Eileen Alexander was born in Cairo and grew up in a cosmopolitan Jewish family before moving to Cambridge as a student. She graduated from Girton College with a first-class degree in English in 1939, and worked during the Second World War for the civil service in the Air Ministry. Eileen went on to be a teacher, writer and translator, including translating some of Georges Simenon's works.
'Eileen emerges as a force of nature, and her voice is one of the real joys in these remarkable letters. She was clever and caustic, without being cruel; intellectually brilliant and revelling in that fact... a memoir of hope and resilience, as much as of love' The Times 'A trove of dazzlingly literary love letters. These are as [Oswyn] Murray rightly concludes, 'some of the most beautiful and vivid' love letters of the Second World War' Daily Telegraph 'The great value of Eileen's book is that it takes you out of our present troubles into a world even more dangerous and destructive, which people nevertheless survived' Sunday Times 'This remarkable treasure trove of letters gives a unique insight into home-front life and romance' Mail on Sunday 'A lovely book that's best read slowly to savour the gradual unfurling of a great love in a distressing, destructive time.' S magazine, Sunday Express 'Superbly entertaining ... on almost every page there is a gleaming little starburst of life... the letters trace the years of the war from a woman's perspective, a woman of high intelligence and self-possession withal, who never doubts for one moment that her fiance is after an equal intellectual partner. She is immensely clever and her literary judgements are delicious. Her writing is a diary-like outpouring, a stream of consciousness in which she relives her days in the glorifying imagined gaze of her recipient; it is a mass of apercus, jokes, observations and confessions.' TLS 'If you want to discover how to stay close when you're frightened and cut off from a loved one, Eileen Alexander's passionate, gossipy, vivacious outpourings show the way. Her letters tell a story of survival itself - and give voice to the urgency to connect in love in spite of every obstacle.' Marina Warner