After the Party by Cressida Connolly

First lines. 2. Publisher: Penguin 3. From the cover of the book, “Blackshirts-on-Sea: A Pictorial History of the Mosley Summer Camps 1933-1938” by J. A. Booker Published by Brockingday Publications (2000) 4. British Union of Fascist poster (October, 1934) 5. The Blackshirt newspaper (3rd October, 1936) 6. Background is a photograph of a beach in southern England 1940 By Malindine E G (Lt), War Office official photographer [Public domain] via Wikimedia
I liked this book.

In 1938 Phyllis returns to England with her husband Hugh and her children after living abroad for many years. They live with the family of her sister Nina who encourages her and her family to join in with the activities of the British Union of Fascists. Over the next months and years, Phyllis and Hugh become more involved resulting in devastating consequences.

“Had it not been for my weakness, someone who is now dead could still be alive. That is what I believed and consequently lived with every day in prison.”

“Patricia seemed to be sulking which was typical. She sometimes seemed to Phyllis to be one of those people who court umbrage, searching it out in corners, like cobwebs, where it was imperceptible to anyone else.”

“Their hostess had never looked lovelier. In her hair she wore a simple diamond tiara; a matching pair of long earrings trembled between her long earlobes and her neck like tiny waterfalls. At dinner the gleam from the candles glanced off the diamonds, making small white polka dots of light dance on the damask tablecloth in front of her whenever she moved her head.”

– Quotes from the book.
  • Issuu: “Powerful, poignant, and exquisitely observed, After the Party is an illuminating portrait of a dark period of British history which has yet to be fully acknowledged.”
  • Walter Scott Prize Judges: “It is the summer of 1938 and Phyllis Forrester has returned to England after years abroad. Moving into her sister’s grand country house, she soon finds herself entangled in a new world of idealistic beliefs and seemingly innocent friendships. Fevered talk of another war infiltrates their small, privileged circle, giving way to a thrilling solution: a great and charismatic leader, who will restore England to its former glory.The undercurrents in the relationships of the three sisters mirror the early rumblings of the war to come in this is original and utterly engrossing book, which is sparely and beautifully written.  Like the best historical fiction, it illuminates a sliver of history and how it impacts on ordinary people.”

Awards: 2019 Shortlist Walter Scott Prize

Other editions


  1. Hello,

    There is an image of a woman walking through a street on the cover for ‘After the Party’, this was not the final artwork used on the book cover.

    Due to copyright, could you please remove the image?


    • Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have tried at all times to be aware of copyright restrictions. I have replaced the image. Please let me know if this is not correct and I will remove it.
      Thanks again.


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