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The War-Workers

E. M. Delafield

Book Overview: 

During the first world war, in the Midlands, there was a place where soldiers received sandwiches and a bit of comfort. It is run by Miss Vivian, an upper class woman who is controlling and manipulative. Her dedication to her work hides her selfishness and ability to emotionally blackmail her so-called workers. She is admired by everyone for that same dedication, until Grace Jones comes to the scene and sees through her. Would someone be able to help Miss Vivian see her error and change before it is too late? This book is a war novel. Yet it is also a story which tests the narrow line between friendship and admiration and complete blindness to what your loved ones do. It is also the story of a work place which would appeal to everyone who ever had to work where there are intrigues. Yet it is also a story about family, and about the things one will or won't do for the people who truly care about us.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .They were guiltless of sustaining qualities. It was not yet seven, and she never ordered the car until nine o'clock or later.

Her eyes dropped to the diminished, but still formidable, pile of papers on the table. She was excessively tired, and she knew that the papers before her could be dealt with in the morning.

But it was characteristic of Char Vivian that she did not make up her mind then and there to order the car round and arrive at Plessing in time for eight o'clock dinner and early bed, much as she needed both. To do so would have jarred with her own and her staff's conception of her self-sacrificing, untiring energy, her devotion to an immense and indispensable task, just as surely as would a trivial, easy interruption to the day's work in the shape of John Trevellyan and his new car, or an hour consecrated to fresh air and luncheon. Necessity compelled Char to work twelve hours a day some two evenings a week, in order that the amount undertaken. . . Read More

Community Reviews

The War-Workers is an early novel from E M Delafield, published about twelve years before her most famous work The Diary of a Provincial Lady (which I re-read recently). This is one of the titles on the list of books for the LibraryThing Great war theme read – it was actually one of the books for Ma

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More a character study than a novel, this second work of E M Delafield's nevertheless keeps the reader's interest.

Written in 1917 about a group of women undertaking administrative war work under the leadership of Charmian Vincent, the only child of the local landed gentry in a provincial town, the

I like E.M. Delafield. She wrote all the "Provincial Lady" books, which were largely auto-biographical accounts of her life as a wife and mother in a provincial village. I heard about this book, but couldn't find it at the library or in any used book store. I ended up buying a copy on ebay from Germ

Thought I would be in the trenches of the First World War, but this was surprisingly another type of ‘War’ far removed from the battle zone. It was the life of the war workers, a group of young ladies, who live in a Hostel.
These young ladies ran supply depots, met hundreds of soldiers on troop trai

When I first started reading this I thought I was in for a boring character study, but I was very wrong. This story picks-up really quickly, even though it doesn't really go anywhere. You are given a glimpse into the lives of a group of people for a series of time, leaving them after some events unf

I purchased a collection of E.M. Delafield's novel on my Kindle rather a long time ago, and found that I still had three novels outstanding. I chose to read The War-Workers first merely because it was the first title I had not read in the collection. What I found was a surprisingly complex and rathe

Perhaps a surprise that this is not better known. It is something of a rarity, a book set in the WW1, written in 1917 and focusing on women's war work. I suppose that it is more of a study in character and, as one of Delafield's earlier novels, lacks the sparkle and wot of her later work, it lacks t

Wonderful book about the WW1 workers. Realistic, and full of recognizable types of people, some who I have worked with and one who was my boss.

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