A Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell, a pseudonym for the late author and painter Olivia Faviell Lucas, is her WWII home front historical memoir, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Dean Street Press.
This was originally published in 1959 by Cassell. The reprint contains a new introduction by British author Virginia Nicholson (herself a great-niece of author Virginia Woolf), who remembered this fondly in a letter to The Telegraph. This memoir takes place during the early 1940s London Blitz in the Chelsea area, where the author was a Red Cross volunteer, and covers her experiences living with and giving aid to ordinary people amidst the bombings.
Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.
Free for a limited time, available worldwide @ Amazon
‘Take off your coat,’ said the doctor. I took it off. ‘And your dress,’ he said. ‘It’s too dangerous – the folds may catch in the debris and bring the whole thing down.’ I took off the dress. ‘Fine,’ he said shortly. ‘It’ll have to be head first. We’ll hold your thighs. Go down and see if it’s possible to give an injection. Can you grip the torch with your teeth?’
Frances Faviell lived in Chelsea before and during the London Blitz, having became a Red Cross volunteer when World War II began. Chelsea was particularly heavily bombed and the author was often in the heart of the action, witnessing or involved in fascinating and horrific events through 1940 and 1941. Her memoir evokes an unforgettable cast, Londoners and refugees alike, caught up together in extraordinary and dangerous times – not forgetting the ‘Green Cat’, a Chinese statuette, standing on the author’s window sill as the home’s talismanic protector.
Frances Faviell’s memoir is powerful in its blend of humour, tenderness and horror, including the most haunting ending of any wartime memoir. A Chelsea Concerto is reprinted now for the first time since 1959, with a new introduction by Virginia Nicholson.