26 Aug 2010
"The Diary of a Provincial Lady" - Delightful country pursuits
The provincial lady lives in the English countryside, spending her days trying to negotiate with Cook and Madedemoiselle (daughter's governess/nanny), finding a new parlourmaid, avoiding visits from Lady B. and keeping account of the days in her diary.
On the surface this could seem like a dull account but rest assured that it is by no means so. Actually this book is really really funny. There is the provincial lady's own family: her husband Robert, a man of (very very) few words, her children Robin and Vicky, the sensitive and über-Gallic Mademoiselle and the servants who are the real rulers of the house.
The village where the provincial lady spends her days is also peopled with the most wonderful characters. The incredible condescending Lady B., Our Vicar and Our Vicar's wife, not to mention Mrs. Blenkinsop and her daughter Barbara.
This tale is so sweet, it is pure joy to follow the provincial lady as she ventures into London society - and into financial trouble with London dressmakers - and goes to France on a well-deserved break. She is such a lovely lady, somebody I would really love to share a cup of tea with.
Is this an outdated story, you may ask?
No it is not, actually it reminds me very much of Bridget Jones's diary with the exception that "The Diary of a Provincial Lady" is written better and captures the humour in everyday things much better. The themes are the same though: what to wear, whom to know and how to pay the bills. This is a mature, literary kind of chick lit that puts many of the modern chick lit novels in a bad light. It is a new little favourite of mine!