‘To Bed with Grand Music’ by Marghanita Laski – Book Review

Blurb from Goodreads

To Bed with Grand Music is about sex in wartime. On the first page (a scene as compelling in its way as the five conception scenes at the beginning of Manja) Deborah and her husband are saying goodbye to each other before he is posted overseas. They swear undying loyalty, well, undying emotional loyalty because the husband does not deny that he might not be able to be faithful all the time he is away. But once he is gone, Deborah is soon bored by life in a village with her small son and decides to get a job in London. Here she acquires a lover, and another, and another.

As Juliet Gardiner, the historian, says in her Preface, this is a near harlot’s tale. But she admires the book very much because it shows such a different side of the war from that shown in, for example, Jocelyn Playfair’s A House in the Country, which is full of people mostly behaving honourably.

The book was originally published in 1946 under Laski’s pseudonym, Sarah Russell.

My Review

This book is exactly why I love Persephone books. I knew absolutely nothing about either the author or the blurb before picking this up and so went into the read with zero preconceived ideas…


This is set during WWII but is unlike any war novel I’ve ever read as it entirely focuses on the sexual goings on of a wife once her husband departs for war. And it’s a hoot. Oh my god, the lead character Deborah is fabulous. She is entirely deluded, 100% self-centred and is an utter joy to read about. I mean she’s pretty much a terrible human being but wow does she know how to have a good time and I am so here for it.


This is brilliantly written, exposes a side to the war that is not much talked about and just makes for a marvellously entertaining read.
Loved it.

Four stars.

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