Olivia Manning

The Great Fortune
  • The Great Fortune

  • The first novel in The Balkan Trilogy is a powerful depiction of love and friendship during wartime


    'A fantastically tart and readable account of life in eastern Europe at the start of the war' Sarah Waters

    'Wonderfully entertaining' Observer

    Autumn, 1939. Newly-weds Guy and Harriet Pringle step aboard the train to Bucharest. Guy’s lecturing job awaits, alongside friends and the ever-ardent Sophie – but for Harriet, alone and naive, it’s a strange new life. As Guy’s world collides with that of his new bride, Harriet realises how little she knows the man she has married. Manning’s masterpiece, alive with exhilarating characters, is a haunting evocation of young love and the uncertainty of war.

Olivia Manning, OBE, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire. The daughter of a naval officer, she produced her first novel, The Wind Changes, in 1937. She married just before the War and went abroad with her husband, R. D. Smith, a British Council lecturer in Bucharest. Her experiences there formed the basis of the work which makes up The Balkan Trilogy. As the Germans approached Athens, she and her husband evacuated to Egypt and ended up in charge of the Palestine Broadcasting Station. They returned to London in 1946 and lived there until her death in 1980.