New Proofs

Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth

August 7, 2019

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 sending missives that show what it meant to be 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 jostling against the limitations of her era, about the terrible things that came 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


Published 20th February 2020 | Hardback | 9780008334598 | RRP £12.99

If you’re a bookseller in the UK or Ireland and you’d like an advance reading copy of Adults, please send your request, along with your name and bookshop address, to Ammara at independentthinking@harpercollins.co.uk.


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