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Helene Hanff Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Underfoot in Show Business (1962)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
84, Charing Cross Road (1970)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street (1973)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Apple of My Eye (1977)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Q's Legacy: A Delightful Account of a Lifelong Love Affair with Books (1985)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Letter from New York: BBC Woman's Hour Broadcasts (1992)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Children's Books

Butch Elects a Mayor (1969)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Queen of England: The story of Elizabeth I (1969)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Movers and Shakers: The Young Activists of the Sixties (1982)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Helene Hanff was a published American writer.

She was born in Philadelphia in Pennsylvania on April 15, 1916. Most readers know her today for her novel 84 Charing Cross Road. The popular novel became in demand and rights were bought to make a play as well as a teleplay and a movie.

Helene had a very successful career that would take her from writing her own plays that did not always get produced or make it to the stage to coming up with some of the early dramas on television. She would move to New York and take living in the city to a near-professional basis.

Helene would pen a memoir in 1961 that described some of her experiences in New York working that was titled Underfoot in Show Business. The book delves into her quest as a playwright of a younger age with plenty of ambition to try and break into New York’s theater world in the forties and fifties.

Helene paid the bills and tried to make ends meet by working in offices for publicists. She would also attend the East Coast’s straw hat circuit during the summer where she would pen her own original plays. Many of them were held in high regard by some of the top producers working on Broadway. While the would be playwright was able to get people in the business to see her plays, this unfortunately did not end up in helping for them to get produced and audiences would not see the plays that Helene penned no matter how highly commended they were.

She would eventually go on to work in the entertainment business in another vein. Instead of writing plays, Helene got a job writing and editing scripts for different television dramas being produced out of the city. Simultaneously, she continually did her best to try and make a success of herself. She saw trouble ahead when television production starting being relocated more to California, and the work began becoming scarce. Helene pivoted and found work writing for magazines. Soon this would evolve into penning original works of fiction and the novels she would become known for.

Helene Hanff would sadly pass away on April 9, 1997. She had always loved to drink martinis and enjoy a cigarette, but the habits did not get in the way of her longevity. She passed away in her beloved New York City. Her famed 305 East 27nd Street apartment building was renamed to be the “Charing Cross House” to recognize the author. There is a plaque in bronze located by the front door that informs readers that she once lived there and of the book that she wrote. She leaves behind the legacy of her work as well as a full career, and her novels continue to interest readers to this day.

Helene Hanff is the author of the popular novel 84 Charing Cross Road. The book was first published in 1970 and has since become a classic! The book goes over two decades of the author corresponding with Marks & Co.’s Frank Doel while living in New York City making a living as a freelance writer. If you love books that are about relationships, writing, are true stories and experiences pulled from someone’s life, or involve letter writing back and forth between friends, or anything that is set in the past, this book is definitely a potential instant favorite for you waiting to happen!

Frank was the chief buyer for the book shop located in London where Helene would turn to in order to find rare classics not easily tracked down and titles from among the vast scores of British literature. They developed a unique friendship through the years that flourished even though they had never met in person and were separated by an ocean between them. The two were kindred spirits and shared a similar deep love of books.

For her part, Helene was passionate about educating herself through these novels and became so familiar and involved with Frank and the staff of this shop that she took to making sure that they had food parcels sent over when the post-war shortages were happening in the country and also telling them about what she was up to while living in Manhattan and what her life was like there.

The author would eventually come to have difficulties getting across the pond from New York all the way to England to see her friends. It was a great distance to travel and Helene was also experiencing difficulties with her finances and did not enjoy traveling. While she longed to see her friends, the delay in traveling to visit those dear pals in England proved to have a sad result.

Her friend Frank would pass away in December of 1968 suddenly due to his appendix bursting and the resulting peritonitis, and the shop would eventually close. She would eventually make a trip and was able to visit the beloved spot of Charing Cross Road as well as the shop, which was empty but still there, in 1971. She would recall the summer journey and experiences in the follow up book The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.

The book is a must read and is a fantastically detailed and vivid recollection of this author’s full life. Check out 84 Charing Street and if you read the book, be sure also to check out the 1987 movie with the same title. Anne Bancroft plays the author while Frank Doel is portrayed by famed actor Anthony Hopkins. The role of the author had earlier been played by Anne Jackson in the British television adaptation in 1975 and was played later by Ellen Burstyn in 1982 on Broadway.

The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is another memoir that picks up in many ways where ’84’ left off. It recounts all that occurs when the author is able to make the journey to visit England and meet up with her beloved friends. Live it all by reading this wonderful memoir that will make you feel as though you were truly there!

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