Eight Hours From England by Anthony Quayle – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Autumn 1943. Realising that his feelings for his sweetheart are not reciprocated, Major John Overton accepts a posting behind enemy lines in Nazi-Occupied Albania. Arriving to find the situation in disarray, he attempts to overcome geographical challenges and political intrigues to set up a new camp in the mountains overlooking the Adriatic. 

As he struggles to complete his mission amidst a chaotic backdrop, Overton is left to ruminate on loyalty, comradeship and his own future. 

Based on Anthony Quayle s own wartime experience with the Special Operations Executive (SOE), this new edition of a 1945 classic includes a contextual introduction from IWM which sheds new light on the fascinating true events that inspired its author. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Eight Hours From England was originally published in 1945 and has been republished by The Imperial War Museum to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the onset of WW2. It differs to other books that I have read that are set during the war, the characters who feature don’t see any fighting with regards to the war but they do see the unsettlement and grievances between the Albanians. Something that still has repercussions now.

Anthony Quayle was not an actor I was aware of. I have seen reviews that mention the reader being unaware of his role during the war. I searched for him on the internet and was unsurprised to find that he was reticent about his experience. Whilst he wasn’t on the front line it was obvious that his character Overton was deeply affected by what he witnessed.

I did find some of the political unrest confusing, no fault of the author, just with my complete lack of knowledge about how the war affected this part of Europe. What did hit home in a discussion between Overton and a village leader was that both the Allied and German armies were demanding help from the local people, putting their own lives at risk, but would forget all about their troubles after the war.

Humbling, an overwhelming sense of loneliness and brutally honest.