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Miss Carter and the Ifrit
Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
13 posts | 12 read | 1 reading | 8 to read
To look at Miss Georgina Carter you would never have suspected that a woman of her age and character would have allowed herself to be so wholeheartedly mixed up with an Ifrit. It's the final months of World War II and Georgina Carter, a single woman in her late forties with a drab job in the Censorship office, is convinced that nothing very shattering, nothing very devastating could happen to one after that age. But then she buys some wood blocks from a blitzed roadway, one of which, when burned in her fireplace, releases a long-imprisoned Ifrit (don't call him a genie) eager to do her bidding. Nicknamed Joe, he zaps in exotic foods and luxurious decor, and takes her on a dizzying hurtle through space to visit a beloved nephew in Canada. Then an old flame visits and Joe senses possibilities . . . This delightful 1945 novel, alongside its fantasy elements, depicts the mood of the later war years, with bombed out buildings, dirt, cravings for impossible-to-find foods, and the surliness and fatigue of many Londoners--but all are considerably enlivened by an energetic, well-meaning, but slightly overly-enthusiastic Ifrit.
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Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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I was worried that this tale of fantasy might come off twee; a spinster & a genie made me somewhat nervous! But I needn't have worried; the writer is extremely witty & had me laughing out loud from the start. There are tiny bits of Orientalism that are also self-critical & ironic, & Miss Carter's inner thoughts were a treat. As fellow #FurrowedMiddlebrowClub members have pointed out, this would have been delightful escapism for postwar readers.

jlhammar Nice review! Glad you enjoyed it. 2mo
Kimzey Thanks for the review! I‘ve been distracted by audio books, but plan to settle in and finish this week. 2mo
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batsy @jlhammar Thank you! I think I was definitely in the mood for some madcap antics & the humour helped 🙂 2mo
batsy @Kimzey My pleasure! I hope you enjoy it when you can get to it. 2mo
Ruthiella Great review. This could have been very cringy given the subject matter and era in which it was written. But I think she pulled it off. 2mo
rubyslippersreads I was worried this might be “I Dream of Jeannie,” but I really liked the relationship between the title characters. Great review. 2mo
CarolynM Great review. I‘m a bit bothered by the politics. The evil Ifrit with Hitler, her Ifrit named for Stalin and then him going off to “Bigger events - bigger people - waiting and able to do more.” when she sets him free. Is this some sort of naive communist parable or am I overthinking it? 2mo
batsy @Ruthiella Thank you! I agree, it could have gone wrong in so many ways but she managed to hit all of the right notes. 2mo
batsy @rubyslippersreads Thank you! And same 🙂 I was so worried that Joe would be an awful caricature but he wasn't. It was interesting to learn that the author was born in Cairo (and likely lived there in her early years?) 2mo
batsy @CarolynM I'm not sure, but I didn't get that impression. I might be wrong but I think there was a kind of tentative alliance between the US, UK, and USSR for a tiny bit to defeat Hitler? I imagine at that point in history that would have been a singular relief for most living through the war regardless of political leanings, so to me that was all it was. 2mo
CarolynM The USSR was an ally during WWII, certainly, but there was still a lot of suspicion about them. There were also people, often intellectual, arty types, who were communists or very sympathetic to communism and very pro USSR. I'm not meaning to criticise (bothered was an unfortunate word to use🥴) I'm just interested in what she was thinking. 2mo
Cathythoughts Great review! And we‘ll done 👍🏻❤️ you read it. I was a bit worried about the twee myself, but your review is reassuring X 2mo
batsy @CarolynM You're right and it's an interesting question! I just didn't think too much of it because Miss Carter herself seemed solidly of the English values and Churchill type 🙂 But it is clear that the author was kind of thinking out loud a bit with the political situation and the Ifrit meeting Hitler. I feel like Kerby (née Burton) might be a fascinating person to read about. 2mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy! I hope you like it too when you have the time to get to it. It's a nice bit of amusing fluff, imo 🙂 2mo
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Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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My state of mind isn‘t ideal for this book, which isn‘t light enough to require no concentration & isn‘t substantial enough to be completely engrossing. It‘s taken a while to get through it. It‘s a charming read, nonetheless, & often amusing. I particularly enjoyed the description of the sons of Satan. What do we make of Miss Carter naming her Ifrit for Stalin? I rather think the author may have come to regret her choice!

