My Dear Bessie

A Love Story in Letters

Chris Barker & Bessie MooreEdited by Simon Garfield

My Dear Bessie (Paperback ISBN 9781782115670) book cover

Available as Paperback, eBook

The wartime correspondence which first warmed people’s hearts in Simon Garfield’s To the Letter, now available in a single volume for readers to follow their wonderful and life-changing journey

AS HEARD ON RADIO 4

‘Utterly wonderful’ NINA STIBBE, author of Love, Nina

Twenty hours have gone since I last wrote. I have been thinking of you. I shall think of you until I post this, and until you get it. Can you feel, as you read these words, that I am thinking of you now; aglow, alive, alert at the thought that you are in the same world, and by some strange chance loving me.


In September 1943, Chris Barker was serving as a signalman in North Africa when he decided to brighten the long days of war by writing to old friends. One of these was Bessie Moore, a former work colleague. The unexpected warmth of Bessie’s reply changed their lives forever. Crossing continents and years, their funny, affectionate and intensely personal letters are a remarkable portrait of a love played out against the backdrop of the Second World War. Above all, their story is a stirring example of the power of letters to transform ordinary lives.


“Utterly wonderful”
Nina Stibbe
author Of Love, Nina

See more reviews

“The modern reader is swept along in a gushing sea of yearning, lust, fear, regret and relentlessly candid emotion, and is constantly reminded of the enduring power of letters to transform ordinary lives”
daily Telegraph

“An immensely affecting set of letters”
financial Times

“A record - spontaneous, immediate and unassuming - of the implacable triumph of love”
John Carey
sunday Times

“These letters are magnificent”
daily Mail


Chris Barker & Bessie MooreEdited by Simon Garfield

Chris Barker joined the Post Office at fourteen, working as a messenger boy and then as a counter clerk, becoming an active trade union member. He served as a signalman in North Africa during the Second World War. Bessie Moore was a colleague of Chris Barker’s at the Post Office, before working at the Foreign Office, using her training in Morse code to translate intercepted German radio messages. She was thirty when twenty-nine-year-old Chris first wrote from North Africa.

Simon Garfield is the author of fourteen acclaimed books of non-fiction including To the Letter, On the Map, and Just My Type. His edited diaries from the Mass Observation Archive, Our Hidden Lives, We Are At War and Private Battles, were bestsellers.