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Olivia Manning Books In Order

Publication Order of Balkan Trilogy Books

The Great Fortune (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Spoilt City (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Friends and Heroes (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Levant Trilogy Books

The Danger Tree (1977) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Battle Lost and Won (1978) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Sum of Things (1980) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Wind Changes (1937) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dreaming Shore (1950) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
School for Love (1951) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Different Face (1953) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Doves of Venus (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Play Room (1969) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Rain Forest (1974) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Artist Among the Missing (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Remarkable Expedition (1985) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

A Romantic Hero (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Penguin Modern Stories 12 (1972) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Extraordinary Cats (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Olivia Mary Manning was a novelist, poet, and writer. She was born in North End, Portsmouth on March 2, 1908. Both her fiction and nonfiction are widely known all across the globe and are admired for being artistically told, vividly descriptive, and beautifully honest. She mostly writes about long journeys or expeditions, and the challenges and joys of love and loss. Her two main trilogies are the Balkan and Levant Trilogies, but she has written many other books. The Balkan Trilogy follows a young couple, Guy and Harriet Pringle, who are forced to leave their home and flee to Greece as the German army invades during the WWII era. The Levant Trilogy follows the same couple as their journey continues to Egypt and they discover the hardships of war, marriage, life; and the price we ultimately pay for success.

Olivia Mary Manning was born in 1908, in Portsmouth. She was the happy daughter of a wealthy but uneducated naval officer. Her father was a charming and lively man but she remembers her mother as being cold and demeaning. After her brother Oliver was born in 1913 her relationship with her mother became even more strained. Oliver, sickly and ill, received all the attention when he was born, causing Olivia to feel hurt and lonely. She even made a few harmless attempts to harm him as a child. This part of her childhood is something that Olivia Manning carried with her; in her writing, in her life, and ultimately to her death. Moving around as a small child she would be educated at a dame school in Portsmouth, a Presbyterian school in Bangor, and eventually a grammar school. Her father encouraged her to always read and write, while her mother scolded her for doing so and would often confiscate books she felt were unsuitable for a young lady. She published her first series beginning in 1929; detective books published under the false name “Jacob Morrow” because of the gender discrimination that existed during that time. Manning would publish several other books while living in her run down room in Chelsea, London, and working multiple jobs as antiquing furniture, the Medici society, and the well know department store “Peter Jones”. She worked long hard hours during the day and continued to write when she got home in the evenings. Her long time friend and author, Hamish Miles, helped her along in her journey in becoming a writer.

In July, 1939, Manning would be introduced to Marxist “Reggie” Smith. The first time they met Reggie fell in love with Manning, and knew they would eventually be married. On August 18, 1939, they would marry. They had only know each other a month. Reggie was a British Council member in Romania, and would bring Olivia Manning back to him to Romania only days after the wedding. They arrived on the third of September, 1909. This was the very same day that Britain declared war on Germany. She was both intrigued and appalled by the cultural difference of Romania, and included many of her findings of the Romanian culture in her well-know series “The Balkan Trilogy.” During the next few years she spent much of her life writing and going on several journalistic expeditions. Her husband, Reggie, was outgoing and friendly, and often spent much of his time in bars drinking and having fun. The shy and introverted Olivia Manning would spend many nights along or uncomfortable in bars. This mimics the development of her two main characters in her trilogies; Guy and Harriet Pringle. Also similar to the trilogy, Olivia Manning and Reggie would eventually be forced to flee to Greece and start their lives over as the German armies began to invade Romania.

Due to the war, Manning and Reggie would be forced to make several long journeys. They would go to Cairo, Egypt as well as Jerusalem. In 1944, while in Palestine, she would become pregnant. Olivia and Reggie were both overjoyed, and Manning began to do things she had never done. She mended her broken relationship with her mother and found herself relaxing, painting, walking, and and knitting. Sadly, her baby would die in uterus as seven months old. Having to carry the dead baby for two months was reported as the hardest thing she ever did. She would often repeat over and over in her writing that she was the walking cemetery for her dead baby. She would become paranoid and borderline schizophrenic. Olivia Manning would never truly recover from the pain that gripped her heart and soul in those months.

Manning wrote many other novels aside from the Balkan and Levant Trilogies. “The Doves of Venus” is a book about a beautiful young girl in search of an adventure. She finds one waiting for her in Chelsea, London, where she meets the handsome and charming Quinton Bellot. The two embark on a timeless adventure together, despite the fact that he is married to another, and she will not give him up so easily. “The Rain Forest” is a book about an estranged couple who travel to to an island off the Indian Coast. They realize (a little too late) that the rain forest there is itching with unrest. As they grow farther and father apart because of the forest, they realize they need each other more and more.

She told the tales and adventures of her own life woven into her many books. She wrote of war, and journeys, and heartbreak. She etched the beauty of life through breathless description and details. She was never fully given the credit she deserved while she was alive, which was a constant state of frustration for her. She died in 1980, after arthritis had weakened her body and a stroke took the final punch. She often said she deserved credit and fame and recognition and she wanted it now. Little did she know that eight years following her death a television show would be aired based off her Levant series, which would star Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh. In her death, she became more famous than she had ever been. Today, her books are remembered, read, and cherished. She captured the horrors of war gracefully, and with precision and triumph. She took her own life experiences and transferred them into beautiful words on a page that will allow her to never be forgotten and always be admired.

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