julieclair We definitely have “seasons”, don‘t we? And the types of books we yearn to read change with them. I‘m glad you found it charming, even though it may not have been the right book for the season you are in. And… I agree with you about Stalin. I imagine the author did regret that choice as time went on. 2mo
Ruthiella It is hard to read sometimes when real life intrudes. ❤️ I didn‘t even think twice about Stalin or his reputation after the war. 😳That‘s is one thing that makes reading these mid 20th century books interesting, our benefit of hindsight. 2mo
Cathythoughts I love your review 👍🏻♥️ I havnt got to this one yet. 2mo
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batsy I haven't had a chance to get to this yet, but I'm glad it turned out a pick for you in the end. 2mo
Kimzey Thanks for the review, I‘ve just started! 2mo
jlhammar Gosh yes, state of mind makes such a difference when it comes to our reading! This one really does fall in that in between zone. Glad it ended up as a pick for you despite the timing. 2mo
willaful I was so startled when I got to that line! 2mo
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Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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I enjoyed this book (although it dragged a bit for me in spots). I found Joe very endearing, and was glad to see both him and Miss Carter move on to the next phases of their lives. (But what did she do with all the jewels?)

The photo is a glimpse of how Joe might have sometimes decorated Georgina‘s flat.


Cathythoughts That‘s a great picture, I love it. I still havnt read this one. 2mo
jlhammar 😆 Oh my gosh, that is perfect! Joe really was endearing. 2mo
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Tamra Fabulous pic! 2mo
Ruthiella Love that image! I think she pawned some of the pieces for cash, kept one or two and had them set to wear as jewelry and the rest she put in a safe deposit box for safekeeping. She was a very practical lady! 2mo
Aimeesue Great pic! I can really see it now! It‘s only missing his snuff bottle 😁 2mo
batsy Great pic! And hope to come back to your intriguing question once I've read it 😊 2mo
CarolynM Yes! That‘s such a great image for this book! I agree that it had some flat spots, but quite charming over all. I loved that she used some of the jewels to raise money for the Red Cross. I think she will go on in the same way, quietly injecting money into good causes. 2mo
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Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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A winsome and fantastical read. Humorous and endearing. Perfect for a summer afternoon! When it was released in 1945, this book must have felt like a breath of fresh air and a lovely bit of escapism to its war-weary British readers.


#TBRTarot @CBee

Ruthiella Very whimsical! And Joe couldn‘t have met a better human, someone who was not willing to take advantage of the power offered. 2mo
jlhammar Yes! Great review. 2mo
quietjenn Winsome is a great word for it! 2mo
CarolynM Lovely review. I can see how some people would have enjoyed imagining all those luxuries during the deprivations of wartime. (edited) 2mo
julieclair @CarolynM The part that really got to me was when someone gave her a real egg - such a rare treat - and then after eating it she worried that it was so rich it might have made her sick. Hard for us to imagine the deprivations of war time. 2mo
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Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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This was a pleasant slice of domestic fantasy, in which an everyday spinster suddenly finds herself in command of an ifrit, or genie, in the latter days of World War 2. I really enjoyed the relationship between Miss Carter and “Joe,“ as well as the sweet humor. He definitely shakes her life out of the commonplace, in the best of ways. Lovely descriptions, which must have been such a sensory delight to austerity readers.


