Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Theoretically, it was one of the happiest days of my life."

I fell in literary love with Helene Hanff a month ago when I finally read 84, Charing Cross Road. That book was a series of letters over twenty years between Helene and Frank Doer and his family, co-workers and even neighbors. In 1971, Helene finally made her dream trip to London -- after the success of Charing Cross. This book, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, is her trip journal from that trip. She spends time with Frank's widow and daughter and various people that contacted her after the release of her book. She is shuttled around like royalty, hence her self-assigned title of "The Duchess".

This book has all of the spunk and wit that we discovered in the first book but also with an amazing sense of fulfillment and wonder as Helene finally gets to discover the England of her books and dreams. It had definitely rekindled all of the desires that I have to go to London. This is another short book so sit down on a rainy (or snowy) evening and enjoy a trip back to 1971 London with a semi-neurotic, self-made woman who definitely marches to the beat of her own drummer.

Dreaming of Towers and Parks,

Buy The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street on Amazon or find it at your local library.


  1. I may be the only person in the book blogging universe who hasn't read 84, Charing Cross Road. After reading your review I'm putting it high on my list along with The Duchess of Bloomsbury.

  2. I have also read Q's Legacy (about books and authors), Letter From New York (about her writing and broadcasts), and Apple of My Eye (about New York City) by Helene Hanff. All of which I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. I'm so glad you reviewed 84 Charing Cross Road.
    I do get tired of seeing only newer books blogged about. I love reading oldies but goodies too. Thanks for the good memories.

  3. I would definitely read more by Helene Hanff. Her style (which is just her personality) is so different from everything else I read that it's quite refreshing!

    I love older books and hope to keep discovering the gems like these ones.