1920s and 30s literature and fiction

Diving into the 1920s and 30s

The interwar years and WWII have always fascinated me. I’ve always loved reading books set in this period, and my first ever “novel” when I was thirteen was a WWII story (I never finished it).

All the same, I’ve remained fascinated and many of my favourite authors wrote during this period. My all time favourite book (other than Harry Potter) was written during this period and I loved researching the period for my BA dissertation.

Now, I’ve flung myself back into that period.

The upcoming Fantastic Beasts film is set in 1926, in the US, and that’s thrown me into the world of the roaring twenties, and I can’t wait to find out more about this period.

The last series of Downton Abbey was set in the 1920s, ending in 1925, and I loved the costumes and was sad to see it end.

I just read a biography of the fascinating Mitford sisters, who span a fascinating period of change in history. I’ve just picked up the memoir by one of the sisters, Jessica, also known as Decca, called Hons and Rebels, and I’m looking forward to reading her perspective.

The film Testament of Youth based on Vera Brittain’s memoir was also utterly captivating and the book is now on my to read list.

I also recently discovered a love and fascination for Virginia Woolf through the BBC Life in Squares, Charleston House, and then her writing diary. I still haven’t tackled her most well known fiction, but am finding a way into her writing and life through journals and biography, something that I find utterly engaging.

I’m looking forward to reading much more and discovering more about this intriguing period over this year.

Do you have any favourite books set in/about this era?

Please let me know in the comments, so I can keep adding to my ever growing reading list!


8 thoughts on “Diving into the 1920s and 30s

  1. philippasomerville says:

    If you like detective fiction, the Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers is wonderful. It is set in 1920s and 1930s England and is about a rich, titled man who solves mysteries for fun. My favorite of the series is Gaudy Night, but I would recommend reading the other Harriet Vane books (Strong Poison and Have His Carcase) first.


    • Sophie says:

      Oh brilliant, yes I do enjoy detective fiction. Thank you for the recommendation! I think I did read a Dorothy L Sayers a long time ago, and I remember enjoying it, so I should definitely find some more to read. Thanks for the tip, I’m going to add them to my reading list.


  2. PESidaway says:

    Two highly informative and entertaining non-fiction works I read last year were Bill Bryson’s ‘One Summer America 1927’; and Lucy Moore’s ‘Anything Goes’. The Twenties were crazy time, especially in the United States, and it’s hard to believe that some of the tales in both of these books are true. What a period to have lived through!


    • Sophie says:

      Thanks for the recommendations! The Bill Bryson book is on my radar, bu I haven’t heard of Lucy Moore’s ‘Anything Goes’ – that sounds fascinating, I will look it up. Thank you! They really were incredible times, absolutely fascinating to read about – and like you say, hard to believe some of the things that went on! But what an amazing period of change.


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