Book reviews, Non fiction

Hidden Wyndham by Amy Binns – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The first biography of the life of science fiction author John Wyndham is now available. It includes the first publication of a collection of love letters to his long-term partner and later wife, Grace Wilson.

Hidden Wyndham: Life, Love, Letters, by Dr Amy Binns, author and senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), explores Wyndham’s wealthy but traumatic childhood. This was transformed by a spell at the first mixed-sex public school Bedales from 1915 to 1918, the source of the strange but fervent feminism of Consider Her Ways and Trouble with Lichen.

The biography covers his formative years as a pulp fiction writer, his experiences as a censor during the Blitz and his part in the Normandy landings. He described his struggles with his conscience in a moving series of letters to Grace, the teacher with whom he had a 36 year love affair.

After the war, he transformed the searing experiences of wartime London, France and Germany into a series of bestselling novels: The Day of the Triffids, The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoos and The Kraken Wakes. But he remained intensely private, shunning fame and finally retiring to live anonymously with Grace in the countryside he loved. 

Hidden Wyndham is distributed by Gardners Books and is now available on the Waterstones and Amazon websites, in Kindle and in paperback edition.

 

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MY REVIEW 

This is a biography of John Wyndham, author of The Midwich Cuckoos, The Chrysalids and more famously The Day Of The Triffids.

It tells of his difficult and rather traumatic childhood with a distant mother who he felt didn’t do enough to protect him and his brother, and a controlling father who even forced him to drink a glass of sherry as a child. He had been sent to various schools and found them difficult, it wasn’t until he was sent to the co-Ed school, Bedales that he felt some happiness, as did his brother, Viv.

As he grew he continued to write his stories, determined to make a living as a writer. Struggling until finally finding success but he stayed living in modest rooms and happiest when in the countryside.

He was also sent to France during the war and saw many traumatic things during this horrific conflict. Told using many of Wyndham’s letters to his beloved Grace, during their 36 year love story and is very moving.

A beautifully written insight into the life of the quiet, private man that was John Wyndham and how that life is reflected in his books.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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With a decade of experience in news reporting, Dr Amy Binns is now a writer, researcher and journalism lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire.

Her PhD was on solutions to difficult behaviour on social media and other online communities, and she has contributed to a report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life on the intimidation of parliamentary candidates. She regularly speaks on Radio Five Live on social media issues.

Hidden Wyndham: Life, Love, Letters, is Dr Binns’ second book. She has also written about local history in the book “Valley of a Hundred Chapels”, also available on Amazon. She has also published papers and chapters on interwar feminism and social history. Dr Binns lives in Yorkshire with her husband and two children.

 

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