Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan…

Miss Ranskill Comes Home (original 1946; edition 2003)

by Barbara Euphan Todd (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1829123,516 (4.23)42
Tells the tale of a woman who goes on a cruise and is swept overboard. She lives for three years on a desert island before being rescued by a destroyer in 1943. When she returns to England it seems to her to have gone mad: she cannot buy clothes without 'coupons', and she is considered uncivilised if she walks barefoot or is late for meals.… (more)
Title:Miss Ranskill Comes Home
Authors:Barbara Euphan Todd (Author)
Info:Persephone Books Ltd (2003), 328 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd (1946)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 42 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This was a great book. The story is a bit of Robinson Crusoe and Alice and Wonderland. For image being on a desert island for four years and then get home in the middle of World War II. Now that a trip.

This book covers a lot of issue that author wanted to address. From social class, to things she felt were silly or self-aggrandizing of people.

The story starts out with Miss Ranskill bury Carpenter. So lucky enough she had a companion on the island with her. But she keeps her station and his station a clear line, that was the reason of calling him Carpenter and not by his real name. After his death she feels remorse for keeping him at arm’s length. For she knows that she loved him, but just could get beyond the social stats theat is draw between people. Even though Carpenter would have welcomed her in his home, she knew that for her to invite him would be uncomfortable for her sister and others. We see this more in the book, with Rex and Lucy. Rex is in love with Lucy and he going to marry her. He knows he can’t tell his mom, because even though is a nice kind girl she is not the right sort for him. You see this theme without the book. Which under the situation of England at this time seems kind of crazy. Everyone seems to make the same sacrifices and have the same shortage, but you still can’t share a meal because of class. Miss Ranskill gets very frustrated by this and wants to do what, she sees is right. Which she final does get to do.

One criticism that I have of the book, is that I think she was a bit hard on the women groups that were trying to help in the war effort. You see this slowly start out with Rex in why he loved Lucy and his thoughts of his mom “playing soldier”. He loves Lucy because she is ordinary. I can understand this from his point of view. The stress that he and other solider was under, was a lot; and you just want to come home and shut it all out. The problem is that you can’t shut it out. With a war, ordinary life is out the window. That ordinary life will be redefined after the war. You can’t expect people just sit at home and wait for you and pretend nothing is happening. So maybe some of the women were playing solider, but what are you going to do. Husband, sons are off fighting. The men, women, and daughters working long hours to fill the gap in jobs. To come home to a house that you can open window at night, a tasteless meal, and in some case a cold bed. So can I begrudge a woman who felt a little too much about what she felt was her duty. The only thing in war that is guarantee is death and a change in how life is lived. So I just can't hate the other women in the book. Could have they been better then they were? Sure, but that just might be asking to much when you just lost your house to a bomb.

There is a lot going on this book and it was a wonderful read. If you haven’t read it, you should. A lot goes on and much could be said. I will say for myself that I don’t know a lot about what England went through during the war. For in American a lot of things were similar, but we didn’t have the war on our shore like England or any other country in Europe or Asia. So my responses are by the impress that I get from the author. So I could be wrong about her outlook, for I didn’t live in the times.
( )
  lemonpop | Nov 22, 2017 |
"It was strange that values should make such a flashing change. ...There was not one truth but many. Was it possible for anyone to be innocent of the death of one just man?"

I was expecting something a little more farcical a la Three Men in a Boat but this isn't that. It's funny in parts but in an ironical fashion. The tone is more of grief, deprivation, and isolation; the sadness of loss and the liberation of loss. All told with that stiff-upper-lip Britishness that does not allow the story to lapse into maudlin dejection. There are no winners here, but that's real life. Miss Ranskill adapts as well as one might expect and that's not much, but it is enough to restore her to war-time usefulness . On her desert island she was expanded and worthy and capable in meaningful ways. In contrast, back "home", she is stranded in a society that has become small and stifling to her. This is an intimate character study, more than anything, with interesting historical artifacts of racism and anti-semitism, and some pertinent thoughts on the nature of killing in wartime. ( )
1 vote libbromus | Dec 16, 2015 |
This is one of those wonderful old books that I love. It was quite different than I expected, but much better and deeper. Wonderful insight into World War II England and the people and how they responded to privation. Very touching story of Miss Ranskill learning to cope with her new world (life after desert island) and past grief (loss of the Carpenter). ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
Miss Nona Ranskill went on a cruise in 1939 and tried to rescue her hat. She washed up on a desert island and found another survivor there, called the Carpenter. They lived on the island for four years, then he died. She rowed home in a boat they'd made together, and got picked up by a convoy of destroyers - and she discovered that England is at war and it's 1943. Miss Ranskill is clueless about what's happened to her country, and her homecoming is nothing like what she expected.

