Saturday, January 8, 2011


I had read about this book on Jenclair's blog but I was more familiar with   E.M. Delderfield's book, God is an Englishman.  Both Jenclair and my friend Leslie's dad cited this book as their favorite Delderfield book so this jumped into my reading queue.

To Serve Them All My Days takes place just after World War I. This is the book I was reading while traveling through Belgium last summer and seeing the names of villages mentioned in the book added to my reading experience.

Welshman David Powlett-Jones is just returning from the war, shell-shocked and without any confidence. His neurologist recommends a small community in the fresh upland air for healing.  Specifically, a small boys school, Bamfylde, in the English countryside.

Read the following passage as Powlett-Jones sits outside the village train station waiting to be picked-up by the porter for his interview with the headmaster, "Here you could almost reach out and touch the quiet.  It was a living thing that seemed to catch its breath up there in the hanging woods and then, at a wordless command, slip down the long hillside and gust over the rails to lose itself in the wood opposite.  Its touch was gentle and healing, passing over his scar tissue like the fingers of a woman. "

Powlett-Jones rebuilds his life in this tiny, caring community of young boys and teachers.  Delderfield quickly brings you into Bamfylde School with his diverse characters, action, and a bit of heartbreak.  In fact, it is the first time I can remember crying over a fictional work.  To Serve Them All My Days was my favorite fictional book for 2010.


  1. Sounds fascinating -- can't wait to read it! (Just checked; the library has four of his books, but not this one...of course.)

  2. I haven't read the book but I did watch the TV series some years ago. I really enjoyed it.

  3. I'm so glad you liked it! I've only read two of his books (God Is An Englishman was the other), but this one went onto my all time favorites list.

  4. Jennifer: You may, of course, borrow my copy.

    Jordiegirl: I recently ordered the series from Netflix and I, too, enjoyed it. I think it's about time for an updated version from the BBC, don't you agree?

    Jenclair: So glad I found your review of the book.