Ruthiella Great review. I found the relationship between Georgina and Joe quite sweet also. On thing that flummoxes me is the cover. It appears to have nothing to do with the story? I kept waiting for Miss Carter to open a used furniture store. 😂 2mo
quietjenn @Ruthiella Haha! But yes! I was looking at the cover today and found it such a curious choice. 2mo
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LeahBergen “Austerity readers” is so apt; they must‘ve been salivating! 2mo
Kimzey Thanks for the review! I‘ve finally gotten started on it. Enjoyable so far. 🧞‍♂️ 2mo
jlhammar Wonderful review! 2mo
batsy Lovely review. I don't think I'll be able to fit it in this month but want to read it when I can! 2mo
Cathythoughts Lovely review 👍🏻❤️ Like @batsy I‘m not going to fit it in this month, but it‘s on my shelf for the future. 2mo
julieclair Great review. I‘m about halfway through and really enjoying it! 2mo
CarolynM Great review. The austerity of the moment must have made all those luxuries so enticing! 2mo
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Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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Can you imagine?! 😅

But oh the temptations an Ifrit offers. Let‘s just start with unlimited access to books and the luxury to read them……..

Ruthiella Yes, we know what we would wish for! 📚📚📚📚📚📚 3mo
batsy Eeek! 😅 But oh yes, I hear you on the unlimited reading time and books... 3mo
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Cathythoughts Sounds like a great offer 😁❤️. I havnt even started yet … 3mo
CarolynM Oh yes, I‘d be up for that🙂 I‘m just getting started on the book. 3mo
jlhammar Yes, the temptations! Joe was definitely underutilized! 3mo
LeahBergen I dunno … call me greedy but I probably wouldn‘t have said no to all that gold either. 😆 3mo
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Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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This was really rather charming. Georgina Carter, 47, suddenly finds herself the owner of Abu Shiháb “Joe” the Ifrit, newly released after thousands of years. She had lived her life pre-Joe “quietly and sensibly,” and “had been brought up in the school that believed in self-denial for the sake of self-denial.” Joe shakes things up in all the best ways, becoming a cherished companion and helping her get her happy ending.


jlhammar Loved this line - “Other women keeps pets--why shouldn't I?“ 😂 3mo
LeahBergen I loved that line, too! 😆 3mo
Tamra @jlhammar that was funny! 😆 3mo
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Ruthiella 😂 Very funny. I‘d forgotten that bit already. 3mo
Kimzey Great review! Looking forward to reading. 3mo
batsy I'm glad to see all the positive reviews! This seems like a bit of fun fluff 🙂 3mo
Cathythoughts Great review! I‘m looking forward to getting to it. 👍🏻❤️ 3mo
CarolynM Great review. I‘ve only read the first 3 chapters so far, but I‘m enjoying it already. 3mo
kwmg40 I'm looking forward to reading this one! 3mo
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Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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This was a cute story with the occasional touch of a free thinker. Miss Carter frees an Ifrit (genie) she nicknames Joe and is accordingly able to avail herself of his magical powers. The setting is during WWII and middle aged, unmarried Miss Carter up to now has lived a rather drab and romance-free existence. But of course that‘s all about to change!
The limitations on Joe‘s abilities were interesting. He isn‘t all powerful by any means.

