohemian character, she isn t as distressed by the domestic disharmony as her puzzled husband who views the evidence of these straitened times at home with some dismay.https heavenali.wordpress.com 2016 A fascinating look at the after effects of WWII on every day life in a small English village, possibly the first time I ve read something about that war that has managed to make me understand the truth of what happened to English society after the jubilant celebrations of peacetime the sheer volume of loss in terms of bodies, the empty spaces and haunting memories everywhere you turn, the impact this had on the economy, the jobs that just went undone, another reason why rationing lasted SO long despite spending an entire term discussing it in year 7 history classes And that alone makes this a worthwhile experience, in spite of the insecure narrator who spends half her life questioning her every action and imagining that everybody is so much better at everything or happier than her, which is quite exhausting to be around for any length of time. Beautifully written.Set in a hot day in July 1946.The war has ended and life will never be the same again for the middle classes.Mollie has an eye for character.This is such a wonderful book which I devoured in a day.It has a beautiful cover on the original Virago edition which I recently bought in a charity shop. Splendid Compact and precisely delineated The pages echo with sadness and loss, with hesitation, with that disoriented post war moment where a whole social structure felt itself tremble and tumble and turn The prose is beautiful too not flashy, just calmly crafted and sighing melodically in that particularly southern English way As I grew up in that landscape of hedgerows and fields and low hills, of old thatched cottages and lost lanes of Queen Anne s lace , it successfully summoned up in me a nostalgia for all that particular Englishness The melancholy she explores, at its strongest in the post war decade, still lingered in those communities even by the time I came along, so my response to this work is conceivably at least partly shaped by that Regardless, a lovely piece of work deserving of a much wider readership. Clearly the strongest I ve read from Virago thus far Reminds me of Mrs Dalloway in that day of life manner Please, I am wishing you one fine day.
Mary Patricia Mollie Panter Downes was a novelist and newspaper columnist for The New Yorker Aged sixteen, she wrote The Shoreless Sea which became a bestseller eight editions were published in 1923 and 1924, and the book was serialised in The Daily Mirror Her second novel The Chase was published in 1925.After her marriage to Aubrey Robinson in 1927, the couple moved to Surrey, and in 1938
- 179 pages
- One Fine Day
- Mollie Panter-Downes
- 07 March 2019 Mollie Panter-Downes