By Helen Humphreys
Completed May 31, 2011
Sparce but lyrical prose, impressionable characters and vivid imagery – all of these mark the small but powerful book, Coventry by Helen Humphreys. I was captivated with this book from its first word.
Coventry is the story of two middle-aged women, Harriet and Maeve, during the German bombing of Coventry on November 14, 1940. The women had met just once before – very briefly during World War I – and were reunited in their search for Maeve’s son, Jeremy, who was helping the wounded during the bombing. Their friendship continues past World War II – each a reminder of love, hope and loss. Indeed, their friendship is unique but necessary.
Humphreys’ depiction of the bombing – the sheer physical brutality of it – is unmatched by writers who have written about similar subjects. You can feel the heat of the fires, the smell of burning buildings, the feel of someone’s blood on your arm. Humphreys doesn’t write in a gory way, but you still feel the power of what the bombs did to this English town.
I wish I could write this review as beautifully as Helen Humphreys wrote Coventry – to do the book’s language and diction the appropriate justice. I hope this review is enough to convince you to read Coventry just the same. I believe you too can be swept up in the beauty of this little book. ( )