julieclair Looking forward to reading this! 3mo
LeahBergen I was always thinking things like “can‘t he just use his magic to fix/conjure that?” 😆 3mo
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Ruthiella @julieclair Hope you enjoy it! 😀 3mo
Ruthiella @LeahBergen Right? 😆 He was no Barbara Eden like in I Dream of Jeannie! 3mo
jlhammar Cute is a good word for it. Definitely a fun little read. Transporting, light and satisfying. I totally get why this would have appealed to readers in the immediate aftermath of WWII. 3mo
Ruthiella @jlhammar Yeah. I thought at first It might have a little more bite to it. 3mo
Kimzey Sounds like fun! It‘s up next on the TBR. 3mo
Ruthiella @Kimzey It was a fun, light read. 👍 3mo
Aimeesue @Ruthiella I was TOTALLY comparing Abu to Jeannie every other page! Especially when he disappeared into his snuff bottle. Did he have it all done up with velvet couches like Jeannie did? 😂 3mo
Ruthiella @Aimeesue Yes, I wondered too what the inside of his bottle was like! 🧞‍♀️ 3mo
Aimeesue @Ruthiella Have just rewatched the first episode of IDoJ - she was in that bottle for 2000 years, so not as long as Abu, but she can make the bottle move a bit. And she certainly has a lot more agency than he does! 🧞‍♀️ 3mo
batsy It seems to be the consensus that this is fun and entertaining! It's been a bit of a busy time for me now but I hope to be able to get into towards the end of the month. 3mo
Ruthiella @batsy Hope you like it when you get to it! 3mo
Cathythoughts Sounds really a fun read. Like @batsy it‘s a busy summer for me and I hope to get to it … 3mo
Ruthiella @Cathythoughts It‘ll be there waiting for you when you need a bit of fun! 3mo
CarolynM Lovely review. I‘m just getting started. 3mo
Ruthiella @CarolynM Looking forward to reading your thoughts on it. 3mo
kwmg40 Nice review! I'm hoping to get to this one before the end of the month. 3mo
Ruthiella @kwmg40 Thanks! July is a busy month! 3mo
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Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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I can only imagine how refreshing this fairytale-like novel must have been when it was published in 1945, after the austerity of WW2.

A middle-aged spinster buys some old wood blocks to heat her home. When she throws one on the fire she unleashes a genie (an Ifrit) who suddenly brightens her home with longed-for companionship, scarce foods and other material items (not to mention finding the man she loved in her younger years!). A sweet delight.

Ruthiella Absolutely the luscious descriptions of the fruits and sweets must have been tantalizing for the WWII era readers. 🍑🍓🍒🍌🍎🍊🍍 3mo
LeahBergen @Ruthiella Right?? It gave me such a craving and I can just pop out to the shops without any coupons. 😆 3mo
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quietjenn So much, with the food descriptions. And the clothes! 3mo
LeahBergen @quietjenn The blue suit with the wine coloured coat and hat! 😍 3mo
jlhammar It really is a delight! I‘m almost finished. 3mo
LeahBergen @jlhammar I‘m looking forward to your review! 😘 3mo
Kimzey Looking forward to getting started! 3mo
batsy This sounds lovely! I haven't started yet but I hope to get to it soon. 3mo
LeahBergen @Kimzey It‘s a pretty quick read! 3mo
LeahBergen @batsy It‘s one of those “just suspend disbelief” type of reads. 😆 3mo
Kimzey @LeahBergen Great! It‘s next up as soon as I finish Demon Copperhead. I‘ll need a quick read after that! 3mo
Cathythoughts Sounds lovely! @Kimzey I‘m the same , Reading Demon Copperhead just now too. 3mo
CarolynM I‘m glad to see everyone enjoying it 🙂 I‘ve started at last and I‘m finding it just as delightful as everyone has been saying. 3mo
LeahBergen @Cathythoughts @Kimzey Well, that‘s a fun coincidence! 3mo
LeahBergen @CarolynM It‘s pretty light and frothy; just the ticket for you right now! 😊 3mo
Suet624 Sounds wonderful! Stacked. 3mo
LeahBergen @Suet624 It‘s fun and a bit silly. I hope you like it! 3mo
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Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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“To look at Miss Georgina Carter you would never have suspected that a woman of her age and character would have allowed herself to be so wholeheartedly mixed up with an Ifrit.”

Excited to spend some time with Georgina and Joe the Ifrit this weekend!


Ruthiella I‘m about halfway through and enjoying it so far. It‘s a little goofy, but fun. 3mo
LeahBergen I‘m a couple of chapters in now. 👍 3mo
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Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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“For Joe had certainly given her a new interest, had stirred things up. Joe, by making things pleasanter, simpler, had left her free to think. For Joe did all the housework. She didn‘t even have to have Mrs‘Oward, the char, once a week. She didn‘t have to prepare meals or wash dishes or dust behind the wireless. She could stay in bed later in the mornings…”

I‘m thinking this book might be a little feminist? 🤔🙊 Maybe too early to say?

