Recently a list of books went around Facebook–they were supposedly suggested by the BBC as books everyone ought to read. One title, “A Town Like Alice,” was on the list, and I had to mark it as unread because I’d never ever heard of it.

But a couple of my facebook friends raved about it, so I bought a copy off and recommended it to my bookclub. It was our book-of-the-month.
We haven’t discussed it yet, but I just wanted to tell you that this IS a must-read. It’s an older book, written in a slower style (reminded me a little of Jane Eyre), but it’s based on a true story that came out of World War II. Apparently it was required reading in schools at one point, because I found several online study guides. But by the time I passed through high school, at least, the book had fallen from favor. One of my book club members told me that she couldn’t even find a copy in our local library system!
That’s a downright shame. After reading–and loving–the story, I found two movie versions of the book: an older, black and white movie, and a newer mini-series. The newer version is available only on VHS (and I’m not even sure our tape player still plays), but I found the old version on Amazon’s video on demand. For $2.99, I was able to download it and watch it on my computer. I found it a faithful, if highly condensed, rendition of the story.
A TOWN LIKE ALICE is so refreshing because it honors qualities we don’t see as often as we used to–honor, bravery, sacrifice, generosity, love. It’s not a “Christian” book, but God is present between every line. I highly recommend this to you, but read the book first. Wherever you can find it. 🙂


  1. Kathy

    I “lived” in this book for a long time after I read it. I HAD to see the movie (saw the newer version). These people were heroic, but very human and the hand of God is ever present in their story.

  2. A Cottage Rose

    I have just started reading this on my Kindle, because of your mention of it on facebook. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Arkansas Angie

  3. Angela

    How’d you find the Kindle version, Angie? I checked my favorite Kindle haunts (, and Amazon) and couldn’t find it.

    But I’d love to keep a copy of my Kindle. 🙂


  4. Kathy

    Hi. I see you have another Kathy commenting on here. Well, this Kathy has never heard of the book but will check our library here.

  5. Linda G

    I remember watching this on PBS many years ago and loving it.

  6. Peg

    I’ve heard of the book but never read it. I just found a copy (paperback, 1987) on

  7. Amy

    Wow! I’ve never heard of it either, but it sounds fantastic. Thanks for the heads up!

  8. Ginger

    I found the book on a friend’s bookshelf in Finland in 1984 and fell for Nevil Shute then and there. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in Malaya near a Royal Australian Air Force base. Read every book he’d written that I could get my hands on.

    I have the VHS version (color) of “A Town Like Alice.” I highly recommend it! As I recall, it’s faithful to the story in the book.

  9. Anonymous

    There is a film as well, an old one, so if you can hunt it out you might enjoy that as well! It stars Bryan Brown and Helen Morse.

  10. Ruth

    This is so cool that you would mention this story! Friday I had my parents over to watch “Australia,” and it got Mom to remembering the newer film version of “A Town Like Alice” because both feature acting appearances by Bryan Brown (I think that’s the right name). Anyway, I had no idea it was a book – thanks for the recommendation!


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