Review: Diary of a Provincial Lady, E.M. Delafield

From here on out, I will only be reading books that I cannot get when I am at home, absolutely with no exceptions. Diary of a Provincial Lady was my last exception, and I only read it because I forgot that my mother had ordered it from the internet. And also Fagles’ Odyssey, I’ll carry on reading that, because it’s a nice thing to read just before I go to bed at night. There. This forms an unalterable law by which I will live until the end of the summer.

I am glad I read Diary of a Provincial Lady. It’s a light, fluffy sort of read: a fictional diary of a British wife and mother, in which she chronicles her perpetual struggles with money (which do not stop her from keeping a cook, parlormaid, and gardener), her relationship with her husband and children, her aspirations to walk, but not too much, in literary circles, and her encounters with friends and frenemies. It is a bit like Bridget Jones’s Diary, but with less plot, and set and written earlier on in Time. It has the same tone, and the same endearingly (or not, depending on your views) well-intentioned, self-indulgent sort of heroine.

I know that Ms. Delafield and her protagonist were products of their time. And all. But I did not love how much she talked about “the servant question”, and how she needed to find a way to treat her servants that was firm but fair and would pull them into line. When she talked about that, I felt awkward. And when she carried on about needing money, and carried on having a cook and a parlormaid. I am rather destitute myself, but if I did have money, I wouldn’t spend the bulk of it on making someone cook and clean for me. I would spend it on Ben & Jerry’s Dublin Mudslide ice cream and elegant matching books.

Other people who read it:

things mean a lot
Verity’s Virago Venture
Savidge Reads
Stuck in a Book
A Work in Progress
My Porch
Books and Chocolate

Did I miss yours? I feel like there are more reviews of this book out there!