Tamra 😆😉 3mo
jlhammar 😂 Love it. Yeah, that definitely seems a bit feminist. Very promising! Can‘t wait to get started! 3mo
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quietjenn 🤨 excellent! 3mo
batsy Nice! Let's hope so 😉 3mo
Hooked_on_books Sounds fab to me. Where do I sign up? 😆 3mo
Ruthiella @Hooked_on_books Well, first you have to find a genie 🧞‍♂️ …😂 3mo
Ruthiella @kwmg40 I will be sure to tag you in future posts! 3mo
LeahBergen I so need an Ifrit. 😆 3mo
Aimeesue @LeahBergen I‘m gonna check at Target next time I‘m there. 3mo
LeahBergen @Aimeesue Let me know what the price is there. 😄 3mo
Jess_Read_This @LeahBergen @Aimeesue Could we find special group rate on Ifrits? Maybe a Groupon? 3mo
Aimeesue @Jess_Read_This Groupon! 🤣 3mo
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Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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repost @Ruthiella
Hey reading friends! Tomorrow is the first of July, which means it‘s time to start our bi-monthly #FurrowedMiddlebrowClub read. The general aim is to be finished by mid month, but no pressure if you need longer. Post your thoughts as you read, if you like.

Any other Littens want to join in, please do! If you want to be tagged for the next title in September, let me know. All are welcome!

Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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Hey reading friends! Tomorrow is the first of July, which means it‘s time to start our bi-monthly #FurrowedMiddlebrowClub read. 😃 The general aim is to be finished by mid month, but no pressure if you need longer. Post your thoughts as you read, if you like. Be sure to tag everyone so we can comment.

Any other Littens want to join in, please do! If you want to be tagged for the next title in September, let me know. All are welcome!

Tamra 👏🏾👏🏾 3mo
LeahBergen I‘m looking forward to this one! 👏 3mo
Kimzey Thanks for the reminder! 3mo
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catebutler Excited to start this one. 🤩 3mo
julieclair I'd love to join! Please add me for September, too. Thank you for hosting! 😃 3mo
Ruthiella @julieclair Will do! So you can get your hands on them: The book for September is All Done By Kindness by Doris Langley Moore and for November it‘s Babbacombe‘s by Susan Scarlett. 😃 3mo
jlhammar Hoping to dive in next weekend. Can‘t wait! 3mo
Ruthiella @Liz_M Thanks! I didn‘t think to tag them too! ☺️ 3mo
quietjenn Looking forward to it! 3mo
julieclair @Ruthiella Thanks! I‘ll look for them. 3mo
Aimeesue Looking forward to a Furrowed Middlebrow read this month - such an escapist pleasure, yet not complete fluff. Just my speed right now. 3mo
Tamra @Aimeesue absolutely! I‘m there too. 3mo
batsy Ah, FM club reads are always a welcome delight! It's going to be a busy month because we have family visiting, but it seems like the right kind of book to read while distracted 🙂 3mo
CarolynM Can‘t wait to get started🙂 3mo
Cathythoughts Thankyou ! Must take it down from its high shelf immediately 👍🏻♥️ 3mo
erzascarletbookgasm I‘ll have to sit out on this read..did not get myself a copy. I‘ll jump back in September as I have the book. 3mo
Ruthiella @kwmg40 Hi Paulina! Do you also want to be tagged? 😃 3mo
kwmg40 @Ruthiella Yes, please! This one is on my TBR list for the month, and please tag me for the September book too. Thanks! 3mo
Jess_Read_This I will pop in for discussion! I‘ve read this one and did enjoy it! 3mo
elkeOriginal I read this a couple of years ago - it was such an interestingly odd plot idea, I could not resist! 3mo
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