9780956074003Stranger in the House

Women’s stories of men returning
from the Second World War

By Julie Summers

Read by Lesley Manville
Abridged by Neville Teller

With contributions from the author, Mollie Lodder, Amy Clifford,
Carol Cooper and Stephanie Hess

Producers: Nicola Barranger & Sheila Fox

Stranger in the House by Julie Summers – Mollie Lodder remembers

A Daily Telegraph audiobook
of the year 2009

A moving and honest look at how war altered ordinary women’s lives forever.  During the course of 1945 and 1946, more than four million servicemen returned home after the most destructive war in history.  Much has been written and spoken about men’s experiences of the war but, uniquely, Stranger in the House focuses on the women’s side of the story which has been largely ignored in the intervening years.  Their stories – human, poignant and often humorous – are testaments to a quiet, everyday courage which has been little recognised.

Stranger in the House took Julie Summers on a remarkable personal journey.  During the three years spent researching the book, she travelled all round Britain and across the world meeting the feisty and courageous women who had rarely, if ever before, spoken about ‘their war’.  She found out how they coped when the door of the family home closed for the first time behind their ‘returning hero’.  This recording comprises readings from Stranger in the House and interviews with four of the women interviewed for the book.

Mollie Lodder married before the war and had two little girls.  Her husband was killed in 1944 and she spent the war years with her mother and daughters waiting for news about her father who was a Japanese prisoner of war.  He finally returned in September 1945.

Amy Clifford was married in 1941 and had two children during the war.  When her husband William came back in 1945 he had, in her words, lost all his nice ways with her.  She soon knocked sense back into him with a swift crack over the head with her frying pan and they were married for over fifty years.

Carol Cooper was two when her father left for war.  He never returned and for most of her life she knew little about him.  However, a chance discovery in 1994 of his wartime diary led her on a mission to get to know her father for the first time in her life.

Stephanie Hess had no direct experience of the Second World War, but her grandfather did.  When she and her family went to live with Gran’pa in Ireland in the 1970s he told her all about his wartime experiences and the adjustments needed afterwards.  ‘Gran’pa’s tales telescoped the years, making the events of his prime seem alive to us in a way no book possibly could.  And his stories live on to the next generation.’

julie-summersJulie Summers is a writer, historian and broadcaster with a particular interest in the Second World War.  Previous books include Fearless on Everest: The Quest for Sandy IrvineThe Colonel of Tamarkan: Philip Toosey and the Bridge on the River Kwai and Remembered:A History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.  Her compassionate look at a little acknowledged part of recent history is brought to life on this recording.

leslie-manvilleLesley Manville has performed widely on stage, in film and on television. Film includes Vera DrakeAll or Nothing (Critics’ Circle Best Actress Award), Topsy TurvySecrets & Lies. Television work includes CranfordNorth & South, and Top Girls.


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