She goes to stay with an old school friend, Marjorie, who represents the worst aspects of British busy-bodiness, gung-ho patriotism and snobbishness, then moves on to find her sister, who's had to leave their house because it's in a sensitive area for the war. Eventually she tracks down the Carpenter's wife and son.

Some of the writing is beautiful, and if you like satire, books about World War 2 and what it was like in England this is well worth reading. It paints a much nastier picture than Mrs Miniver or the Diary of a Provincial Lady - lots of pointless one-upmanship and dobbing others in for breaches of rules. But - and for me it was a big but - I found the plot really contrived. (And yes I know it was satirical!) The book would have been much better if some of the more far-fetched bits had been reworked. If you came off a navy ship after 4 years of being shipwrecked, wouldn't you think that maybe you should report yourself to the police so that they could get on with sorting out your status, not do a runner from the Naval Officer who'd been looking after you for the last few weeks on board the destroyer? And then when you did track down your school friend, who'd remained an overbearing cow, wouldn't you manage to get her shut up long enough to tell her you had just been shipwrecked on a desert island for 4 years and just got back to England 7 hours ago? I really wanted to scream at her a few times. ( )
1 vote cushlareads | Jul 11, 2011 |
When middle-aged spinster Nona Ranskill fell overboard chasing an escaping hat on a cruise ship early in 1939, she didn't expect to spend four years stranded on a desert island - or to return, a changed woman, to an England itself changed beyond recognition by rationing, the blitz, and the immense practical and psychological upheaval of war.

Miss Ranskill Comes Home is a novel dominated by its characters. The character development of Miss Ranskill herself is remarkable, as are the detailed character sketches of her relatives and former friends. Some characters verge on caricature, and are clearly intended as parody; however, they have a depth and roundedness which makes them satisfying characters despite this.

The characters dominate - but to a purpose. There is some very powerful social satire, as Miss Ranskill finds herself unable to share the class (and other) prejudices of her sister and former school-friend, prejudices that she herself had held before her period on the island.

The disconnection Miss Ranskill feels with the other characters' lives and ways of thinking, the alien world in which she finds herself, the way she gradually adjusts to her new world, the responsibilities and bonds she now feels, the relationship she had with the Carpenter - the man with whom she shared the island - these are shown perfectly. The last is all the more remarkable given that the book opens with the Carpenter's death.

The prose is beautiful, and contains some very poetic passages. There is also some wonderful humour, which is balanced by some very poignant and profound passages. Through Miss Ranskill, Barbara Todd comments on the massive changes that take place not only when the war comes, but also when a war is over: Miss Ranskill experienced this after the First World War, and reflects on what it will mean not only for those who have fought in the war, but also those whose childhoods have been dominated by war and marked by the absence, temporary or permanent, of their fathers and other male role models.

Add to all this a great delicacy and poise in timing, delivery, plot and pacing, and the result is a book which is a delight to read. ( )
4 vote catherinestead | Nov 6, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
A story of the war years in England with a different slant, this is a warm-hearted little book. Nona has courage, but four years shipwrecked on an island have left her out of touch with the world. She finds modern life difficult but you're bound to admire the way she faces her problem. She's so sympathetically drawn you'll feel you've known her a long time.
added by KMRoy | editWings - The Literary Guild Review (Sep 1, 1946)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Todd, Barbara Euphanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pollard, WendyAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Publisher Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Miss Ranskill sat back on her heels; even that movement was an agony, driving the sand into her sweat-softened skin, but it was the torment of her hands that had forced her to stop digging.
I shall buy a dictionary first of all. No, a knife first. Then a dictionary. It's funny, I always used to read the lists of books that people made out for imaginary islands, but nobody ever put down a dictionary.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Tells the tale of a woman who goes on a cruise and is swept overboard. She lives for three years on a desert island before being rescued by a destroyer in 1943. When she returns to England it seems to her to have gone mad: she cannot buy clothes without 'coupons', and she is considered uncivilised if she walks barefoot or is late for meals.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
"I wondered if it would be possible to buy some underclothes and put them on, and then choose a frock and some stockings?"
"There may be a few cotton pairs left."
"I only want one pair."
"No real silk, of course, and certainly no lisle."
Miss Ranskill had heard the same tone of voice in her nursery days - "Not jam AND cake, Miss Nona; the very idea!" As she had done then, so she argued now.
"Why not?"
"Well, there's a war on."
"A what?"
"A war, Madam. Naturally it is difficult to get exceptional articles."
"I'm sorry. I forgot."
This time raised eyebrows and tightened lips conveyed more sorrow than anger, but more contempt than both.
"You see, I haven't read a newspaper for over three years."
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (4.23)
2 1
2.5 1
3 3
3.5 2
4 18
4.5 7
5 15

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 170,055,569 books! | Top bar: Always visible