Ronald Blythe, the author of Akenfield, calls this book ‘astonishing’. Margery Allingham was living quietly in her Essex village, writing a novel a year and coping with the extravagances of an irresponsible household. Then the war came. Suddenly the house was an Air Raid Wardens’ post and a First Aid centre and the childless Margery found herself responsible for 275 East London evacuees in a rural community of little more than 600 people. The Oaken Heart was written in the autumn of 1940, when the Battle of Britain gave way to the London Blitz. Bombs fell, even on the Essex countryside. By the time she had finished, in February 1941, her friends and family had gone away to fight and only her ‘insane optimism’ helped her to believe that they would ever return.
This new edition is published in association with the Margery Allingham Society. It contains previously unpublished diaries and letters, as well as contributions from ‘sweet Auburn’, the village of Tolleshunt D’Arcy.
ISBN 978-1-899262-03-8 paperback 384 pages 75 illustrations £13.99
Simon Shaw calls our new edition 'splendid' (see Allingham journal page)
Jackie Wilkin of the WI Life magazine made The Oaken Heart her 'Book of the Year'
The Oaken Heart is Allingham's only published work of non-fiction and represents an intensely personal and honest attempt to record the extraordinary events through which she and her Tolleshunt D'Arcy neighbours were living. The Oaken Heart was living history when it was written but, now that it is 70 years old, we thought some notes and photographs might help. We're grateful for the tremendous support and assistance received from people in the Tolleshunt D'Arcy area. Read Neil D'Arcy Jones
Grand reviews from (among others) Simon Heffer (Sunday Telegraph) Val Hennessy (Daily Mail) Simon Shaw (Mail on Sunday) Read them via the Allingham journal page